Here in Japan one of the traditions at the beginning of a new year is to do a thorough housecleaning. I guess it’s kind of an “in with the new, out with the old” kind of thing. Seems like a good way to start the year, so this year I decided I should do that.
In addition to my semi-regular vacuuming, dusting and such, I cleaned out my closets, sorted through papers, books and other clutter; sorted, filed and threw a lot of stuff out. It’s amazing how much junk one can accumulate over the course of one year. I still had boxes from when I moved here that hadn’t been thrown out. With only a year till I move again, it almost seems silly to throw them out, but they’ve been sitting out on my balcony in the weather, so they were getting to be in pretty rough shape.
Have you ever noticed (or is it just me?) that when you do a good housecleaning, you’re extra careful to keep things neat and clean? You notice every speck of dust or lint, you don’t let stuff pile up on your desk, and you’re careful not to make a mess when you’re cooking… At least, for the first few days. But it doesn’t take long before you start to slack off (or, again, is it just me?). The dishes and papers pile up, there’s a layer of dust collecting, and before you know there are a tumbleweed-sized dust bunnies rolling through the room.
I think we’re the same with New Year’s resolutions, too, aren’t we? We vow that this year will be different, we make pledges to ourselves to do things differently, and we start off on the right foot… but before long, we lose our footing and fall right back into the same old ruts. We do this not just at New Year’s time, but any time we try to make a fresh start… in our own strength.
I’m feeling pretty good about how this year is starting off. There are definitely some things I’m planning to do differently. I think I’m off on the right foot, too. And I’m praying for grace to follow through.