Making room for God

It’s called, “Clean Sweep” and is a reality-based program featured on The Learning Channel. People with a penchant for collecting and piling their belongings in their personal living spaces write in for help. A team made up of a professional organizer/amateur psychologist, carpenter, and interior designer arrives to help people clean out, sort, organize, toss, and create a productive and visually attractive space.

While I had, thankfully not reached a point where anyone had suggested I contact Clean Sweep producers, I realized this week that my den, built originally for formal dining but long ago transitioned into a den when we realized we were anything but formal entertainers, had become an irritation in my life. It had the potential to become a sanctified Woman Land, just as my husband’s garage has evolved into Man Land. But it definitely needed to be reorganized and recreated. I, too, needed to change my attitude toward the room and learn how to make use of it. It cried out to be an attractive sanctuary rather than a storage facility. And rather than longing for something bigger or more spectacular, I felt a sudden desire to change my approach to the room. To appreciate what it could be and make it happen with some elbow grease.

So I entered the muddle and sat, among the tired wall color and naked windows. Among the books hurriedly tossed onto shelves and the pile of papers needing to be filed or shredded. Among the scrapbooks, yearbooks, photo albums, tax records, household files, and modest collection of books and reference materials I can’t imagine living without.

I took my time. Any chance possible I crept into the room to contemplate what I might do to rearrange the space so I could cozy up, work hard and dream. Where private thoughts and experiences might transcend daily life, if only I dared to invite them in. Where I might pray. Hope. And invite God in.

I loved every minute of the contemplating, even though I know my family wondered what could possibly be accomplished by sitting quietly in a messy room. With little fanfare and no announcement whatsoever, I slowly began the boxing and moving. The window cleaning and the dusting. Paint swatches are still temporarily taped to the walls and I’m not sure whether I’ll go with blinds or curtains, but one thing is for sure: there is a momentum building. I’m on a brink. The energy is growing. The potential is enticing.

Better yet, it is change that is more about rearranging, reorganizing and re-envisioning how I might harness my talents and dreams in that room than redecorating. It is about taking my understanding and use of my home and expanding — not the home itself, but my heart’s attitude toward my surroundings. How I can make use of each room in my home to soothe and expand my character so I can be the wife, daughter, friend, mother, and child of God I long to be--but don’t always know how when routine and mundane experiences create boredom, indecisiveness, and frustration.

God has a few things to say about home. In fact, He uses the visual of a home to explain that He wants, in fact, to become our dwelling place. He wants us to enter His presence and truly live. He does not want us to treat Him as if He were a fine book of philosophy to be perused when life is good and we feel like some pleasant introspection. He does not want to be the vacation side trip when we long for adventure or a phone book listing to be called in an emergency. He intends to be more than the Great Creator, whom we manage to worship through song, rejoice at the moment of birth, or marvel when climbing a mountain. He longs to be more than the occasional miracle worker whose story is relayed by a visiting missionary.

He wants to be so much more to us. In fact, He says that if we desire to understand His teachings and live them out as best we can, if we will trust His love for us and out of appreciation pass on love to those whose lives we touch, we will also begin to see how He is dwelling with us.

It’s a wondrous thought: to reside with God this side of heaven. To wake up with Him on our minds and close our eyes at the end of the day with our thoughts on Him. To realize that we are praying as we walk the grocery aisles without realizing it at first. To feel completely comfortable singing praises or praying with a friend as you sit in a doctor’s office, awaiting test results. Or suddenly recalling scripture memorized long ago and assumed forgotten.

At home with God. Entering it with anticipation. Oh, the wonder.

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