A Suggestion for Getting the Most out of a Fresh Start in 2013…by Susie

Wow!  It’s already nearing the END of January.  So much for a TIMELY post about the enthusiasm that comes with the start of New Year and all the hopes and dream that come with it.  Alas,  I need a LONG time to meditate on things and honestly, my heart isn’t as teachable as I like to think it is.   That’s why this post wasn’t published on January 1st or 2nd even the 10th!  But here we go anyway 🙂

I believe in the importance of goal setting and striving to become more than I was the year before. I believe in dreaming with God for a vision of the future, for what could and even should be.   I believe in resolutions when put in the context of saying Yes! to God and declaring it to Him, and resolving in our hearts to do so, and then letting others know so that we might find encouragement and accountability.  I love the rhythm of life that bring us the gift of a season of fresh starts and cleans slates. I love how with a clean slate, all the things that we thought were holding us back have now been cast off, and the obstacles we thought were in the way have been cleared off the horizon.  But before I run off in sheer delight pursuing these hopes and goals and all the wonderful dreams and ambitions, I admit I’ve paused and waited.

IS my slate clean? I mean truly clean?


photo credit

My parents, ever generous, gifted us with some spending $$ this Christmas.  Giddy with excitement, I used some of it to hire someone to come clean my house- you know to get into those areas that need a deep, deep clean that I simply couldn’t find the time or energy for. We had moved into our miracle home 3 years ago and I had happily {for the most part} cleaned it myself, with the help of some cute but less than adequate help of two little boys, and I was excited to have some professionals swoop in and scour the place rendering it spotless!    As I negotiated price and time and work load with the cleaner, she quoted me a range of dollar amounts saying it would vary depending on how dirty the house was.  A quick glance around the house and I smugly thought to myself, “This place isn’t THAT dirty. Its pretty clean if I do say so myself.  I just need a little extra help in getting it spruced up.”  The cleaning angels {have I mentioned I was giddy?} arrived at my door and set promptly to work. I stood awkwardly as they deftly made their way through the house with precision and purpose and after several minutes of obvious discomfort for both parties involved, I asked what I should do. It was gently suggested that maybe I’d like to take the children out for a while {code for get out of our way}  So after a trip to the park, a piano lesson and a quick errand, I returned to my home 2 hours later.  I was dumbfounded to open the door to my house and see them still there, working hard.  My surprise was obviously evident and one of the women said.  ” We still have to mop and vacuum.  We need another hour!” My jaw dropped and I know my dismay was obvious.  Probably misinterpreting my embarrassment for disapproval about how long it was taking and how much extra this might cost me she said emphatically, “It was very dirty!”  Red-faced, I asked how much more I owed her and walked in to write a new cheque.  Head down, my eyes fell on the floor that was covered with black dust and dirt and.. and… and well I just don’t know what to call it.  

“Where did this filth come from?”

Some of it had been hidden.  Some of it had been forgotten about. Some of it had accumulated so slowly that I had been blinded to it.

Ever opened your fridge and gasped at the stench that wafts out of it? {PLEASE tell me you’ve experienced this too} Maybe the first few times you think to yourself,  “Whoa!  Something in there stinks but I don’t know what”.  You give the contents a feeble once over hoping to figure it out.  You shrug your shoulders and close the door and promptly forget about it as you go on about making dinner.  However, after the 5th or 6th smelly encounter, you begin to hunt in earnest. Drawers open, intense rummaging begins.  Suspicious Tupperware containers have their lids opened and sniff tests are conducted.  Eventually the culprit is found, and tossed, sometimes container and all!

Relief and satisfaction follow.

Sometimes, the sin in our lives is obvious. It just stinks!  We might not know exactly what is stinking so we need to rummage deep and search for it and ask God to help search the refrigerator of our hearts and point it out.   Other times we are completely blind to it.   We look around the rooms of our heart houses smugly thinking to ourselves, “I do a pretty fine job of keeping this place neat and tidy and clean if I do say so myself!”   We are blind to the black layer on top of the china cabinet, the dust coating the books on the shelves and we didn’t realize the lights in the kitchen had grown dim due to layers of grease and grime. We need God to come in and expertly expose it.  Thankfully, our Gracious Lord is not just the expert dirt pointer outer.  He is God the Merciful who, if we willing to own and agree with him about our heart filth, is eager to cleanse and forgive, and more importantly, is the ONLY one capable of wiping it all away.

So, before I run pell-mell ahead of God, full of dreams and goals and plans, I desire to have an authentically clean slate and truly fresh start.  I am asking God to search me and know me.  I am asking Him to point out any offensive way in me.  

And then I will ask Him to lead me in the way everlasting.  

Psalm 139:23-24

New International Version (NIV)

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

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