It’s finally spring and with the thrill of opening the windows on that first warm day comes spring cleaning. The latest craze in organization calls for people to rid their homes of objects that don’t “spark joy.” But even if something causes us to feel joy it doesn’t mean that it’s good for us. Earthly joy isn’t what we’re seeking. Instead, clean out your home based on a few of the Ten Commandments.
The First Commandment tells us: “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange Gods before me.”
One example of how this can apply to spring cleaning is to rethink how much you truly need those electronics that you or your children have become addicted to. How much time is spent with these devices that could be spent focused on God and doing what he is calling you to do?
What about any collections of material items that are in your home or a seemingly endless number of shoes? Consider packing up anything that takes so much of your time and attention that it’s become a form of worship.
The Sixth Commandment is: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
While this is often viewed as a commandment to not cheat on your spouse, it can also apply to living a more chaste life including to dress modestly. Reconsider the clothing in your closet. Check your children’s closets as well to make sure everyone is dressing in a way that is respectful of themselves and others. And if there is any inappropriate material in your home from movies to music to magazines, trash it.
Next, look the Ninth Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”
Ask yourself if you are holding onto pieces of past romantic relationships. It might feel nice to reminisce but if you’re married, it isn’t good for your relationship with your spouse.
Clear your life and home of any old memory boxes and anything that may tempt you to inappropriately think of others whether they be people you dated or those whom you have an attraction to.
The Second Commandment states: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”
While we follow this rule by avoiding cursing or speaking disrespectfully of God, we can also look around our homes and ask ourselves how much we are doing to honor God. Do we have religious items that remind us to pray? Do we have images of Mary or Jesus that refocus us and allow us to remember who we are and that earthly possessions aren’t what matter most?
Reconsider your belongings in a more spiritually focused way and take note of whether you have made any spaces for God. We can pray anywhere, but to have a room, a table, or a corner that is completely devoted to prayer time and free of life’s distractions, could make a big difference in your spiritual life and how much of your day you devote to prayer.
The word Lent comes from an old English word meaning spring, so as we await Easter, let’s focus on not only cleaning our homes but cleaning our souls in the process. It isn’t bad or wrong to own things that bring us joy, but that joy should be rooted in God rather than sin. Each day presents new opportunities to draw ourselves closer to God, to find more time to pray, and to rid our lives of temptations to sin.