About My Dad

As a young girl, I spent time watching my dad putter around cars. From his youth, he was fascinated with vehicles of every kind, so it’s not surprising that he became a mechanic. Over the years he spent hours fixing, cleaning, and maintaining our cars. Sometimes I merely watched his efforts, and other times I helped; the two of us cleaning side by side.

Due to his fastidious ways, our cars never broke down and always looked shiny and new. Most Sunday mornings, he would be up early hand washing the car in preparation for an outing later that day. He’d drive for ice-cream, a hike, or just the pleasure of enjoying the vehicles he cherished.

I wish I could say I adopted my dad’s car care methods, that I learned from him how to change a tire, do an oil change, or at least keep my own car clean. But most days my car looks more like it recently competed in the mud bowl. Yet my dad has never given up helping me. To this day, he’ll come over with his car vacuum, wash bucket, sponges and scrubbers, and a myriad of sprays and polishes, and proceed to detail my vehicle. No matter how disastrous its condition, my dad goes about the tidy up with the same scrupulous care as if it were his own. When he’s finished, it looks brand new.

It’s not just his love of cars that motivates my dad to help make my car look new again—it’s that he loves me.

Just as my dad helps clean up my messy car time and time again, so my heavenly father helps clean up the messes of my life over and over. I can bring any number of messes to him—both the ones I’ve created and the ones others dump on me—and he’ll help me clean them up.

He never leaves me to struggle alone in this clean up effort. No matter how disastrous the condition I find myself in, or whether he’s already helped me untold times before, God goes about the tidy up with patient, meticulous care. I don’t have to struggle to clean up the rotten bits that hide in the dark crevices of my life, or try to polish myself up before he arrives. Like my dad, he’s fully equipped to handle any kind—or amount—of mess.

And he does it because he loves me.

With God’s help, the clean up isn’t nearly as daunting or unwieldy. He willingly arrives and begins a cleansing work that renders me changed, inside and out. His loving-kindness and tender touch on every facet of my life, clean off all the dirt and soul soils making me like new. He never discontinues the clean up effort because I’m too messy, or because I can’t seem to remain clean. He shows up time and time again because I’m precious to him. And when he’s finished, I’m like new.

Nothing is beyond his reach, no clean up effort too great.

May you be blessed to feel God’s loving touch on your life, gently cleansing and restoring you to full beauty. 

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  1. What mess are you dealing with that seems too big for you to handle alone?
  2. Bring it to God and ask him to help you with the clean up effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clutter Control

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I’ve been working on decluttering. It started when I decided to tidy up my diet. It spilled over into activities and over-involvement, then finally my home. No matter how much attention I place in these areas, there is consistent work to ensure it’s maintained. We all know how easy it is to slowly add junk food back into our diets, to say yes one too many times, or let a small pile build up on the counter.

Our thought life is no different. Like the mess in our homes, it needs to be cleaned up by regular attention and care. It’s easy to get busy and not set aside the time needed to declutter. A little bit of junk food here, a bit of compromise there, a small pile of unattended ideas left to mount, and suddenly, things get messy.

Cleaning up sounds so simple, but it takes diligent work. It requires we stop other pursuits long enough to examine ourselves, to listen, and pray in order to regularly deal with the clutter of thoughts, false motives, and sin that builds up on a daily basis. Adding to the challenge, the clean-up effort can easily be compromised by the enemy’s efforts to distract, deceive, distort, and detract from our identity and purpose in an attempt to destroy us.

Distraction

The enemy of our soul wants to keep you preoccupied to ensure you don’t see your faults. He knows that once you recognise your failings, you have the opportunity to change. With that, comes healing and power and he wants none of that for you. He works diligently by enticing you to fill up on junk food so you fail to ingest the riches of the kingdom. If you don’t indulge in his offerings, he will go to great lengths to further distract you with busy work to try to ensure an unexamined life.

Deception

This is the attempt to ensure we overlook the mess or fail to see sin for what it is. If distraction failed, Satan tries to deceive us into thinking we’re perfectly fine. In this proud state, we disregard our own faults because we’re too busy finger-pointing with one hand and patting ourselves on the back with the other. Even if healing is offered, Satan tries to prevent it by veiling us from our faults and keeping us preoccupied with our good works.

Detraction

This is the attempt to beat us down, make us forget who we are and how much we are worth. This compromised state often comes amid Distraction, as the result of too much junk food and not enough time with the One who aides the clean-up effort. Self-esteem wanes as pieces of our identity are chipped off and added to the mounting mess.

Distortion

Satan bombards the believer with lies, truth-twisting, and accusations in an attempt to utterly destroy them and their faith. He wants us to believe we are beyond help, the mess too chaotic and ugly to be cleaned up.

Destruction

Satan will stop at nothing to ensure our ruin. We are warned to, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). Destruction may come in the form of lost hope, crippling fear, disabling illness, shattered faith, poor choices, or relational breakdown to name a few. Though there may not appear a solution to the mess, there is still a way out.

Deliverer

God delivers us out of disastrous messes, even if we made them and even if we failed to do our part in the clean up. He responds to willing hearts turned to Him, and in His extraordinary mercy, sometimes He performs clean-ups even before the mess-maker fully notices Him.

We do well to be mindful of mounting messes, taking inventory on a daily basis and an active role in the areas God shows us require attention. But take heart, even if you have a mess on your hands, know that you have a Helper ready and willing to remove the clutter in order to free you from disarray and discouragement.

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  1. Set aside regular time for clutter control. You could pray this prayer: “Search me, God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139: 23-24)
  2. Are there things in your life creating unnecessary distraction from time with God? Is it possible they are filling a need that can only be filled by God?
  3. Bring any messes to God and watch how He makes beautiful spaces in your life.