Clean Sweep

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- Jen Wise

By the end of each year I find myself longing for the next. Don’t get me wrong, my years aren’t necessarily bad… but the appeal of a fresh start is so strong that I find myself aching for it to arrive. 

Weeks in advance I purchase just the right day planner. I then sit down with my fresh, crisp planner and set a tone for the months to come. I follow suit with my wall calendar and iCalendar on my laptop and phone. I’m more than a little obsessive… but there is something so tantalizing about all that wide-open space. Those blank pages call to me, “Seize the day!” and I can’t stop myself.

In the early days of January I’m a whir of cleaning and freshening: putting away the Christmas decorations, straightening closets and wiping down every surface of the house. I want a fresh start and a clean sweep of our home gives me a sense of just that.

But if you really want a fresh start, this isn’t the only cleaning to be done

No matter the blessings and goodness that have come your way in the past year, there are always hurts and disappointments. As we’re ‘running three times a week’, ‘making time to volunteer’ or ‘learning to speak French’, we carry with us these un-dealt-with feelings and bitterness is taking root.

If you truly want a fresh start you need to make a clean sweep of your heart. 1 Peter 2:1 tells us, “So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.” If we’re honest, we could probably add a whole list of what needs to be swept from our hearts.

Now, we’re talking about a clean sweep, not sweeping emotions under the rug. To do this means engaging in the hard work of acknowledging your experience, facing your feelings with honesty and extending forgiveness. 

As you begin your juice fast, re-organize your attic or begin a weekly stint as a candy striper, be sure to prioritize a clean sweep and allow yourself the true fresh start that you’ve been longing for.