Go to the Well: Finding Jesus in the Everyday

There are a few places in the world where I always distinctly feel God’s presence. Yes, I know that God is always with me but sometimes it is unmistakable and for me, those are the best moments. While I was growing up, there was a summer conference my youth group went to every year. It was great to be with hundreds of other kids my age who were so excited to learn more about God. Without a doubt, when I was at this conference, I could feel God moving and working in every moment. Going home was so difficult because I knew it wouldn’t be the same. Continue reading “Go to the Well: Finding Jesus in the Everyday”

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How Cleaning my House Cleanses my Soul

I’ll be honest, I don’t like to clean and what’s more, I’m not very good at it. I’ve always been fairly lazy when it comes to cleaning and I haven’t taken the time to practice. I love to dirty every inch of the kitchen making fabulous food but the resulting mess makes me really sad. Usually, I just shut the door to the kitchen and pretend the mess doesn’t exist.

Thankfully, I hit the husband jackpot because not only is my husband great at cleaning, he actually likes it! I guess opposites really do attract! So he does a lot of the cleaning around our house, but I do think it is important for me to pitch in as well.

The other day when I was washing the dishes, I realized that if I’m intentional about it, cleaning can actually be a spiritual practice for me. Cleaning requires me to think about someone else before myself. It requires that I practice discipline and consider how another person’s perspective is important.

In just about every other part of my life, I love to serve. I’m thrilled to help anyone with a project or teach someone a new skill. So I got to thinking, how can I use my love of serving to improve my attitude on cleaning?

How does cleaning help me serve?

Something I’ve learned about myself is that it is important for me to serve a higher purpose. I can’t do something just because or just because I’m told to (that was probably frustrating for my parents). I have to know the why and understand the desired outcome. So naturally, for me, I have to ask: who am I serving?

My husband

This one is probably a no-brainer as he has to live in the mess that I create too. But I know that cleaning serves him because if I don’t do it, he has to.

My friend Lauren taught me a fun way to find ways to serve your spouse. First, ask them what their favorite characteristic or action of God is. Then think about how you can live into that characteristic. For example, when I asked my husband this question, he said his favorite thing about God is how God creates. He loves the creation story and continuing to see how God interacts with creation. I had to think about this one for a while, but Lauren helped me realize that this means my husband’s environment affects him a lot. His high regard for how God creates tells me that he values beauty and order around him. This means that I can serve him by keeping our shared spaces clean and ordered.

I’ll give you another quick example, in case you want to try it yourself. My favorite attribute of God is God’s mystery. This tells my husband that spontaneity and surprises are important to me. Now, this exercise is not meant to be a miracle pill or magical fix. It is just a way to learn more about your spouse’s understanding and relationship with God as well as learn a way to better relate to them.

Family and friends

From the very beginning of our marriage, we put a lot of value in being able to host family and friend gatherings. So when I am cleaning the guest room, I can think about our friends who come visit from far away. While I pick up the piano/reading room, I’m making space for my younger cousins to play or read in. Keeping the kitchen and dining room in order means that we can invite our parents over for dinner at any moment.

Our small group

This group is made up of some wonderfully supportive people and we were so thankful to be invited in a few years ago. Each week, our group meets in someone’s home, we have a discussion about that Sunday’s message and then we eat together. Our group takes turns hosting; each week someone different volunteers. I do really enjoy hosting but in order for that to work, the house needs to be in some sort of order. I don’t believe hosting requires a perfectly neat house. But people do need a place to sit down and relax. When I’m cleaning, I am making space to take a turn hosting our small group and inviting encouraging conversation into our home.

Myself

Even though cleaning is not my favorite activity and sometimes it is draining, I feel more at peace when the house is not a mess. I am able to think more clearly and find what I’m looking for faster. It also gives me the freedom to invite people over which is something that fills my emotional tank.

God

Lastly, and most importantly, cleaning my house really does cleanse my soul. Most often when I’m cleaning, I’ll turn on Pandora to one of my favorite stations (usually All Sons and Daughters) and soak in the inspiring music. During this time, God always brings to mind other areas of my life that need some cleansing as well. It has turned into a form of prayer which actually distracts me from the chores.

Your reasons for cleaning might be very different from mine. But I hope that you are inspired to look at this chore (or other chores) with a little more positivity in the future. Take a minute and share your best cleaning shortcuts in the comments below!

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Following Jesus’ Example

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Seek First the Kingdom of God, part 3

Before you keep reading here, make sure to check out part 1 and part 2 of the series!

How we follow Jesus’ example of seeking first the kingdom of God.

We know that we seek first God’s kingdom by actively pursuing the experience and availability of God’s reign for everyone. This means that we are working towards restoration in our relationships, neighborhoods and workplaces. We’ve seen examples of how Jesus did this while he was on earth. Jesus used his time to serve those in need regardless of his schedule or the expectations other people placed on him. Continue reading “Following Jesus’ Example”

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When your plans change

Whether you are a methodical, step-by-step planner or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type, there are times when your plans unexpectedly change. It happens to us all, right?

We have expectations of a situation or relationship; we have plans for how to handle a task or job. But then something or someone gets in the way and our plans go right out the window.

When faced with this situation, we have a couple options: Continue reading “When your plans change”

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The Sweetest Frame

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.” – Cornerstone by Hillsong (based on the hymn “My Hope is Built Nothing Less”)

A couple weeks ago we sang Cornerstone in church and it was like I was hearing this line for the first time again. I cannot count how many times I have worshiped with this song let alone the hymn it is inspired by but God used this time to teach me something about myself. As I was singing “I dare not trust the sweetest frame…” I thought, “But wait, I do trust the sweetest frames! Compliments and praise are my favorites! I so often live for the praise of others!” Continue reading “The Sweetest Frame”

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