I’m not sure when you are reading this, but as I am writing, it is the morning of Good Friday. My kids are home from school, I don’t have to work, and we have three days to enjoy together as a family. Coloring eggs, playing outside, eating a delicious feast with family and friends, hunting for eggs and baskets, and dressing up fancy for our church services.
This is also the weekend when we remember the gruesome death of our Savior, who suffered and died for us. There is this space between Friday and Sunday where death seemed to have won. The world is dark and can feel hopeless. But then Sunday comes and the great news of Jesus’ resurrection begins to spread. There is new life and new hope and new light in the world because our Savior lives.
Easter just happens to be perfectly timed with Spring in this part of the world. Winter usually seems to drag on forever in my area. It is dark and cold and gray. We are surrounded by dead leaves, dead flowers, dead grass, and filthy dirty snow that lasts for months. Most of the winter, the skies are filled with a perma-cloud, we rarely see gorgeous blue skies or the sunshine. But then Spring comes. The sun begins to shine again, the sky shows off it’s gorgeous blue, Spring rains start to fall, and ever so slowly green life begins to poke out of the ground. Until suddenly we look around and notice there is new life and new hope and new light. Spring has sprung.
This is why Spring cleaning is so popular. It’s like we all feel the urge to come alive again in the Spring. To get rid of the old and the dead and make way for the light and the life. We often think about Spring cleaning when it comes to our homes. We might throw open the windows, scrub the floors extra well, and purge all the excess to make things fresh and open and bright.
But I want to take some time today to consider what it might look like to do a full life Spring cleaning. To take a peek at all the areas of our lives and determine what things might need a little dusting, what aspects might need to be purged, and what areas could use some new life and hope.
Since it is Easter weekend, I think it’s best to start with our spiritual life. Consider your relationship with God right now. Has this season of life turned your attention away from your Savior? Do you regularly schedule the time to make God and your faith your priority or do the pressing matters of this life constantly pull you away?
Things to consider:
- Do you have a daily prayer and study time?
- Do you attend church with your family on a regular basis?
- Are you having conversations with your children about faith and God? (We use this devotional book.)
- Do you make it a priority to surround yourself with friends and a community of faith in a small group setting who would be willing and able to challenge you and discuss life with you?
- Are you giving your time, money, and talents to further God’s kingdom and the work He is doing in your community?
- Are there distractions in your life that are keeping you from trusting fully in God and serving Him in obedience?
Did you start the year with great big plans and goals for your exercise and eating and then it all fell apart as the cold days of winter set in? A friend of mine recently pointed out that the middle of winter is kind of the worst time to make these great big goals each New Year. It can be hard to stick with healthy eating and exercise when you’re surrounded by cold and dark and just want comfort and warmth. So take advantage of the new life and energy of Spring by recommitting to your wellness goals and give yourself a fresh start.
Emotional and Mental Wellbeing
Most people now recognize that Seasonal Affective Disorder and the Winter Blues are a real thing. Many people struggle with their mental health during the winter months far more than in the summer months. Now that the sun is shining and the birds are singing again, take some time to focus on your mental and emotional health to make sure you can handle all that life will bring in the months ahead.
Things to consider:
- Your thoughts. Do you know you don’t have to believe every thought that pops into your head? Did you know that you can control your thoughts and change them into more positive and powerful thoughts? Did you know that how you think affects everything else in your life?
- Your relationships. Sometimes there are toxic people in our lives that spew their toxicity all over us. It might be time to say goodbye to the toxic people around you. If you can’t cut the person out of your life entirely, learn to set up good boundaries in your relationship so that you are not harmed and affected by their poor decisions. You can also work on yourself to make sure you are not giving other people control over your thoughts and feelings.
- Your feelings. Negative feelings and emotions are not entirely bad. Without experiencing bad we would never be able to recognize and enjoy the good. However, if you are always feeling bad, it is time to work through the thoughts that are leading to these bad feelings to discover ways to overcome.
This is usually what we think of when we talk about Spring cleaning. Purge the clutter, clean the windows (or hire someone else to), and polish those floors. But the cleanliness of our homes is not the only part of our environment that could use some spring cleaning. Also, consider:
- Your work. Maybe you just need to clean your office or organize your files. Maybe you need to overhaul your schedule and delegate some tasks. Or maybe have a conversation with your employer about new expectations and challenges. Perhaps though, it might be time to completely revamp your work and find a new job. (Related: 5 Ways to Get Out of a Funk at Work)
- Your schedule. Are the kids in three too many activities? Are you ready to start serving in a different area of your church? Do you need to adjust the amount of time you spend on social media? Look through your calendar and your time commitments to see what needs to be spruced up.
Maybe you went a little overboard at Christmas and you’re still trying to recover. Or perhaps you thought you’d get a little more back from Uncle Sam, but instead, you owed money to the tax man. Maybe you did a little too much retail therapy over the long winter months and your bank account is looking rather bleak. Take some time to review your financial picture and make the necessary changes to get back on track with your goals. Create a budget, decide on some savings goals, and consider ways to give more. (For help check out this book.)
We are big homebodies in my house. We would much rather sit at home and relax together than go through the stress of trying to get out of the house and do things with other people. Especially in the winter, it is cold and I don’t want to put on four layers just to drive across town in the snow to meet up with some friends. But friendships and community are so important and they do take effort. As the weather begins to warm, be sure to intentionally begin to schedule the time to get together with other people. Host a backyard barbecue, plan for a girls’ night out, or just take a moment to have a good conversation with that neighbor next door. (Related: 5 Surprising Rules for Amazing Grown-Up Friendships and the Never Unfriended book).
Today’s Action Step – Spring Clean Your Life
This is a big list covering just about every area of life. But don’t get overwhelmed as you think about how to begin to spring clean your life. You’re probably doing well in some areas and not so well in the other areas. Figure out the specific part of your life that needs the most attention and begin there.
Just as Spring doesn’t just appear overnight, but instead is a slow and gradual process, give yourself the time and space necessary to make some gradual changes. Notice the little peaks of hope and change that begin to appear until suddenly you discover that your life feels fresh and new again.