I know that I’m not the only person who experiences this: here I sit in my kitchen, enjoying the fact that it looks clean and at the same time feeling guilty because I haven’t scrubbed the floor in more than a week.
Where does all this guilt come from? It looks clean! So where does the nagging voice in my head come from that tells me that because I haven’t scrubbed it this week, it needs to be done, regardless of how it looks? I blame my mother. Doesn’t everyone? But I’m not so sure it is her fault. I grew up in an age of Palmolive and Tide and Ajax and Mr. Clean commercials. Someone was always telling us how wonderfully fresh a clean house (clothes, car, etc.) smelled and how good we would feel about it after it was all done.
My mother kept a clean house – well, as clean as possible considering that she had six kids and a husband. It wasn’t until most of the kids were grown and out of the house that she consented to a pet — a miniature poodle who didn’t shed and didn’t bark unless there was really something to bark about, and was completely house-trained in less than a week. We lived in a clean house which was kept that way by the constant cleaning hands of my mother and me and my three sisters. Forget the boys – they made messes, not cleaned them up!
I remember when I first moved out and got my own apartment how I let dirty clothes just pile up in the closet for a couple of weeks to the point the door wouldn’t shut. It felt so good not having anyone telling me to clean it up. My short spate of rebellion didn’t last, though, because I needed clean clothes. And I never really let the apartment get dirty after that. As it turns out, I liked it clean and neat and tidy. For some reason, looking at the mess just made me a bit unsettled so keeping everything tidy made for peaceful living for me. And I’ve been that way ever since. Even working full-time and raising kids and married and traveling for my job, my house has always been neat and tidy and clean (relatively) except for the closets where I stuff the things that I don’t know what to do with. (And the areas my husband inhabited!)
Today really isn’t any different than any other time in my life except for the fact that I have time now to actually consider whether or not to clean the floor. Always a Saturday morning habit in my life, it is now no longer a rule. I have broken free enough to let it slide past Saturday and into the next week if I want.
The guilt. What possible purpose does it serve except to make me think poorly of myself and irritable at the same time because I am not living up to some unrealistic standard I have created in my own mind. No one is telling me to clean it. No one has commented on how clean or unclean it is. No one has even noticed my floor. But still the GUILT!
And of course, that’s it. Guilt. A nuclear bomb in the devil’s arsenal of weapons to keep us focused on ourselves and our issues. It is particularly powerful at making us feel inferior to what the Word of God says we are.
How do I disarm this bomb? Is it possible to make it go away and not return? No, it isn’t. For as long as we live the devil will continue to harass and harangue us with his meager bag of tricks. So in order to disarm it I have to recognize it for what it is – a trick of the devil. I remember, too, that any weapon of the devil that is exposed to the light is disarmed. He may try to use the same weapon in a different way, but he will not use the same weapon in the same place and in the same way once we have exposed it to the light, because it will be completely ineffective.
Guilt is disarmed when we speak the Word of God over ourselves. When we pronounce out loud who we are and whose we are, our faith is increased and our outlook changes – and the enemy flees. This can be particularly powerful when done facing ourselves in a mirror.
I am a blood-bought child of the living God! Jesus Christ died for me and by His sacrifice I am free! No weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue that rises up against me in judgement I shall condemn – that includes you devil!
I am healed, I am delivered, and I am liberated by the BLOOD OF THE LAMB! HALLELUJAH!