During the mowing season, I clean up the dog poop in the backyard every week, because that’s part of my mowing preparation. When there’s snow on the ground, I obviously let it go. But we had an odd couple months when it was cool enough to deter the grass from growing but warm enough to be outside. That means that one day, I was outside playing with the dog and realized how much poop littered the back of the yard.
I picked up a month’s worth of poop. The bag just kept getting heavier and heavier. I bent over every few steps as I carefully stepped around the yard. It took a lot longer than usual, and it was a lot more messy and disgusting than usual.
Our dog doesn’t like it either. In fact, she gave me the first clue that cleanup was overdue. She tends to do her business in the same general area, but she doesn’t like the smell, so as she litters one area, she moves onto another. And she won’t follow me around while I’m cleaning up. It’s too dirty of a job for her. Plus, if I throw a toy anywhere close to a poop pile, she just leaves it. As much as she loves playing, she hates the smell of poop even more.
I don’t blame her.
As I walked around the yard, I thought about the importance of picking up the poop on a regular basis, so it doesn’t become a daunting, smelly task. Not unlike the stench of junk in our lives. When we ignore our problems, bad choices, and sin, we often just move to another area to avoid them as much as we can. We don’t like the smell and mess we create, yet we’re not willing to just clean up and enjoy the space again.
Call it what you want: repentance, confession, healing, growth, patterns. Take time on a regular basis for it. It will make your life a lot less smelly and disgusting. It might seem overwhelming right now, but start somewhere. If it doesn’t seem too overwhelming, don’t wait until it does.
Without intentional, regular attention and effort, your spiritual life will stink.