How to Clean a Messy Room

My room looks amazing. The floors are clear, my desk is organized, and my closet is arranged in (almost) perfect order.

It could not look more beautiful.

Three hours later…

I need to clean my room.

Three more hours later…

Why isn’t it still clean?

Three more hours later…

This is hopeless.

I couldn’t pass up such a wonderful analogy.


Except our “rooms” are our Christian lives.

We get frustrated with our Christian lives.

Our frustration goes something like this:

“Wow! I’m on fire for Christ. I could do anything for Him. I love Him so much. I just want to serve Him and please Him. He’s going to be first in my life from now on.”

Three hours later…

“I need to rededicate my life to Christ again.”

Three more hours later…

“Why can’t I do anything right?”

Three more hours later….

“This is hopeless.”

We are on one crazy cycle that we’ve placed ourselves on. Christ’s instructions are simple—love your neighbor (and your enemy), be patient and kind to others, respect authorities, etc. We make the Christian life so messy and complicated.

I’ve found myself in this very cycle. I feel hopeless and like I’ll never get it right.

Picture this for a moment: Getting up at 6:00 every morning, praying and studying the Bible for an hour, singing praise songs for 30 minutes, and memorizing a chapter of Scripture. At night, you spend two more hours praying, studying the Bible, worshiping, reviewing your memorized Scripture, and writing in a journal.

Oh, wait. I forgot to mention that no one has a life like this.

The Christian circle says this is what a devoted Christian looks like. We’ve created a picture of a strong, obedient Christian that no one has time to be. No wonder we feel like failures.

People always talk about how busy they are and how hectic their lives are and how they’re behind on work and how they always feel tired. You rarely hear people talk about being relaxed and having loads of time to kill. Most people don’t have a lot of time to have a quiet time. But maybe if we didn’t spend three hours online or two hours watching TV or an hour on Instagram, then we would have time to give Christ.

I am totally criticizing myself here. If I added up the time I spend online and instead spent that time doing devotions, I’d be in my room for at least an hour (and sometimes 3 or 4 hours) every day. I would probably be so in love with Jesus that you wouldn’t be able to tell who I was.

This is the dream. This is the goal. This is the seemingly unattainable hope for every Christian, including myself.

After saying that I want to fall in love with Christ for years and not feeling very in love and yet still being in love with the Internet, I feel hopeless. After feeling far from Christ and feeling like my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling back into my lap and yet being able to talk to my friends and text them with pleasure, I feel frustrated.

Refer to the cycle above.

Believers begin the Christian walk hopeful and exhilarated. We have high ideals. And then the next day, we fail. We give up. We fall deeper into sin. And then the process starts again.

This is a vicious cycle.

The ideals we have for ourselves are not realistic. You can’t be deep in sin one day and totally in love with Christ the next. This relationship takes time.

A dating relationship takes time. “Love at first sight” isn’t realistic. You fall in love with a person as you get to know them and discover who they are. This is the same with Christ.

Christ can have a perfect relationship because He is perfect, but we aren’t. We’re fallen and thus take a long time to realize and appreciate and grow from the love Christ has given us.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. But be hard enough on yourself. There is a balance.

You should not be in living in sin.

However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and elementary principles, to which you want to be enslaved all over again? (Galatians 4:8-9 NASB)

Why do we turn back to sin? Why do we keep running on this cycle? Here are three main reasons why we get stuck in sin:

  1. We set our ideals too high. We’re never going to be perfect, and it takes time to go from feeling trapped in sin to feeling free in Christ. A firm, dependent relationship with God takes a long time to develop, and it never stops developing.
  2. Sin is comfortable. It just is. Sin is fun, inviting, and attractive. Nothing can change these facts. Lying is easy, gossiping is natural, and skipping quiet time is fun.
  3. We give up when we fail. When we fall into a certain sin again, we condemn ourselves and criticize ourselves. We give up trying because we feel like we’ll never get it right (and with that attitude, we won’t).

This messy room won’t clean itself up. We need to be dependent upon God, but He won’t make our choices for us. Stop putting yourself in a box that says a good follower of Christ spends three hours a day praying, reading God’s Word, and worshiping. Stop setting goals that just won’t happen because we live in a fallen (and busy) world. Start small and work your way up.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.(1 Peter 1:14-16 NASB)

Your messy room can be cleaned up over time, but it won’t stay clean. It will get dirty. Realize this fact now before you get yourself all in a tizzy. Simply try to be holy. Try to be obedient. You won’t get it right every time.

Be dependent on God, set realistic expectations for yourself, and maybe in three hours, your room will still look clean.

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