I stood in the hallway of our "new" house, chatting to our lodger, staring around the still white-ish walls. It had been over a year since we moved in and so much has happened in those four walls - believe me you can tell! The white paint that was so perfect when we arrived is now marked and splattered with mud, chocolate and whatever else. There are cobwebs around the ceiling where I haven't bothered to find the time to clean as well as I should. The paintwork on the skirting boards is starting to flake, and all in all it is starting to look a little shabby round the edges.
Now this could be the start of my "nesting" urges and wanting to make the house perfect for when baby number 2 arrives. But it got me thinking. How easy is it to let good things turn a little shabby? I didn't intentionally want my nice new house to look worse for wear, and I tried to put into practice a weekly cleaning schedule so that everything would be clean and tidy and looked after, but even with that in place things have started to slip.
This definitely applies to my relationship with God. It is an amazing thing that I have been blessed with, and despite my best efforts to protect it and put things in place to look after it (such as dedicated quiet times, prayer journals, etc) I still sometimes end up with it looking a little shabby. I fall out of practice sometimes, or life just gets in the way, and I end up sitting on bed realising that I haven't spoken to my creator, father, saviour and friend for ages. Maybe that's just the way life works sometimes. So what can we do to stop it and start re-claiming that "newness"?
Well with my house it is simple - I just need to spend a little time, money and attention on it. I need to patch up the things that are looking shabby, paint over the brown patches on the wall, re-paint the skirting and generally love on my house a little bit!! Easily said, and not so very easily done when money and time are commodities that often run short in our household.
But how about with God? Well I think the same is true - we need to spend a little time, money and attention on Him. Every so often we need to do a review of how we are doing. Sit down and take the time out to chat to God about your relationship. Do you need to put in some new practices or ideas to help you get that quality time together? Do you need to buy a new prayer journal, bible or study guide to help you connect more with Him? Do you just need to put down your phone or ipad every now and then and just pay Him a bit more attention?!!!
I have had the privilege of attending a night school Leadership Academy Course at my church over the last academic year, and one of the main lessons I will be taking from it is that you can't lead anyone else in their relationship with God (whatever stage that might be) until you first learn to lead yourself well. My relationship was definitely looking on the shabby side, and after taking time to review it over the last year, I am putting in place things that will hopefully mean I can dedicate more time to God and lead myself well, so that I can then lead those under my care. How about you?