You know those people in life that you meet once and instantly know they are sincerely genuine and you can tell they love Jesus? Chelsea Grubbs is one of those people. I have the honor of introducing her today for her Pearl Press debut, and I couldn't be more excited for you to hear her heart today. Chelsea and I met in college in Springfield, Missouri. She lived three doors down and we didn't really know each other existed until our spring semester of our freshmen year. We became suite mates for the rest of college, and we Chelsea became my sister, confidant, prayer warrior, best friend, and so much more. She is married to a wonderful man, Aaron, and they live in a gorgeous home (that he built by hand) in the country side of beautiful Heber Springs, Arkansas. Aaron is a man of many trades, and Chelsea just passed her NCLEX to be a registered nurse. They are some of the most genuine, hilarious, loving, driven, and servant minded people that I know. If you know her then you also must likely know her love for cleanliness (which is why she is perfect to share with us today). Without further ado, meet Chelsea Grubbs on this March Spring Cleaning edition.

I'm obsessed with cleaning. I can tell you I have already done at least three 'spring cleanings' this year. It could have a little to do with my OCD nature, but for the most part, I get this odd high off of cleaning, removing, decluttering, minimizing, streamlining, you name it, it's my kryptonite. You know that feeling when you really kill it at the gym, for all of you fitness enthusiast, or when you nail that test you have spent weeks prepping of, yah that's me when I walk into the container store or the moment I can close a door to a bedroom knowing that is the final step to cleaning completion. I told you, the OCD is a little extreme. But in all seriousness, there is something in the process of evaluating and deciding whether something should stay or go that is liberating; when you can step back and see that you now have a cleaner, neater, much more organized space. It's as if you can breathe deeper, you can see better, you can think clearer. Seems all positive, right?

Well, even after presenting the pros of my addiction, there is a HUGE CON that is worth bringing to the forefront... I am fearful of the dirt. I know, now what you expected, right? I have anxiety over disorganization, of having too much and it bot being put away in its perfect little cubby. I am consumed with the horrible thought of ever having a dirty, unpresentable home for the whole world to see. Of course, this sounds vain and probably ridiculous, but isn't that how we often react in our spiritual lives too? We either hide the dirt or become so engrossed with attempting to change the unsightly, we drive ourselves to exhaustion (and believe me, it is EXHAUSTING). Your day once again ends in disappointment and you lose all confidence that you will ever be the 'fruitful' wife or 'godly' leader that you once felt was possible. ugh....

Let me back up a little bit. First of all, I absolutely believe spring cleaning is necessary, phsyically and spiritually. It's healthy! It's a practical tool to help us grow and reevaluate our mind, actions, and attitudes! But when I wake up everyday consumed with the thought that my blinds could have possibly collected more dust over the last 12 hours (which really happens) or that my response to my husband was once again lacking in love and patience, I miss that moment that God is speaking His grace and gentleness over me. Instead of trusting in His faithfulness and strength, I lean on my own understanding and collapse in discouragement and dissatisfaction. I have somehow taken it upon myself to be my own judge and call the shots on whether I am good enough.

So how do I learn to present myself to God, cluttered, dirty, messy? How can I face a holy God? For even Isaiah (64:4) says,  "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Let's take a look back into our history and answer the question of even our existence. What was God's purpose in even creating human beings? Obviously, when we look at the first couple chapters of Genesis we see a beautiful and perfect relationship between God and man, but what happens after sin entered the world and wedged separation between man and his Creator? Well lots happened, of course! A pretty rough cycle of redemption and sin seemed to be a common theme. However, even in the disobedience and ugliness of rejection and sin, God continued to pursue his people. He was constantly reminding them of their purpose and His promises. Joshua 21:45 says,

God not only was faithful in pursuit, but He also took pleasure in His people, meaning we were created to please Him, to praise Him, to glorify His name! The psalmist describes it as (Psalm 149:4),

So God takes pleasure in His creation, but there is a second part to the story. Even though God's people could present to Him a sacrifice of praise, something had to happen in order to restore that separation. We needed an atonement for our uncleanliness and dirty hearts. Well, isn't that why He sent His Son? To be able to take this unclean thing, this incomplete, imperfect human being and transform us into HIS same image with ever-increasing glory?

Yes! Absolutely a thousand times over! It is what His Word says! Isaiah speaks powerfully when he says, "Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored and I love you." WHAT! You were worth Him trading another's life! He calls you precious, honored, and loved! So when I am busy trying to scrub off my ugliness, He says, you are precious to me, I love you, stop trying to perfect yourself, when wholeness can only come through relationship with Me.

So I leave you with this... YES, it is absolutely essential to do some evaluating and white glove checks in our lives, but be careful to not scrub so hard that you find yourself rubbed raw and stripped of the confidence that God desires to commune with you and meet you where you are in every moment of your day. He did one thorough cleaning and wiped away ALL of our sins, leaving no shame or guilt, just unconditional love. Remember, you are precious, honored, and loved by the Creator!

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