While I’m on a blog break, please enjoy this post originally published in August 2008.

It never ceases to amaze me how my house, though clean when I leave for a trip, can be found with somewhat less “sparkle” when I return. During this last getaway, the only ones here were my daughter, who nannies 24/7 outside the house, and our little dog whose main pass-time is snoozing on the sofa. They weren’t messing things up; in fact, the dishes were put away and the counters were cleared. However, after a week without me in it, the house had a build up of dust on the furniture, the floors were in desperate need of a good cleaning and the mail and superfluous paper had stacked up to cover a corner of the kitchen. Add to that the laundry that we lugged home with us, and my Monday shaped up to be a roll-up-my-sleeves-and-get-down-to-business kind of day.

As I was dusting, it occurred to me that my heart seemed a little “dusty” and unsettled, too. I’ll be completely honest with you and tell you that I did not crack open my Bible during the entire trip. That’s very unlike me. I usually always have my quiet time, even when on vacation. However, this trip we slept in and, even when I woke up earlier than my husband, the balcony outside where I could’ve read without disturbing him was just a little too chilly. Even my prayer time was on the cursory side. It was more about lifting up periodic shouts of thanks, than a concerted time of prayer.
“It was only a week”, you might be thinking. And you’d be right. It was only a week. The world has not come to an end and my walk with God has not been derailed. But, let me tell you what a difference one week can make.
In my house, in addition to the dust and the dirty floors, we had an invasion of ants. If I had been home, and going about my normal daily chores, I would’ve noticed the ants coming into our bathroom and gotten something done about them before it was a full-blown infestation. But, since my chores were basically being neglected, the ants came right on in and, seeing that the coast was clear, sent word back to LEGIONS of their friends.
On a personal note, I was dog-tired and expecting instantaneous sleep last night; instead, I tossed and turned with fits of unexpected anxiety (the first in a long time, even before our trip). All of the projects and responsibilities that are looming over the next few months suddenly crowded together in my mind, fighting each other for top billing in the floor show in my brain: “Worries on Parade”. There was a heckler in the crowd that kept throwing cheap shots at me.
“There no way you’ll ever get all this done.”

“You have nothing valuable to say to that group. You’ll make a fool of yourself.”

“Why in the world did you ever think you could pull that function together? Maybe you should try to get out of it.”
My heart sped up with the stress of it all and felt overwhelmed at the mess and disarray. Then, it hit me. I hadn’t been dropping these worries at the Throne everyday, like I usually do. I hadn’t been putting on my armor to fight the evil-doer. In fact, without my daily disciplines, what could’ve been stopped the moment it started, turned into a full heart-invasion from that terrible pest, the enemy.
While the problems of one week of neglect are not usually paramount and, like a dirty house, can usually be put back together easily, they should be taken as a warning to get back to your daily disciplines quickly. Since I’ve had the misfortune in the past of seeing the more difficult devastation wrought by two weeks, a month, and more (you, too?), I’m more determined than ever to get back on track.
My dryer is buzzing with the last load. Bathrooms are clean, floors mopped, furniture dusted. Exterminator is on the docket for the ant problem. I’ve also done my heart-cleaning for the day and swept my worries into a pile at the feet of it’s Keeper. Things are getting back to where they should be.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 (Amplified)