I decided to re-do my kitchen; not knocking out walls, etc. (I did that several years ago) but TOTALLY clean everything and sort drawer clutter, paint all cupboards that weren't attached to the walls, re-paint the countertop, and several more things. I am going to list them, not because I am trying to impress you but because it is pertinent to this story.
I scrubbed my refrigerator. You know, the kind of cleaning that requires all shelves and bins be removed, washed and dried. I scrubbed the inside of the microwave (if anyone forgets to put a paper towel over food being heated, I might have a coronary) I used Kilz on a spot on my ceiling, painted the countertops, scrubbed inside of drawers, cleaned oven (I do not have a self-cleaning oven) and racks, washed every utensil and knife in my kitchen (I don't own a dishwasher, either). I vacuumed, mopped, painted a portion of each cupboard drawer and door, removed all bric-a-brac from shelves and washed it, washed windows, and shutters...ugh. I painted the hood to the stove 9after I removed the fine layer of grease attached to it.) You get the idea; if it wasn't nailed down or permanently attached to a wall, it was scrubbed or scrubbed and painted. I realize some of you do this cleaning every week or two.....not me. I clean my refrigerator every 6 months...makes you want to eat at my house, doesn't it?
Every single thing in or on a surface was moved to the dining room table for a few days. I even sewed a new valance for the window below the transom (yes, I have an old house.)
As I was cleaning and sweating and rearranging, I was thinking how similar my kitchen was to my life. I don't REALLY, THOROUGHLY, clean my heart and thoughts every day. I give it a 'lick and a promise' by asking God for forgiveness of the sins I can remember for that day. I don't think about the ones hidden and forgotten, like the dried-up apple I found behind the crisper drawer in the refrigerator.
When it was all done and everything was back in place, I was so proud of it, I nearly burst. I just stood and looked at it.
He looked around and said, "Well, it all looks nice, but honestly, Grandma, it really doesn't look that much different."
You know, he almost had to pick himself up off the floor. I'm kidding....I realized he was right. I knew how much cleaner everything was, but to someone just looking around, it probably did look about the same.
Back to my analogy: when I ask God for forgiveness for all my sins; the forgotten ones and the ones I'm not even aware of, and I make a commitment to scrub some of my bad habits, I know how much better I feel, but my friends probably don't notice.
The next step, of course, is what happens now. I have threatened anyone who might even consider getting something out and not putting it away again. Pick up every thing you use, wash it and put it in the cupboard; cover things in the microwave, pick up every crumb.
To say I am being a bit tyrannical could be an understatement. However, the kids know... and I know... at some point, I will be in a hurry and crumbs won't get cleaned up. The shelves in the door of the refrigerator will eventually look like they did prior to The Great Cleaning.
AND...my newly-cleaned life will fall back into old habits and poor choices. Then I will have to start over again. God knows we can't be perfect and he also knows we continuously make mistakes, even though we try hard. He always forgives us and encourages us to start over.
*For right now, don't leave a crumb on the counter, ok?