Soul Scrubbing Hacks
By Marlene Houk
“And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.” 1 Samuel 1:18
Like Christopher Robin in a Winnie-the-Pooh episode called “Cleanliness Is Next to Impossible,” I encountered the evil Crud when spring cleaning for my friend’s arrival.
Sinister canisters of bathroom cleaner and dishwasher tablets—not good for her small children—lurked behind kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Kidnapped by mounds of filing on my writing desk, corners filled with orphaned items, and reams of paper, I still hoped the threat of Crud would pass.
Christopher Robin’s friends rescued him from the clutches of Crud. Like the story, my daughter rescued me from the never-ending tasks of cleaning and straightening. Finally, their bedroom was fresh and lovely, and, like his mother said, “clean as a whistle”. Sore muscles underscored satisfaction and contentment, and we rested, waiting for our friends ‘arrival.
My spring cleaning project reminded me that my soul needed extra polishing and scrubbing. Sometimes my mind shoved unbiblical thoughts under the bed of my daily life. And they began to take a life of their own. Thoughts covered with dark doubt and discouragement and smelling suspiciously of earthly thinking needed disinfecting by God’s Word. Often, I forgot to wash the windows of my soul with worship music or restore order to my jumbled life by reading my Bible, having a godly conversation, and praying.
Hannah, little Samuel’s mother, offers wisdom for spring cleaning our souls in 1 Samuel chapter one. Her infertility had distracted her worship and focus on the Lord. And Peninnah, her rival, a second wife, provoked her sore about it. Hannah’s life was a mess even though she was loved by her prominent husband.
Hannah’s story offers three tips for spring cleaning our souls.
- Know what type of cleaning products to use for our souls.
- Use them effectively.
- Allow them to change our perspective.
Hannah knew that she needed to set aside a committed time to pray specifically to cleanse her soul of bitterness. I find it noteworthy that God requires many words to basically say that she went to church to pray. (In the KJV version, the total experience takes about 273 words to tell.) We need to make our soul’s spring cleaning a special event like Hannah. As my preparation for guests suggested, I needed to reach underneath and behind discouragement, a sense of failure, and the enemy’s lies, and wash away the limits of negative emotions. I needed to take time to wipe away anything ungodly. As Hannah’s serene face shined when she finished praying, my chaotic feelings would vanish, and hope rise when I “take it to the Lord in prayer” as the old song says.
How do you know when you’ve accomplished spring cleaning for your soul? Like Hannah, we can resume a regular life, unencumbered by a smudged soul that blurs God’s perspective. We can relax after the hard work of returning our souls to being “clean as a whistle” and enjoy the presence of the Lord as never before.
And, like Christopher Robin’s friends, Tigger and Piglet, companions in our own faith journey can help with cleanup. Not only will we enjoy a new life with Christ to a greater extent, but we also influence others to join us!
The next time you wash and scrub, think about Hannah’s advice for freshening up your soul with a little extra spring cleaning:
- Set aside special time to pray.
- Pray specifically.
- Allow yourself to look at your situation from God’s perspective and be at peace.
Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at Bible167@gmail.com
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