Today was supposed to be a yard work day. We bought a house that is just over a year old and it needs some landscaping - no, let me rephrase that - ALL the landscaping needs to be done. I have been trying to get at it, and even arranged for some friends to come over this weekend to help out with the heavier work, but it has turned out to be a totally rainy and cold day, so I am stuck inside...alone.
Sigh. I like to work outside. I like to work on things that others can see and admire. I like to work together with people on projects. There is nothing wrong with that, I know, but today God is speaking to me about taking care of some things on the inside, working on the places that hardly anyone gets to see. The inside is what I have to live with every day and it is up to me whether it will be a well-kept, tidy, sunny, comfortable and welcoming place or a neglected, gloomy, tight space with dark and dirty corners.
I hate cleaning my house, yet it is this weekly chore that makes it a pleasant and healthy place to be. Sometimes we don’t particularly like the personal and spiritual disciplines, but these very things keep our souls alive and well and growing. Here are some “inside tasks” I can do to keep things from getting constipated, stagnant and stinky, bitter and shrivelled, overwhelming, neglected and grown-over, or apathetic in my interior life.
1. Take the first few minutes of every day to acknowledge God’s presence and again relinquish my will to his. Ask what he would like to do with this day and LISTEN!
2. Read or listen to something that reminds me of what is true: this could be reading the Bible, listening to a teaching CD, having an honest conversation with someone about spiritual matters, etc.
3. Reflect on my present inner attitudes and sincerely ask God to show me which ones need some work – he always answers. There is always something I need to learn and an area I need to work on.
4. Enjoy God. Sit down with your beverage of choice or take a walk or go for a drive or lie down on the floor and just hang out with the lover of your soul. Tell him everything you’re concerned about, notice the details of everything he has put around you, have a laugh together, close your eyes and let his love sweep over you (not recommended while you are driving, though). Be available to get to know him better and to be known by him. Make this a personal, private time that no one else shares.
5. Take an everyday, perhaps unpleasant task, and turn it into worship or prayer. Sometimes when I am cleaning the toilet, I pray for God to help me face and clean all the gunk out of my life and eliminate the crap (like physical elimination, we should regulary cleanse our spirits of the junk we have ingested). I use my driving time to pray for my list of loved ones. Somehow, skies and landscapes tend to inspire me to pray big prayers on their behalf. Even watching television can become more than entertainment. I can be sitting in front of the tv and something I see will strike me as disturbing or interesting or just something to take note of. Sometimes I weep and pray for those on the screen (I watch some reality tv), sometimes I see a spiritual principle played out before me in a very clear way, sometimes I am inspired to act against injustice or pray for world situations, and other times, I see the wonder and creativity of God displayed through some very talented and innovative people and I take a minute to say thanks.
6. Invite God to work or school with you. Every budget, every shovel of dirt, every email, every test, every phone call, every meeting can be less burdensome and more effective when you know God is with you and wants you to be an overcomer. Don't neglect to consult him throughout the day. My best strategies and ideas have come when I take the time to ask him.
Well, I guess I can't procrastinate any more. Enough of the enjoyable stuff (writing) and now on to the toilet-cleaning and vacuuming (ugh). But it needs to be done and hey - it could turn out to be fun because I have someone cool to do it with.