It is with great joy and excitement that I share this with you all. I confess to you, my sisters (and brothers), that I used to be a very messy person. I happily say "used to be!" I used to leave things around everywhere. If I fixed a meal for myself, and my dad would walk in... he could practically follow the steps of everything I did... and he'd proclaim "Allie was here!" And I'd feel like a failure all over again. Just once I wanted to remember to pick up after my cooking or eating, reading or crafts...
Worst of all was my room. By nature and upbringing, I'm not a messy person. But I'd fallen into a depression that manifested itself, among other ways, in a rather neglected room. While I enjoyed cleaning and organizing, something inside of me kept me from doing it for myself. Perhaps I felt I didn't deserve the calm of a neat and tidy living space... maybe I was holding on to teenage irresponsibility? I sincerely do not know what reason or reasons I had for going day to day the way that I did.
I was sore and ached, depressed, feeling pathetic... and my knees were in almost unbearable pain... I only share this part because of the first of two events that led to a complete turnaround in this area of my life.
I was in a Bible Study, and I asked God why my knees were in such horrible pain. What had I done? I hadn't injured them, that I knew of... there was no real explanation. As I asked and pleaded, I was for some reason in the book of Hebrews and found my way to Hebrews 12:12-13... (Now I'm a BIG proponent of using scripture in context...so feel free to read the whole passage! I know there's a much greater message in this passage, but at the moment this is what jumped out to me.) "Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed."
I read that verse, and it was as if God were telling me, "here's why your knees are weak...and here's what to do to keep it from getting worse. If you don't do this, you will wish you only had weak knees."
I was later to read the rest and learn even more about how to strengthen my walk with my Lord, but for now this was what I needed to do. Still I didn't have a desire to clean. It was not until I visited with two friends of mine who own their own homes, and keep them lovely, tidy and neat, that I decided it was time to grow up and take control of my living space.
But it wasn't just a clean room that I wanted... I wanted the desire and ability to create habits that would last for the rest of my life. I didn't want a temporary fix... I wanted a life change. So I prayed that God would instil in me habits that would lend themselves to continual organization and cleanliness.
With these changes have come a realization I never expected!!!
But the fruit of the Spirit is:
Love- Having a clean room has given me the ability to think clearly and love honestly without over-extending myself.
Joy- Having a clean room has literally provided the possibility for true joy! I can walk into my room and smile in my heart.
Peace-Having a clean room has created a space for peace. Having this time in my room to rest and relax and instill peace allows me to be more at peace in other areas of my life.
Patience-it takes patience to make my bed EVERY morning... The old me used to say "I have no company coming to see me... and I'm going to unmake it tonight anyway... why bother?" But by patiently setting aside a little more time each moment to put things back where I found them, is teaching me patience in the bigger things in life as well!
Kindness- the peace and joy and patience that maintaining a clean living space has given me is also adding up to general kindness to my family, friends, and complete strangers. It is true...the fruits of the spirit go hand in hand in hand...
Goodness-Having a clean room actually keeps me from thinking too much about myself, and allows me to think more of others and to be able to help others more freely.
Faithfulness-Getting the big ball of failures of the messy room out of the way, is allowing me to create routines and faithfully be in the Word daily. It also allows me more time to be fully focused on what He wants to show me in His Scriptures!
Gentleness - I've noticed the way I even handle the possessions I have now has a feel of gentleness, and it is also (hopefully) showing itself in my character and treatment of others. I have a stronger sense of when I'm not acting as a child of God should, and it is much harder to let any temper get out of hand without my feeling an overwhelming conviction on the matter.
Self-control-The desire to keep my room clean has led me to have self control in what I use in my room, when I use it, and what I do with it afterward... I used to try on multiple pieces of clothing and, just like in the movies, throw them on the bed or over my head onto the floor... then in the rush of getting to where I needed to be, I'd leave them all there with the self-promise to take care of it later... now I put thought into each thing I take out of my closet, and I have to exercise the self control to put it back where it all belongs once I'm done.
against such things there is no law.
I'm really not sure yet what God wants me to do with this new-found wisdom and growth, but I know He doesn't plan to waste it. I praise Him for allowing me to become a woman who seeks to serve Him by learning to serve others and maintain a living space that reflects His character!!