Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not Yet Spring Cleaning

Well, here we are, at the end of January, the month of making resolutions… and breaking them. I won’t ask how you’re doing with yours, that’s between you and the gate post. But, I will tell you that I’m doing great with mine, mostly because I didn’t make any. Okay, so now that making and breaking resolutions is over with, maybe we can move on to bigger things.

I always look at January as a month of reflection over the year that just went by and a preparation for the year that’s just beginning. One of the things I try to look at is how I’ve grown in the last year. No, I don’t mean grown in height, nor in girth either. Actually, I’m finally losing a bit of the girth part. What I’m talking about is growth in my spirit, soul and character. Am I a better person today, than I was a year ago?

Another thing that I think is really important in January is to do some housecleaning. I’m not talking about the type that requires a feather duster and broom, but the type that takes place in the heart and mind. It’s helpful to get rid of the old garbage in our hearts and minds, so that we don’t drag last year’s problems into this year.

Often, we find ourselves carrying emotional baggage around for years. A misspoken word in anger or frustration becomes an offense that is carried around like a ball and chain. It never seems to go away, but constantly irritates, like a rash that won’t heal. This is the type of baggage we need to get rid of.

It’s impossible to live in close proximity with another person without having hurts and offenses happen. That’s a fact of life and as long as we are imperfect humans, that problem will continue. However, we don’t have to hang on to those hurts and offenses. They might come on their own, but we decide when and where we get rid of them.

Part of my beginning of the year review is to seek out any of these things, which I might have buried in the deep recesses of my heart. Entering into the new year with them just guarantees that the problem will perpetuate, not that it will be resolved. When I find them, I forgive the person; not to their face, just where I am. They don’t need to know I’m forgiving them, and probably don’t remember the offense. Better to let that sleeping dog lie and just take care of my problem by forgiving them.

If I hold something in my heart against my wife, there is no way that I can act with love towards her. Oh, I might be able to pretend to act in love, even to the point of doing some loving actions, but I won’t be acting in pure, total love. Why? Because I won’t have that pure total love that I need to have for her.
But, when I forgive her, I am set free. As such, I can give my wife all my love, unhampered, pure and whole. That’s what she deserves from me; just because she’s mine.

You see, every time I do this “not yet spring housecleaning” I give our marriage a chance to start all over again. Since there’s nothing negative in my heart, I can concentrate on her positive qualities. I can love her for being who she is, not be irritated at her for not being who she isn’t. I can overlook things, love her in spite of those little quirks that we all have, and most importantly, be the husband that I need to be. What about you?

Oh, one more little thing. Once you’ve done your housecleaning, how about helping her do hers? Don’t try and teach her how to do it, just go to her and ask her forgiveness for anything you’ve done in the last year, which has either hurt or offended her. Let her make that decision to forgive, so that her heart can be clean as well.

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