Pool season has begun! It’s time to get outside and soak up the sun. It’s a time for me to get on a float and…well…, float! It’s a time to breathe. There’s something about relaxing. It truly does a body good! Before I can get to the place of relaxation the pool has to be cleaned. It’s a job I’m not looking forward to but the end results will make it all worth it. We didn’t cover the pool when the season ended last year, so you can only imagine how gross it was. We did not maintain it at all during the off-season. Whenever I would walk past it I never really looked in it, I just glanced at it. If we had company and a comment was made on the green water, I would jokingly say, “We are still celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!” That got a few laughs and the focus off the pool. One early morning, I took a look into the pool. I didn’t glance this time, I really looked. The green wasn’t quite as thick (only because my husband had started putting chemicals in it a couple of days earlier). This time I could see the “trash” that had settled on the bottom. It wasn’t stirred up; it was dormant. It was just perfectly content being undisturbed on the bottom. I knew I was going to have to get into the “not-quite-as-thick” green water. Yuck! I was NOT looking forward to that at all. The very thought of the water touching my skin gave me the hibby-jibbies! But to thoroughly clean the pool it meant that I had to get in. Slowly, very slowly, I put one foot in at a time. I dreaded the “bottom-of-the-pool-trash” waking up. As long as I could keep the trash asleep, the better I felt about getting in. Waking it up was not going to be fun. I didn’t know if I could contain it. There was just no other way. Hopefully, the trash that remained on the bottom could easily be vacuumed out. Surely I could handle that. Surely it would be easy. Once I was completely in and totally grossed out, the trash awakened. As long as it was asleep it didn’t look quite as bad. Now that it was awake, I could no longer see the bottom of the pool! It was awful! The “not-quite-as-thick” green water became “oh-my-word-it’s-so-gross” green water! And I am in the middle of it! What once seemed like a sleeping kitty had awakened to become a roaring lion!! It was overwhelming. I was overwhelmed! How was I going to get this clean? I could feel panic rising in me. I stood there trying to wrap my mind around what I needed to do. If only we had put a cover over the pool to guard it from the trash getting in. If only we had kept it clean since we didn’t keep it covered. “If only…” I had a choice to make. I could stand there with my “If only” or I could ask the Lord for strength. His strength to be able to endure cleaning this mess. While I was chest deep in all that gunk I started thinking about the heart. I could see the similarities between the two. If the heart is not guarded (covered) then all of the world’s trash can get in. Only the Lord can clean the heart. There have been times that the “trash” in my heart was asleep. All it took was one incident, any incident, to wake it up. And then it became like a roaring lion. While it was asleep, I felt as if I was okay. Unless I had paid attention, I could easily forget that it was there. Other times, I would simply tip-toe around it so that I wouldn’t wake it up. I didn’t want to disturb it. I didn’t want to deal with it. I didn’t know what it would reveal about me. The enemy wants the trash to stay in our heart. He wants it to sleep there as long as possible. As long as it is there, our hearts are never clean. True joy (like getting to float in a clean pool!) cannot be experienced. Freedom will be unreachable. Fear of waking the roaring lion keeps us in chains to it. In order to allow the cleansing we first have to confess that the trash is there. (“Lord, I cannot live this life anymore. This “sleeping trash” that I have been so content to keep has got to be removed. I have allowed it to stay far too long.”) Then we ask the Lord to step into our “oh-my-word-it’s-so-gross” green water and clean it. (“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 NKJV) Once the Lord starts cleaning, there is no telling what will be revealed. When the “trash” is awakened nothing will be hidden. We won’t like what we will see and it will even hurt, too. But it’s the only way to get rid of it. However, the end results will make it all worth it. Just like the pool needs daily maintaining, so does the heart. It’s important to not let either one get out of hand! In awe of Him~Vonda****Heavenly Father, thank You for Your cleansing power. Thank You for loving us enough to be willing to step into the thick green water of our hearts to make it clean. Father, please give us Your strength to maintain it on a daily basis. May we never become content with anything that is not of You. ~Amen