First Steps to a Healthy Home

When we moved in to our rental unit, I was given full reign in the flower beds. I was the only tenant in the three-family building who had even the slightest interest in maintaining them. Four years in, and I think I finally have a grip on the bindweed and the crabgrass.

*Side note*  Do you know what bindweed is? It is A.W.F.U.L. It spreads underground by the roots, surfaces as a viney plant with little white flowers. It’s aggressive. It’s persistent. It climbs over everything and it doesn’t want to die. (And this is coming from a girl who can kill just about anything… spiders, goldfish, philodendron, dinner…) The garden was so overwhelmed by it that I broke the cardinal rule of weeding: I yanked off the top and didn’t remove it by the roots because I couldn’t even see where the roots were. And I filled a yard waste bag with those tangled up vines.

Anyway… The key to a clean garden, and the key to a clean life, is to start somewhere and maintain it. Then, as you maintain your beginning (no matter how small or simple), slowly take back a little more, and a little more, and a little more, as much as you’re able to consistently maintain. Once I yanked out as much of the surface weeds that I could, I had to go out at least every-other day and find where the roots were, then loosen the soil and tug out as much of the root as I could. The most effective solution (or so I’ve read) for bindweed is to just keep pulling it out until it burns up the energy store in the roots and dies. So every day or two I pull out a little bit more.

How does one yank back the proverbial weeds in a messy life? This time around, I’m starting with a devotional spot. It took me the better part of a morning, but I cleared off the sofa, the love seat, and enough of the living room floor to vacuum the center of it. I found a space on an adjacent bookshelf for my Bible and a prayer journal. For the past three days, no one is allowed to leave anything on the couches or in the middle of the floor, and anyone who tries gets reminded. “Train your brain,” I tell my kids. It’s kind of a slow process to train the brain, and maybe a topic for another day.

So for the past three days, we’ve kept the couches and the floor clear… mostly. Today, I sat down to open the laptop for my morning diversion and it wouldn’t boot up! It’s not a very reliable laptop to begin with, but today it was the interruption I needed to get back into a devotional habit… to begin again to “train my brain” that we start the day with devotions.

In review… First steps to a healthy home: Clear the couches, clear the floor enough to vacuum the center, clear a spot on the bookshelf or table for devotional materials (Bible, journal, devotional book, etc. as you see fit), and start the day with prayer and God’s Word.

Read what you see fit to read, but this morning my Bible “fell open” (I love it when that happens) to Psalm 139. Here’s an excerpt…

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

Isn’t it good to know that no matter how messy our life is, whether our home resembles ascending into heaven or making our bed in hell, God is with us? We cannot be messy enough, ugly enough, mean enough, or lazy enough to scare God away from us. He loves us because He created us, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

Have a blessed day!


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