When We Find the Places Where Dust Collects

Growing up, I always wondered how my mom knew to clean all the random, obscure places I saw her dusting and washing. Dusty lightbulbs, for example, never crossed my mind.

It wasn't long after getting married and becoming a homemaker myself that I realized these obscure places all showed themselves eventually when Mom wasn't around to get to them first. I've found, and cleaned, dust on top of the oven vent and microwave, along the rim of the bathtub, on the hanging dining room lamp, in the crooks of the staircase spindles . . .

I've found that dust collects in other places, too—places like my heart.

That place, the heart, may seem really obscure, and hidden, but the reality is it's not really, because our hearts are more right-out-in-the-open than we realize, and laid bare to all that we see, read, hear, and think. All that we internalize, whether words on a page or songs on the radio or movies or conversations or thoughts we allow to run through our mind, it's all filtering through our hearts.

And dust collects, if we're not mindful.

The articles, songs, flicks, whispers, thoughts, gossip, half-truths, comparisons, language, content, and everything that does not quite associate with excellent or praiseworthy will all settle as a layer of dust. As inconsequential and harmless and fleeting as things may seem, the heart is fragile, vulnerable, wide open and never unaffected by what is unworthwhile, unnecessary, distracting, or impure. Cynicism settles upon compassion, worry upon peace, bitterness upon grace, anger upon patience, pride upon love.

Because no matter how microscopic, even dust has weight.

Dust collects, and our hearts grow calloused instead of Christlike. Instead of being salt and light and becoming conformed to His image, we become dull, desensitized to the Holy Spirit, and distant from the Heart we're supposed to have.

Sometimes, after dusting the lightbulbs, we have to examine our own hearts.

If dust has settled, we must choose to refocus, and clean. It will take more than a swipe of the feather duster; and there may be more dust than we realized. But the sure way to clean out the heart, and proactively keep it clean, is to focus our minds, time, and attention on Christ. Prayer works; reading the Bible and getting it stuck in your head, and hidden in your heart, helps; having someone to be accountable to helps. And, in my experience, the more our hearts are synced with Christ's, the less appealing anything of this world becomes, whether it be questionable movies, misleading books or articles, the latest gossip, or even character issues we've struggled with.

Because when we're piling on the things of Christ, and actively working to think on [excellent...] things, the things of this world won't settle on our hearts {not as easily, anyway}.

And God will have changeable hearts to mold more like His own.

. . . And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
      ~ Ephesians 2:24, The Message paraphrase [emphasis mine]

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