Our Dirt
We all have dirt, and probably lots of it. Some of our dirt is shameful and some of its outright embarrassing. Maybe some of our dirt is immoral, unethical and possibly illegal. Maybe our dirt is choice that we made to short-sheet an employer, short-circuit a relationship or short-change a friend. It's possible that our dirt is a layered collection of lies, distortions and rationalizations that we rigorously fabricated in order to dump our dirt on someone else. Maybe our dirt has been carted along with us for years and years because we could never bring ourselves to deal with it. It's possible that our dirt is a betrayal or an abandonment of someone or something. Maybe it's a blatant rejection, or a wound that we intentionally inflicted.

Or it might be that our dirt is brand-spanking new; therefore we've either rushed in our panic to hide it, or we have no idea what to do with it so we walk around in it. It might be that our dirt isn't even something that we've done yet, but something that we plan to do. Maybe our dirt isn't about an action at all. Maybe it's about an attitude, about hating someone, or being jealous, or wishing ill for someone, or harboring a spirit of resentment. Maybe it's our unwillingness to forgive, or let go, or let the past be the past. Our dirt can be a whole bunch of different things, but its dirt.

Accountability – Saying "Yes, I Have Dirt"
Who wants to admit that they're dirty? More than that, who wants to admit how dirty their dirt really is? The hard truth is that some of our dirt is pathetic, putrid, rancid and raunchy. We've covered in some pretty reeking and outright foul stuff. Denying it doesn't remove it, and in no way does denial sweeten it. Placing blame and rationalizing and justifying doesn't change the reality of our dirt any more than cleaning with a dirty rag somehow makes us clean. As my father was fond of saying, "you can't put perfume on a pig." If we want to rid ourselves of dirt, we must admit to it . . . all of it.

Honesty – A Necessity for a Complete Cleaning
If we want a full cleaning, we can't do that in isolation, although we'd like to. Cleaning is a corporate activity. If we want an iridescently deep cleaning we can only scrub out the deepest dirt with the scouring pad of a repentant attitude. That means we confess our dirt to those we harmed. We confess the wrongs, the behaviors, the choices, the attitudes, the selfishness, the intent to harm, the greed . . . we fess up and we confess it. That's the scouring pad. Then we get on our hands and knees and we take the detergent of honesty and accountability and we clean. When we do that we will live with lightness, vigor and a freedom that we could not have imagined.

Cleaning Requires Maturity
We have a whole lot of people who walk around seeing themselves as shiny clean. We have this spit and polish attitude about ourselves. Yet, we're all dirty. Being dirty doesn't mean that we have to stay dirty. Being dirty doesn't mean that we're dirty people. It simply means that we're all fallen and that we all make mistakes. Bad choices are made in this world, and we make our fair share of them. Being accountable to our dirt and then rigorously cleaning it up allows the vibrancy and richness of our humanity to shine through and shine out. It maximizes who we are rather than forcing us to live a minimized life. It allows for a transparency where we can intersect others and be intersected. And in the end, it just feels plain good. So, how about a deep clean?

Copyright © Craig D. Lounsbrough, M.Div., Licensed Professional Counselor
All rights reserved. Used by permission.