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COLUMN: Take inventory and embrace the mess

Rev. Tamara Vrooman, Assisting minister, City Hope Church, Utica
Posted 9/24/22

There’s something about Autumn that provokes in me a desire to clean. Like deep clean. Closets, baseboards, go through storage, reorganize and get rid of stuff.

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COLUMN: Take inventory and embrace the mess


There’s something about Autumn that provokes in me a desire to clean. Like deep clean. Closets, baseboards, go through storage, reorganize and get rid of stuff.

For me, it is an unplanned event initiated by something as simple as seeing fingerprints on the trim of a door that leads into moving all of the furniture in the room to scrub down every inch of trim. It feels so good to know that all of that trim is gleaming and dirt free!

That feeling only lasts a moment though as I survey the rest of the room and the mess I have made accessing all of that trim. Closets seem to leave an even greater trail of chaos. Digging into a closet space means pulling out all of the things we don’t use, don’t need, forgot we had, and what doesn’t belong in there.

The mess I end up creating in an effort to “clean” a space results in a disaster area indicating that there might have been a small explosion. I have found myself looking around at the mess and fighting off discouragement and the desire to just quit and put it all back. That’s not at all the result I want though, so I keep going.

At the end of the day (let’s just be honest, it will probably take ALL day) the reward of having a nicely organized space, knowing what’s in there and being able to access what we need is well worth the ugliness of the process. Why does cleaning have to be so messy?!

In the Bible, the process of refining precious metals, such as silver and gold, is referenced on multiple occasions as it relates to the maturity of the heart and the believer’s journey toward becoming more like Christ. In the refinement process, the metals are heated up forcing impurities to rise to the surface where they can be skimmed off. We can see this at work in our own lives as we encounter varying situations and circumstances and how we respond in those moments.

Most of us have gone through some very difficult seasons in our lives and, if you’re like me, our responses and how situations were handled was less than admirable.

Difficult situations have a way of drawing out the ugliness in our hearts and exposing attitudes and behaviors that we aren’t proud of. In an effort to protect ourselves we may try to keep shoving those undesirable reactions back below the surface or even feel like we have completely failed because we didn’t keep them in check.

Here’s the good news: the process of becoming more like Jesus happens when that junk surfaces! It’s only then that we can address it, repent, learn, grow and allow it to be removed.

My guess is that we would probably benefit from taking time on a regular basis to self-assess and do an inventory of the “closets” in our hearts and willingly embrace that mess so that Christ is glorified in us. “…so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1Peter 1:7 ESV


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