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Soul Spring Cleaning

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As I was writing my post on mom guilt and referencing Kevin DeYoung’s book Crazy Busy, I realized that there was a lot to take away from the book as a Christian during this time of quarantine, not just as a parent. So, at risk of becoming the Crazy Busy Lady, I’m back again!

If you didn’t read my previous post (and don’t feel bad if you didn’t), I talked about how last fall I read the book Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung. To say it was impactful would be an understatement. It’s easy for me to get swept up in the busyness of life and allow my identity to be found in what I do, rather than who I do it for, and this book was a breath of fresh air. It caused me to take a good look at what my reasons for being busy were, who I was trying to please, and why. 

I’m sure as many of you have spent extended time cooped up in your homes, you’ve started to notice things that need fixing or changing. Baseboards that need cleaning, paint trim that could be touched up, that one closet you’ve been ignoring for months that might lead to Narnia if you could just find the back through all the junk stuffed in it. You don’t usually notice these things (or you’re able to ignore them) because you’ve got other things occupying your mind and your time. 

But now that there’s nothing else to keep you from them, it’s all you see. In my case, it’s excess toys. We have SO MANY toys! My four-year-old knows now that if she sees me approaching the playroom with a trash bag, she’d better hide anything she wants to keep. I’m on the warpath and no toy is safe.

In the same way, as my schedule has gone from super packed to completely empty, I’ve had to come face to face with things that need fixing in my soul. I’ve found insecurities I didn’t know I had, because I’d muffled them with stuff. I see all the lies I’ve allowed to cloud my mindset. And just like in my house, I need to toss out the junk that’s collected in my heart.  

One thing I found is that I really want Jesus to like me. I know it’s dumb, because obviously he loves me immeasurably. But I want him to REALLY like me. Like he looks at me and goes, “I like Arden. She’s cool. Look at all the stuff she does for me.” It’s something I have to fight on a daily basis, but it’s also easier to ignore when I have a schedule that’s full. So lately I’ve been having to fight this battle even harder. Because I’m not out doing stuff for him. I’m stuck at home, and I hear the lies screaming at me “Look at all the things you’re not doing. You are useless to the kingdom right now. Better just put a pause on being a Christian I guess.”

Are you hearing lies too? What is the quiet of an empty schedule bringing to light in your soul? 

What I appreciated about Crazy Busy was that the book doesn’t end with DeYoung telling us to just stop being busy. In fact, he concludes that while busyness is a burden, it’s often a part of the Christian life. Christians aren’t called to be comfortable. Right now, we’re less busy, but we’re still uncomfortable. However, in the midst of our lives, busy or otherwise, DeYoung calls us to remember the why and how of why we live the way we do.

 “Anytime we talk about what we should do every day, we must make clear what Christ has done for us. We can rest, because he worked. We can lay down our prideful busyness because he laid down his life. We can keep coming back to him in the midst of our failures, because he keeps all his promises to us.”

 Being a Christian isn’t about what we can do. It’s about what God did for us.  It’s about drawing near to him. Not because we have to, but because we want to. Because he loves us. Titus 3:5-8 puts it this way:

 “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”

 Jesus is our reason and our motivation. He doesn’t need us, but we desperately need him. Whether our lives are “normal” or disrupted by outside circumstances, our relationship with him stays the same. He loves us, and he wants to be nearer to and fully satisfied in him.

 Crazy Busy ends with this helpful quote: “It’s not wrong to be tired. It’s not wrong to feel overwhelmed. It’s not wrong to go through seasons of complete chaos. What is wrong-- and heartbreakingly foolish, and wonderfully avoidable-- is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we need.” 

 So, in the midst of the extended quiet, I encourage you to examine your soul. Find the things that have been overlooked in the dusty corners. When you hear the lies, compare them to what God has to say. And when they don’t hold up, toss them in a trash bag.

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