I recently heard an expression “sweep the corners” and now I notice every single spec of dirt in every corner of my house. As It turns out that fancy robot vacuum doesn’t get the corners, it requires focused attention, and wow did the corners of my house need some attention! I assaulted them with the broom I had to find, and when I was almost done, my heart was pricked and that still small voice:
“Now, what about those corners in your heart?”
Welcome to the brain of a non–fiction writer.
I grabbed my pen, Bible and journal and headed out to my hammock that has served more as a woodshed lately. Staring into the sky, I remembered the last time that still small voice prompted something big as I laid in that hammock on a spring day in 2020. My pandemic panic prompted a question: “what now, God?” and the Wednesdays With Watson podcast was born. However, on this day, God was asking the question and I understood the connection between my question and His. I feel the responsibility of getting behind that microphone, probably more than I could ever articulate. I began to go to the places in my heart I assumed were cleaned with normal heart keeping, thinking those areas were well tended. I was wrong. My heart was dirty, my daily robotic attempts of confessing sin had failed, very much like that robot vacuum in my house.
You know what isn’t fun? Sweeping out the dark corners of your heart.
Names, faces, places and circumstances played like a film strip in my mind. I wrote down the names of people I needed to forgive and was shocked at the length of that list. I vacillated between thinking those corners weren’t dirty to thinking they were King David kind of dirty, Psalm 51 kind of dirty, Bathsheba kind of dirty. I found the familiar scripture:
V7: “purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean, wash me and I will be whiter than snow”
David was in a spot for sure and maybe his dirt filtered out of the corners and into his behavior- my heart sunk at that thought. As if on auto pilot I prayed the verse a Sunday school teacher taught me decades ago
V10: “create in me a clean heart, renew a right spirit within me”
It is easy to read a devotional, say a quick prayer and call myself of lover of Jesus, but in these precious exchanges, I understand the price Jesus paid so that I could sweep the corners of my heart with a simple prayer asking for a renewed spirit and forgiveness. The gravity of the ease of such a transaction rocks me to my core. I am so grateful that my best friend gave everything so that my heart could be clean.
David asked to be washed with hyssop, a bitter plant used for cleansing in that day. He understood that cleaning his heart was going to be painful, as the cleansing process almost always is. But he chose discomfort so that he could step into his familiar standing with God as a man after the father’s heart. I understand that my sin separates me from deep commune with the Star of my story, Jesus–Who is everything to me.
Sweeping is hard work, acknowledging the pile of dirt is usually of my own making is excruciating. But I will sweep on, because I am not called to be comfortable, I am called to be courageous and in these times, this new year, courage looks a lot like sweeping the corners of my heart.
Thank you, Jesus for cleansing me and making me whiter than snow. Please let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight. (Psalm 19:14)