Saturday morning, I realized I'd forgotten the clothes. The telltale aroma wafted from behind the laundry closet doors, mingled with my percolating coffee. Gross. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I washed them again.
This time, I didn't forget the clothes. I sucked it up, folded the dry clothes, and then tossed in my wet load of laundry. I knew I probably wouldn't fold them right away, but that was okay; a few wrinkles never hurt a towel, right?
Unfortunately, my dryer only half completed the job. Evidently my Mom knows what she's doing when she splits up a load of wash to dry in two separate loads. This afternoon, I pulled out the clothes to fold them...only to find that they were still damp. Evidently I had overloaded my poor little dryer, and it just couldn't finished the job. Mildew grew and the odor returned. In the thirty-six hours since they entered the dryer, they experienced a brief period of activity (tumbling in the dryer)...and then they sat, growing nothing but mildew and foul smells. The entire load would have to be washed and dried again.
I realize that laundry is one of those never-done chores, but this was too much. As I tearfully loaded the clothes back into the wash (for the third time), I realized that I am that load of laundry.
I find myself sitting in the "dampness" of my own sin and selfishness. When I ignore it or just plain forget about it, it festers. When I fail to do something about it -- fail to run to the Word, or to Christ in prayer -- a foul smelling film of mildew grows over my heart. The only way to get rid of it is by allowing myself to be cleansed by my Savior. Just as the clothes can't clean themselves, I am powerless to cleanse myself of my own filth. But if I submit myself to His grace, He will make me fresh again.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me! Psalm 51:1-2, 10
So often I wonder why I have a wrong spirit -- why I'm frustrated, discouraged, or despairing. I wonder why my heart smells like mildew. I need Christ to give me a clean heart; then my spirit will be right! I need to allow Him to send my heart through the hot water spin cycle, and then tumble dry until I am clean and new...even if my heart laundry needs to be washed seventeen times a day.