e’ve been doing quite a lot of work on the house, lately; kind of an extended spring cleaning. The grass that went in four weeks ago is doing really well and – according to the instructions I’m carefully following – I get to mow it for the first time next week. It’s amazing how much better the entire place looks when you exchange dirt for a nice, hairy, green lawn.
Additionally, we pressure-washed the exterior, including porch, driveway, sidewalks and gutters. The truth is, you don’t really notice how grimy something is until after it’s cleaned. All that, plus a lot of mulch and a punch-list of minor repairs, and I don’t think the place has ever looked better.
WORTH THE EFFORT: We started this process around a month ago, and here’s what we’ve noticed. It’s not only easier to keep a house looking really nice once we make the initial effort, it actually facilitates more enjoyment across the board.
- In my study, writing comes more naturally in a comfortable, well-organized space;
- In the kitchen, cooking and doing dishes is less of a chore when everything looks so good;
- It’s more peaceful to drink coffee in a clean porch;
- And down time is more relaxing when the family room isn’t crying for someone to put stuff away.
In other words, the whole cycle of “Fall behind, feel bad about it, bust your butt playing catch up, immediately commence to let things slip, then fall behind again…” compromises not only appearance, but comfort and enjoyment too.
Sometimes I really do need a big “catch-up” event, such as a retreat or an unusually powerful worship experience. But devotion that is practiced every day is more powerful still, and moving into closer proximity to God is not so unusual when seeking God’s presence is a regular event, and reading God’s word involves more clarity and understanding when I camp out there on a regular basis….
What I’m continually learning (across the board) is this strong relationship between intentional practice and a more vibrant experience of life. It’s the same idea when I’m gardening, taking care of our home, playing my guitar, nurturing a relationship, or being a follower of the Way of Jesus. If anything is going to mean anything at all in the long run, then what I care about is going to require investment, nurture, and daily attention.
Your teachings are wonderful,
and I respect them all.
Understanding your word
to the minds
of ordinary people.
I honestly want to know
everything you teach.
Think about me and be kind,
just as you are to everyone
who loves your name.
Keep your promise
and don’t let me stumble
or let sin control my life.
Protect me from abuse,
so I can obey your laws.
Smile on me, your servant,
and teach me your laws.
When anyone disobeys you,
my eyes overflow with tears. (Psalm 119)
In this life-charged life, sometimes the process and the result can be essentially the same thing - DEREK