Cleaning the Mental Refrigerator

In church today, we played Gospel Mass by Robert Ray. It’s an excellent piece of music. Our director loves the jazzy piano part, and the singers enjoy the rockin’ gospelly riffs. As the solo flute, and not a professional musician I was a bit confused by my part, but enjoyed listening to everything from the heart of the orchestra.

But the deepest part of the day for me happened during children’s time at church when the pastor began talking about the difference between Lent and Lint. He was discussing how no matter how many times you clean the lint trap or do the dishes you have to do them again and my mind went to cleaning house…

I just had a good house-cleaning yesterday – I try to clean once a  week but it usually gets stretched out longer than that. You know, thorough moving of everything and vacuuming, counters and floors in the bathroom. I’m not the type to scrub my blinds but I do find light housekeeping satisfying, although only if I can see my progress.

But no matter how thoroughly I do it I have to do it again a couple weeks later… <sigh>…

Anyway, as I pondered the repetitive and liturgical nature of house cleaning, I thought about cleaning mental house. I had never really considered that before but sometimes we do need to sit down and go through what’s on our hearts. As Protestants we no longer do Confession and, although that’s good in it’s way, although we LIVE in grace, I somewhat miss that mandatory time to catalog my sins and be accountable to another human being.

Instead on a weekly basis as Presbyterians we have our private moment for confession and unison prayer of confession. Today I had them twice because I played in both services. With my eyes closed, I thought, before God, about all the sins sitting inside, like old food in the refrigerator – a cloudy broth of envy, a moldy block of bitterness, a sour vat of anger.

But they don’t have to sit there forever. He forgives them. He throws them away. Just like, once in  a great while, I go through and throw away all the tiny bits of leftovers still hanging out, all the mushy grapes and curdled yogurt. But if I’m willing, God will go through and clean more frequently!

No matter how thoroughly we do this (myself going through the refrigerator and he throwing sins away), we will have to do it again. As long as I’m human, envy, bitterness, anger, and other dark sins will reaccumulate on the shelves. (Just like we always have a ton of old pizza sauce when I go through the fridge. We just never use it all up!)

But he is faithful and just to forgive my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

I just have to take the time to go through my heart, to repent, regularly, so I don’t become overwhelmed.

Now just to clarify, I’m not talking about being “saved” over and over again. No,  I gave my life to God once and opened the door for Him to go in. Right now, I’m talking about the maintenance part of being a Christian, about confessing and repenting and keeping the lines of communication with God open.

I’m glad mental housekeeping isn’t something I have to do by myself. It’s something God will help me with, every step of the way.


No, this is not a post about Usher.

An important part of Lent is self-examination, confession and repentance. Necessarily most of this must take place between me and God because nobody really needs to know all that. But I will share 5 of the things I feel the most need to confess, some silly, some (more) serious.

1) This is a confession directly related to blogging. Once upon a time when I was a barista, I wore a cute little green shirt that said “No one cares about your blog!” in pink letters (unfortunately the shirt has gone away and I have been unable to find pictures). I feel guilty about wearing this and laughing knowingly with all the people who remarked on it. I wronged you, fellow bloggers, and now I understand. I do want people to care about my blog. Just a little bit.

2) I eat a lot of sugar. Even the whole not-buying-cookies does not work for me. If I don’t have cheap high-fat forms of sugar in the house, I will make “mug cakes”

3) I occasionally read… unsavory… free kindle ebooks

4) I spend an inordinate amount of time online reading things like CNN and Allnurses. News and Allnurses are great in moderation but I’ve been known to do this for a couple hours at a time. Addicted to the 24 hour media machine…

5) I don’t exercise as much as I should. In fact, I was getting a prompt from the Holy Spirit/ my subconscious this morning. It was something like This isn’t going to work if you don’t exercise more (“this” being my hope to avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder without gorging on chocolate). My excuse right now is that my favorite exercise video is missing and it’s too cold to go outside and there’s not enough snow to ski… Well, at least we did some Pilates with our friends this morning. That counts?!

With that, my confession for now is done, and I hope you will all forgive me. Despite these and other more heinous sins, I know that God still loves me. His grace is all I need.