July 23, 2007

Heart & Home

“A clean desk is the sign of a deranged mind.”

I don’t know who said it, and I’d like to believe it, but in my life it is just not true. For me, it is better to say, a clean desk is a sign that I’m tired of being disorganize and want to get my life in order.

For years, I’ve notice a correlation between having my heart right before God and taking care of my household responsibilities. I’ve never said much about it to anyone for two reasons. One, I don’t want to sound as if I’m passing judgment on those whose homes are ‘casual-comfortable’ and two, I’m not sure how this works or even if it is a correct correlation.

Last night I spent an hour cleaning up my studio. This is the front to back room in our house that has an easel in one corner beside two large bookcases and a cupboard full of art paper, a desk of family history stuff in the other corner, my huge computer desk part way down, then a craft table, and a long, L-shaped sewing table with two sewing machines and room for a third in the other corner. On the other wall are six large IKEA cupboards filled with art supplies, quilt books, sewing stuff, etc. Frankly, I’ve been putting it off because I thought cleaning it up would take more than an hour, like two weeks.

But yesterday was a good day. We heard a superb sermon at church, enjoyed a great time of worship and fellowship, had a picnic for two at a secluded picnic area my husband found on his early morning bike ride, a relaxing time watching the FIFA U-20 final on television, a nap (I never have a nap), and then several hours alone while my husband took our daughter and two granddaughters to Mamma Mia (I don’t care much for ABBA music). I quilted for a couple of those hours, went for a bike ride, then came home and cleaned up my messy studio. While doing so, I found an old love letter from my husband that I’d forgot I had. My heart was at peace, and happy.

This morning, I read from Proverbs 4:23-27:
“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.
Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.
Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil."

I love verse 23. God tells me that what goes on inside me affects everything I do. This motivates me and helps me remember that because Jesus lives in my heart, I can expect good things to come out. It also warns me that “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (Jesus in Matthew 15:11).

Guarding my heart is more important than a superficial cleaning of what happens on the outside. The next four verses seem to illustrate exactly what issues of life the heart will impact.

My mouth. Jesus says in Matthew 12:34-35, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

Some people, whom the Bible and most of us would call hypocrites, will think one thing and say another, but eventually what is in the heart comes out of the mouth or shows up in some visible way. Guard my heart and my mouth will be under control.

My eyes. My television viewing is also affected by my heart. Sometimes I’m upset with injustice and want to watch something that ends with the bad guys getting caught. Sometimes I’m wanting to be with my husband so I watch football (sigh). Most of the time I want to do something better with my time and leave the thing off.

This verse is also about focus. A wandering heart equals a wandering mind. If I really want something and lock my heart into it, then I can keep my eyes on the goals I set, rather than be distracted by a zillion other things. Guard my heart and what I look at will be right.

My feet. Where I go and what I do are dictated by the desires of my heart. If I love God I will be marching to His drum. If I love sin, I will quickly fall off the path that He lays before me. Guard my heart and my walk with Him will take care of itself.

My conclusion from all this? A flurry of cleaning up the house could still be a cyclical, hormonal, nesting thing that women do (even after they stop ‘laying’ eggs), but just to be on the safe side, it won’t hurt to focus on the heart while I’m at it. Eventually I just might get that basement storage room cleaned up!

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