Clean it out.

Originally published Monday, 07 November 2011.

This past weekend my middle daughter, Hope, had her 9th birthday party. Nine little spunky girls made their way into my house on Friday night. Enormous amounts of pizza, cupcakes, popcorn and candy were consumed -- you’d be amazed at how much food little girls can put away. Loud giggles and whispered girl talk was plenty. Sleep was non-existent.

And … duct-tape was the gift of choice. Yes friends, blue, green, pink, purple, zebra and cheetah print duct-tape. Let’s pray hard for this generation. [smile]

So between all the duct-tape craftiness and ungodly amounts of sugar, by Saturday morning … My house looked like it could be featured on the next episode of Hoarders. It was the rock-bottom of all messiness.

Thankfully, we hadn’t planned anything for Saturday morning. So spontaneously I decided after all the girls were picked up, we were going to have a major house clean-out. My crew was less than thrilled.

We spent the next few hours sorting, cleaning and getting rid of so much junk. Toy after toy made its way to donation bags. Missing puzzle pieces, miscellaneous parts of games and headless Barbie dolls all made their way to the trash can.

I was sick over how many bags of trash went to the dumpster and donated items to Goodwill.

I try to keep our house in fairly decent order [as much as you can with three kids!]. But somehow all these little things had slipped past my vision. Why hadn’t I seen the need to do this before?

This morning as I was looking around at how neat and organized things are, I began to think about my soul. I know this whole correlation may sound cheesy, and it is … but there are times when my soul feels like a fiercely messy house.

Way down deep, in the corners of my soul where no one goes but God, there are often things I’m ashamed to admit. Sometimes days, weeks and even months pass before I realize what is happening inside of me.

As followers of Christ, its important that we are constantly asking God to open our eyes to see the need for our souls to be shaped more like His. God has made us righteous through Jesus, but the truth is … we still have to deal with sin.

So here are three questions I want to ask myself on a regular basis to give my soul that deep cleaning:

1. Are there ugly things coming out of my mouth?  The truth is, if it comes out of our mouth, it has been in our heart in some way. If things like gossip, doubt, negativity and complaining are constantly coming out of me, I need to clean it out.

2. Am I speaking Truth to myself? Sometimes we want to speak Truth to everyone but ourselves. We believe in God’s Word and His promise’s for everyone but us. Its so important that we engage with God’s Truth for our benefit too. If my mind is filled with critical thoughts of myself, I need to clean it out.

3. Have I recently had an undeniable encounter with God?  If we are not experiencing God’s presence in our daily living, the root of the issue may be that we are grieving His presence by something in our souls. There are so many things that can keep us from God’s presence. As I evaluate the distance I feel from God, I need to clean things out.

I stumble. I am much less than perfect. And, my heart gets messy. But, I’m understanding that real change [in Jesus] takes a life-time to grasp. So, I'm keeping at it.

Now I’d like to hear from you. :) What other questions can we ask ourselves in the midst of a soul clean-out? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Looking forward to hearing your suggestions.