There are definitely roaches in my house.
Not like big ones, but roaches nonetheless.
I feel like it’s such a gross, dirty word.
I’ve gotten myself into the habit of cleaning my house when I feel like things in my life are not the way it should be. It’s like my go-to channel for making things seem like they are in my control. A clean, spotless space that smells of disinfectant, bleach, and glade.
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
I forget exactly where I remember hearing that phrase said, but for me, it has become something of a truth that has permeated my treatment of self and habitation. Where I am should be clean, spotless because it is a reflection of myself. Who I am as a person. I should also be clean. Pure. Somehow more godly. At least that was how I was raised …
Which is why finding a small roach in my drawer this morning was a little unsettling.
The fact that the little guy scurried away before I could grab him with a tissue and flush him down the toilet makes it even more of a problem because now I know that my room isn’t the perfect, tidy personal space that it should be. There is something living in it that for me, is unwelcome. Dirty. Unclean. Ungodly – whatever that word means to me now.
Because if cleanliness is next to godliness, then ungodliness is next to being unclean.
And that’s sort of how I’ve felt for a large portion of my life – unclean. Mainly I think, because of how I’ve come to define dirtiness and what it means to just not be clean.
Weakness, fear, insecurity, stress, worry, the sound of my voice, the way my body looks, acne, my height, my hair, my face, mistakes that I’ve made, a comment someone made, how someone may or may not have treated me, being rejected, not having something be the way I want it to be, not saying something I should have said, not acting when I should have, having done something that I regret, breaking a promise to myself, having sins …
Bits and pieces of dirt. Marks. Stains that I feel like won’t wash out because I’ve come to see them as such. They claw at my brain and make me react. Sweep. Dust. Mop. Wipe. Spray. Scrub. Wash. Repeat. And yet I know that the cycle is endless. There is no such thing as clean because cleanliness, just like godliness, is nothing but a state of mind.
What is unclean, dirty, ungodly, is what I decide it to be – nothing more, nothing less.
And I can spend my whole life continuing to sweep, dust, mop, wipe, spray, scrub, and wash out the unwanted things about myself day in and day out or I can decide to start learning to not be so obsessed over this notion of having to be clean. Pure. Spotless.
What is unclean does not have to be ungodly and what is godly is not always clean.
As individuals we have control over nothing but the way in which we choose to see things, and so in following, when we choose to see things differently, the things that we see around us slowly begin to change. Like the little roach from this morning …
They’re gross and dirty right?
But maybe they really aren’t so bad. I mean, I don’t have to like them, but why feel the need to attach these labels on them? They are what they are and they can’t really do anything about it. So why not see them as they are and leave it at that? They’re roaches. And this roach is in my house. Do I want him here? Maybe not. But then again, do I need him dead and down the toilet this instant? To be honest no. He’s fine where he’s at.
And so am I.