You're probably wondering about the daughter Isabella loves to clean-she comes by it honestly. I am a shameless clean freak. One morning I was working away in the kitchen while she had the mop I'd left out overnight to dry. And I look over to check on her and my then-7-month-old son, and say the five words I never thought I'd say as a parent, "Isabella, don't mop your brother!" He didn't mind, and she just wanted to make sure he was sparkly. So welcome to my world!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Clean Rooms and Dirty Hearts

I love my children. I love all the fun things they say and do, the noise and laughter, the exploration, and even the messes. My children are two and four and they share a room pretty full of toys. It is their greatest delight to pull absolutely everything out and scatter it hither and yon, despite the neat bins, boxes and cubes I’ve designated as homes for everything.
Each night while I’m cleaning up the kitchen, I utter that completely useless phrase, “Go clean your room.” While I’m busy rinsing dishes, wiping counters and putting food away, peals of laughter (and, okay, sometimes yelling) emanate from the room. I go in there, see the kids amidst all the toys, playing happily, and say, “Clean your room or I’m coming back with the paddle.” A flurry of activity ensues…right until I walk out the door. After a while, Bella comes in and happily announces, “Our room’s all clean!” and I go to inspect. Books on the floor. Toy cars strewn about. Naked Barbies on the bed. Playing cards covering the carpet. I stare at what they consider clean. “This isn’t clean! Put the books back on the bookshelf. Put the cars in the car cube. Barbies go in their bin. Gather the playing cards in the tub with the blocks.” More activity. Their standard isn’t my standard.
Enter Proverbs 16:2 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.” (ESV)
Dear me. How many times have I gone along and thought that my ways were pure, that my heart was clean, when God was looking at my attitudes and the deep heart issues and seeing that my idea of clean was not His idea of clean. It’s a classic problem of human nature: we see ourselves as “not so bad” or “not as bad as…(fill in the blank.” The standard is set and we don’t measure up. Our ideas of clean are way off base.
While doing my devotions in Proverbs, I have been hit time and time again with those areas that I think aren’t too bad. God shows me otherwise.

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