About 20 years ago, my wife ran across a lady who helped people get their houses clean and in order. She was known as the “Fly Lady.” Her basic premise was to get your kitchen sink spotless and shining, and then work almost fanatically to keep it that way — even if the rest of your house was a disaster. Slowly, you would then work out from your kitchen sink to the rest of the kitchen and then extend it to the whole house.
This was actually a good method. We had two small children and life was busy and chaotic. While my wife might say that our house was never clean, that was just her perfectionist coming out! She actually did a phenomenal job of maintaining our house. I would try to do my part, but I confess I was not nearly as much help as I should have been!
Fast forward to today. We are on the verge of being emptynesters, we have a grandson, my wife completed graduate school and is a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and our house is pretty clean.
After more than a decade of leading a church we planted, I found myself stuck. I knew the church wasn’t going to make it much longer, and I had no idea what to do about it. Fortunately, God stepped in and brought some old friends back into my life who were looking to start a church close by. We ended up merging our efforts, and I handed the “reins” of the church I was leading over so that we could move forward together as a team. We are now rebuilding the church I originally started and launching a new congregation in Powell.
Everything I thought I knew about myself and my leadership abilities had been stripped away and laid bare. I was not a rock star. All my expectations for success were shattered, and I was left staring into the chaos of my life feeling like a complete failure.
My “house” was a mess, and I didn’t know where to start.
So, I decided to start by cleaning the kitchen sink. The only problem was that I wasn’t sure what part of my life was the equivalent of the kitchen sink!
The kitchen sink is usually the center of activity. When I am cooking, I am constantly rinsing a pot, washing my hands, or measuring out a cup of water for the recipe. After dinner, the sink is central for washing dishes and getting dishrags wet for wiping down the table and counter. Throughout the day, every snack, glass of water or hand-washing passes through or near the kitchen sink. It is the source of clean water (hot and cold) as well as portal for most liquids to exit the house.
In my life, my relationship with Jesus is the kitchen sink. It is at the center of everything I do. With everything else going on around me, the best way to get back on track was to start with cleaning the sink … to focus on keeping my connection with Christ as firm as possible. And so I started there. I’m still working on the sink, but I now feel like I’m making progress.
If you feel like your life is getting messy and out of control, identify your kitchen sink and start there. I would suggest that your kitchen sink is connected to your soul. Work on getting that area of your life “cleaned up” and see how the rest of your life falls in place.
Rev. Jason Allison is pastor of spiritual formation at Press Church in Powell. For information, go to www.presschurch.tv.