Here it is…. (Um, Mom? Are you reading this? You better shut your eyes. This will horrify you.)
Ugh. The laundry. Piles and piles of clean laundry. I just can’t seem to catch up!
Now, I’m the type of person who actually enjoys scrubbing and vacuuming and dusting (it gives me a sense of order amid the chaos, I think). But for some reason, I can’t stand doing the laundry. Oh, I don’t mind the washing and drying part. It’s the folding and hanging and putting-up part that I keep putting off. And the more I put it off, the more overflowing baskets of clean clothes I keep hiding in my closet. (“Out of sight, out of mind,” right?)
So when my in-laws came to visit this weekend, our house was sparkling clean, but my bedroom closet was crammed full with my secret stash of laundry baskets. And truth be told, on any given day when you come over to our house, even if the main rooms are clean, I’m probably hiding at least a couple of baskets of clean clothes in our closet.
Of course, my mother raised me much better than this. And she has repeatedly shared with me her cheery laundry tip: “If you just wash and fold a load of laundry every day, it won’t pile up!”
That usually lasts about a week. Maybe less. Then I’m back to my usual “stash the clean laundry in the closet” routine. (Hey, at least it’s clean. We just have to go laundry-basket diving for outfits and matching socks…)
I think one of the most frustrating parts of the laundry is that it is never done. Never. Even on the days when I resolutely fold and hang and fold and hang until every last pair of socks and jeans are properly tucked away in dressers and closets… it’s only a couple of hours before the kids toss that day’s dirty outfits and towels back into my heretofore pristine laundry sorter.
It’s just too much work, I sometimes think. So I put it off. And the more I put it off, the more it piles up…
Years ago, the teacher in my Community Bible Study group also lamented the never-endingness of her laundry. The mother of teenage sons, she described her laundry room as a perpetual pile of stinky socks and athletic gear—just when she was ready to celebrate being caught up, in came another pile of dirty clothes. I was a young mother of a toddler and an infant at the time (and still amazed at how much laundry two tiny children could generate!), and I commiserated with the teacher as she shared her disdain of this interminable chore. Ah, a kindred spirit!
And then she said something I will never forget. “It’s the same way with confessing our sins to the Lord,” she gently pointed out. “We’re never quite done. Just when we think we’ve come clean before God and repented of all our sins, we turn around and realize that we’ve sinned again. And again. And the more we put off confession, the more our sin piles up and becomes a barrier to us hearing from God and experiencing His presence in our lives.”
Now, God's Word is clear: He has already forgiven all my sins. All of my sins were future sins when His Son, Jesus, bore them on Calvary (Isaiah 53:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21). And God judged all my sin once and for all at the Cross (Hebrews 9:14).
But when I confess my sin to God--agreeing with Him that I have missed the mark--I experience His forgiveness and grace and mercy anew. And in the act of acknowledging my weakness and leaning on His strength, I come to know Him in a deeper, sweeter way.
So I’ve made up my mind: tonight, I will finally tackle the terrible tower of laundry that is taking over our living room.
And while I’m folding towels and hanging T-shirts, I’m going to pray through the things I need to come clean about before the Lord. Because nothing is better than a clear conscience and a restored communion with the One who created us and longs to have an intimate, ongoing, personal presence in our lives—unhindered by the “dirty laundry” of sin.
(Though finally getting rid of this pile of clothes might be a close second.)
* * *
When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
—Psalm 32:3–5 NLT