Spring Cleaning

March 4, 2018 by Monica A. Andermann (New York)

Last fall, my husband and I moved our residence. Changes in life circumstances left our previous home of twenty-one years no longer suitable and we were happy to find another house in our community that met our needs perfectly. We were even more delighted to learn that we gained a bit more square-footage in our new home which included a significant increase in storage space. Wonderful! I thought. I’ll have plenty of room for all those treasures that have been sitting in my attic these past years. 

Yet, as we packed, hauled and unpacked, my husband and I both found ourselves bothered by the amount of clutter we had accumulated. Now, we are by no means hoarders. Yet, even the few boxes of “sentimental” items we collected through the years felt heavy and unnecessary in the clean slate of our new home. It was interesting to take inventory. Some items had served us well in the past, yet we now had “outgrown” them. Others, we held on to “just in case.” Still others were nothing more than downright useless. We were making a fresh start and this was the perfect opportunity to let go of all that no longer served us.

So, we did. Many items went straight into the garbage, but even more found new useful lives through donation to worthwhile charities. While I initially thought I would miss these belongings, I must admit the whole exercise felt extremely freeing.

We often collect our thoughts and ideas much in the same way we collect material clutter. As in the case of my attic treasures, it's best to open our mental and emotional boxes and take a good, hard look inside from time to time. There we are sure to find outdated feelings that may have served us well in the past, but we should eventually outgrow, like disappointment or grief that clings too long and mires us in a dark past. And what about those thoughts we hold on to just in case, those fear-based concepts that keep us waiting for the other shoe to drop? Then there are the no-good, downright useless notions of jealousy, anger, resentment and the like that have no place in our lives and need to go straight into the garbage.

Though it is not the only time, Lent, with its promise of rebirth and renewal is the perfect time to clear the unnecessary from our lives. Hopefully, as we grow in our Christian understanding we will be able to tear out the weeds before they take root and this exercise will become less cumbersome from year to year. Regardless, whether we have much to eliminate or a little, the experience is freeing. What remains is more room in one’s life to experience all the joy and glory our wonderful Lord has promised to those who walk in faith and love.    

My dear friends, since we have these promises, let’s cleanse ourselves from anything that contaminates our body or spirit so that we make our holiness complete in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1 CEB).

Dear God, thank you for the gifts of salvation, forgiveness and freedom from sin through your son Jesus Christ. May my prayer be to remain faithful in mind, body and spirit. Amen.

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The Art is Outside

“As the curator of The Upper Room Chapel and Museum, it is my task to highlight art and draw the viewer into the work itself. On clear days, the art is outside The Upper Room Chapel: gorgeous pink blossom clouds of the Japanese Magnolia trees. The blossoms don’t last very long. If you are in the Nashville area, take a few minutes to stop by and enjoy them. ‘We recognize God’s presence in the world around us,’ the author of The Mystic in You says. ‘Sometimes it comes because of our intentional spiritual practices. Other times, it comes when we least expect it and do not feel as though we deserve it.  … Geese flying overhead and a dog running in its sleep become windows into eternity when we pause, notice and open to the wonder of all being.’ Sometimes it is in a pink cloud of blossoms.”