Lenten thoughts on striving.

If you want your house to be bleach clean, I’m just not your girl. If you need your closet cleaned out, your pantry organized, or general home systems streamlined, I’ll be at your house faster than you can say "the container store."  But cleaning baseboards, mopping, dusting just doesn’t appeal. If feels like so much work for about 30 minutes of cleanliness that is quickly destroyed by kids, dogs, and husbands everywhere. So at the end of 2019 when our budget allowed, my husband finally turned to me and said those magic words, “I think we can hire someone to clean the house.” I was so excited but also immediately ashamed. Like, maybe I should try harder or commit to a cleaning schedule. Should we really be spending money on this? The answer was and is yes.  But there was and is a sense in which I didn’t want to let go of something that I didn’t even want to do because that also meant giving up control and admitting to my own shortcomings.

So after a bit of a search the day arrived and my new best friend Anita and her team of gals came to clean. She came well recommended but it still felt weird to leave four women at your house alone the first time you meet them. So I stayed. With my 3 year old. I realize this was dumb. But as I tried to keep me and my daughter out of their hair I realized there wasn’t much I could do. I had to sit there and let them clean. Reese and I went outside, we watched tv, and generally just moved form room to room to let them do what only they could do. When it was finished, my house was spotless. And I couldn’t take credit for it.

I love a good "atta girl," especially when it’s for something I either didn’t want to do or something I know is important to other people I love. I was so excited for my husband to come home and see how clean the house was but was letdown by the fact it had nothing to do with me.

In that moment I was struck by how similar this is to my own striving in relation to Christ. He died on a cross, taking away my sin, making me spotless. And now, as I walk in that freedom, I can take no credit for it. There’s nothing I can do to add to or subtract from that, I just have to sit in it. And no matter how hard I work to prove my worth to the world, I can’t make myself better, or cleaner in the sight of God. That is a job only Jesus can do. I can’t help and I can’t take credit.

As I reflect on my own brokeness this Lenten season is it helpful to remember cleaning myself up and checking boxes on a spiritual to-do list will never bring me closer to Jesus. But giving Him credit for my righteousness and recognizing the work only He can do, absolutely will.