Xtreme Clean

Tomorrow is 'Xtreme Clean' Day at my church.  We are in the beginning stages of building an addition to our church to make room for growth and to have a central place where all of our children can meet.  Currently our church parents with different aged children have to go to several parts of the building to get their children dropped off in their appopriate classrooms.  Our current children's wing is so old it does not meet 'code' and to do so would be almost as costly as building a new wing for them.  During construction, many of our Sunday School classes will be moving to new areas to make room for the construction zone.  In preparation for this, we are making a clean sweep of our church and having a cleaning day after our church services tomorrow morning to hold on to those things that need to stay and discard those things that need to go.  We have had over 180 willing servants to sign up and help us clean up & clean out, and we have set aside 2 hours to get it done.  Mind you, there is so much to be done and so many items accumulated over the decades that it most likely will not get done in 2 hours.  It will be a process over the next month or so and mainly for our church staff, but it will help the process greatly by making this initial clean sweep.

Having said all of this, God has been speaking to me over the last few months regarding 'clean hands and a pure heart.'  I have had such an urgency to make things right that are wrong in my life, and to make amends with people that I may have offended, and to be strong enough to do what's right.  And when I say urgency, that is really an understatement of how I really feel.  I cannot tell you the desire in my heart to 'do' the right thing, 'say' the right thing, and 'be' the right thing for my heavenly Father!!  But not only for Him, but for others as well!  I know I fail him DAILY, and it is so frustrating to me that I can't 'get it!'  Like Paul, those things that I don't want to do, I do.  Those things that I want to do, I don't do.  It is a daily struggle for me. 

I KNOW there are people that I have let down, and there are those that I may not know that I have disappointed.  An eye opener for me was one of my friends who told someone in conversation that "I used to think Dana was perfect, but now I know she's not." 

(*gulp) (To myself:)  What?  Me?
(*sigh)  ................   Seriously?  Did you really mean that? (*gulp)
(*sigh)  ................   Nah....she didn't really mean that! :-/  Yeah...she did.  But even though she might not have, I know it's true.
(*gulp) .................  Oh, dear God.  How can this be? I mean, really.  I try really hard to do what's right...  seriously?

WOW.
This was a HUGE eye-opener for me!!  Whether she meant it or not, it's true. 
I am not what I desire to be at all times:  faultless. 
It let me know that even though I pray daily 'Lord, let the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth be pleasing to You..." that I have a lot of work to do. 
There are areas, and especially with my tongue, that need a lot of work!  That was an 'Xtreme' kick in the gut for me and it rocked my world for several days after, and STILL does.  I am ever so thankful to her for saying that, and for opening my eyes to areas in my life that I need to work on.  This brings to my mind one of my dear friends who told me years ago, "Dana, you are your own worst enemy."  lol   It is so true!  That was an eye-opening day for me as well and proves to be a spiritual marker in my life for many reasons.  (Thank you, Jacque!  I love you!)

I am by nature a people pleaser, so when things bother me, I've always had a problem with bottling things up inside rather than speaking about it.  After all, we are supposed to overlook, right?  I am too afraid of hurting someone's feelings.  However, the bottle can only hold so much.  It builds and builds and builds and, when it gets full, it has overflow.  When my overflow decides to come out it is usually not so pretty.  The delivery is not smooth nor is it desiring.  So.....in the process, I have not done myself nor the other person a favor by this. 

Over the last few years I have tried so hard to rectify this part of myself.  I have gone to those whom I felt God was leading me to speak and share my feelings.  I don't have the gift of speaking.  I can express myself better, most of the time, through writing than by speaking, so there have been a couple of friends I have truly disappointed and some I may have lost in the process. 

In the process of this 'Xtreme Clean' over the last couple of months, I have asked God to bring to my mind those areas which need to be 'cleaned' and to bring to my mind people that I may have offended so that I could make it right.  There are areas in my life that He has brought to my attention, and there are people that He's brought to my mind as well.  I have written some letters asking for forgiveness for disappointing and/or offending as I feel this was what God led me to do.  I am STILL asking God DAILY to bring areas of need to my attention.  But what it so disappointing to me is that it took my friend's one statement to get me to do this.

God's word says, in 2 Corinthians 13, that we are to examine ourselves.  We must do this daily.  God's word says we all fall short of the glory of God, so it is our duty to ask God where it is that we fail Him, to repent of those things and make it right, and to turn away from our wicked ways.

I am asking you:
 - Are you one that I have offended or disappointed in any way?
 - If so, please let me know so I can make it right with you!

If I died tonight, I would hate for there to be any 'undone' business that needed to be taken care of.  I promise from this day forward to try to do what is right, and I am asking all of you who are my friends, to hold me accountable.

I have been transparent in this post, and to be honest, it makes me feel very uneasy. I don't like to appear 'less than' to others. I tell my kids all the time "It doesn't matter what they think, just do what is right and God will take care of the rest." It's is easier said and done, especially for a people pleaser! If I feel I have failed someone else, then I am a failure - period. I know that's not true, and it's something I'm learning to overcome little by little as I get older. 

As I come to the end of my post today, I would like to close with verses from 2 Corinthians 13.  I am using the version from The Message:

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won't show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we'd rather the test showed our failure than yours. We're rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn't possibly do otherwise.
We don't just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.
10I'm writing this to you now so that when I come I won't have to say another word on the subject. The authority the Master gave me is for putting people together, not taking them apart. I want to get on with it, and not have to spend time on reprimands.
11-13And that's about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. Greet one another with a holy embrace. All the brothers and sisters here say hello.
14The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

- Are you one that I have offended or disappointed in any way?
- If so, please let me know so I can make it right with you!
- Are there any areas in your life that God has revealed to you that needswork?  If so, what do you plan to do to make it right?

I would love to hear from you!  Post a comment or email me!  Let me know your thoughts, as 'iron sharpens iron.'  I NEED TO BE SHARPENED!!
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