Purging 102

dirty mopThis is a picture of my steam mop AFTER I cleaned all my surfaces inside my house the other day. It was so disgusting because it had been perfectly pristine white. The picture doesn’t even show how dingy and black it really was. I felt really good after cleaning everything but it took me awhile to get in the “mopping mode.” I didn’t plan on cleaning that morning, but I got up and the sun was shining all over the floor exposing the hidden dirt and spots and I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I started in the larger grimy areas but then there were rugs, furniture and plants that needed to be moved. UGHH!! This was turning into a project when I just wanted a quick solution!

I had a decision to make. Was I going to just clean the parts that were the most obvious or was I going to move everything and and “really” clean? Did I have the time? Did I want to? NO!! I proceeded the task by moving area to area and then I fully SURRENDERED, I made a decision to just do it all. By the time I was finished, I was hot, sweaty and feeling pretty good about it. I knew all the dirt was gone, even under the rugs and behind furniture. I could proudly say, it was ALL clean.

Since we have been talking about purging from my last post, I am sure you know where this is headed. At times, I get my best inspiration doing ordinary tasks and God spoke to me loud and clear as I was pushing that steam mop around. I think it was a new kind of morning devotion for me. Just the day before in my Gideon study from Judges 6, God had been speaking to me about surrender and full-out obedience. FYI the reason Gideon was called to lead Israel against the feared Midianites is because another leader hadn’t fully surrendered and “purged” the land as God had called them too earlier. He was the man for the job according to God. Israel was under such horrible oppression overrun by the enemy that they were in hiding and they cried out to God in their distress. MInd you, their distress was a result of their partial obedience earlier. Keep that in mind as you read on.God in His mercy had a plan and He sent them Gideon. But first, Gideon had to purge the idols and practices from his own family, closest to home, he had to clean house so to speak. He had to move the furniture, aka the altar of Baal in his own father’s family. He was scared, he was afraid, but it was the first step to conquering the enemy. He had to surrender closest to home first. He had to “purge” which meant moving the furniture around.

The lesson is this, many times I believe I am fully surrendered to God, but I don’t move the furniture because I’m in a hurry and I don’t want to take the time. I do the outward, feel good, okay, I’m surrendered, sure God method. Friends, let me tell you, we need to take the time to do it God’s way the first time! I wasn’t sure I wanted to dive into the whole project of cleaning ALL my floors but once I got started and took small steps, it came easier. I think that is how we surrender to God and purge unwanted dirt and debris of sin from our lives. We start small. We move one piece of furniture at a time and clean under that area and then move to the next. God is patient, He is merciful and He is faithful. He works with us and our willingness, He gives grace and oh such incredible lovingkindness to us when we just start moving the very first piece of furniture to clean under.

Here’s a verse that came out of the study this week that made me think about I don’t need to move the junk by myself in my heart. Psalm 138:3 “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” You and I just have to call out to Him, take the first step, move the first small piece of furniture and God will increase our strength to do the final job of cleaning and purging towards surrender. Here’s to more purging!!

 

Purging 101

Okay, I have been purging papers, files, old messages, funky junk and it has felt really REALLY good! As I was purging I was lingering. I’m not so sure that is a good thing because as I lingered I debated whether I should toss or keep things for a season longer.

So, here’s how it went down. I dropped a box next to the cabinet I was working on. I tossed the items I could easily say,” naaa…this has to go, can’t believe I’ve held on to this for so long” into the box. Really, Cynthia, airline travel receipts from the last century? Don’t need them, don’t want them and they don’t need to be in a scrapbook. I couldn’t even remember what the trip was even about let alone save it for a memory in a book! Then I made a lonely pile next to the box, which affectionately became the lingering pile. It helped me to get through the mess quicker and not well up with emotion over some long lost trivia. By the time I surfaced totally clean cabinets, I was able to go back to the lingering pile and make a good decision which 85% of what I was lingering over ended up in the box to go. Like the first speaking message I gave over 20 years ago, typed on an IBM typewriter. I guess I just needed a little time to grieve the loss of what was surfacing as I held in my hands things that really aren’t relevant in the present.

Purging and lingering reminds me of what Paul is trying to get across to us in Philippians 3:12-14. His underlying premise is “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (AMP) He makes it very clear early in the chapter that he hasn’t arrived, isn’t perfect, but has made it his life goal to forsake all in order to know Christ in His fullness. He is giving us a prescription on how to know Christ intimately. It isn’t by focusing on our past failures or getting caught up and reveling in past success. It’s pushing forward, being present in the moment and keeping our eyes on the goal, Jesus Christ.

My take away from this is that, it is hard to live in the present and strive for the goal if we keep lingering in the past. A little lingering is okay, but constant living in a lingering mode keeps us from the future God has for us.

As I think about purging and lingering, I have to ask myself these questions. What do I need to purge in my heart so I can press on toward God’s goal for me? What needs to go into the purge box? What needs to be put on the lingering pile to revisit and grieve so I can totally let go? Am I lingering at unforgiveness, hurt and pain? At times I have allowed even the “lingering pile” in my heart to stay too long and it blocks my ability to move ahead. It is stifling and keeps me stagnant. I’ve been there so many times and I am so done with this trap I find myself in. That is why the 3×5 card of my 6×6 for this summer is helping me move forward. ONWARD to the next five on my 6 x 6 list for this summer! Yea for PURGING!!

Can I stay organized in the summer?

As you can see, I haven’t posted in a month! I want to be a faithful blogger so it wasn’t my intention to drop off the face of the earth for a month. It never is, I had goals in mind and then… well, summer hit and the laziness of sunny days distracted me. I realized that I need to have a plan because it is so easy for me to get distracted. You know the visual when you are trying to focus and then you see a “SQUIRREL” and I find myself chasing something that wasn’t part of the plan? Summer time should have some “SQUIRREL” moments and spontaneity, but I do like to focus on a few projects in the summer that get pushed away during the rest of the year.

So here is my plan, today is July 16th and officially there are about 9 weeks left of summer if you follow the calendar of summer ending September 21st. Mentally for me, summer ends after the first week of September. That gives me a little over six weeks until in my thinking summer will wind down. What can I accomplish in six weeks to stay organized with a plan and still leave room for impromptu coffee’s, reading, and BBQ’s with friends and family? It’s something last year I learned from Bill Hybels at the Willow Leadership Summit and who is also a mentor for me in leadership. It’s called the 6 x 6. I am modifying it a bit but here is the jest of it. Find a 3 x 5 card and write down six projects or goals you want to accomplish in six weeks. They can be anything from small projects, reading, relationships you want to cultivate, to self-care and growth goals, you get the idea. Place that card somewhere you can visualize it daily. Review it, pray over it and then watch and see how a simple step like a 6 x 6 can make a difference.

I love summer, but I also love to be productive and accomplish at least a few things that I normally wouldn’t have the time for during the rest of the year OR just to get a mental jump-start for a new adventure that is coming up around the corner. Yes, I think it is entirely possible to be a little organized in the summer and still enjoy the laid back days that happen upon us. So what do you think? Are you game to try the 6 x 6 with me? I’ll let you in on my first one on my card, it is the word PURGE. I will fill you in on the details of that later, but for now, I’ve a goal to wander around my house with large bags and containers and start purging to get rid of some of the clutter! Are you inspired? Let me know what works for you.