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Spring Cleaning For Soul - Refreshed And Renewed -

By AYANNA CLARKE

Imagine yourself standing in a room that has just been cleaned. Somehow the air is fresher, the light seems brighter, and you get to imagine possibilities.

This is what our Spring cleaning series has been about. There are some areas in our lives that could use a bit of shifting, a bit of rearranging - if you have none of those areas, then congratulations - you're among a very low percentage of the extremely successful in almost every area.

But for the rest of us, my mind goes to Ezekiel 36:26: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you..."

After our intense introspection, and sincere attempts to change, we are promised that anything unusable for this season will be taken away and we will be given a refreshed heart and a new mindset to embrace all that God has for us in 2018.

I'm excited to embrace all the good things that God has for me, and doubly for all those who have gone through this series with me. Bit by bit, you will see yourself becoming the person God always intended you to be; with no more fear in exploring your greatness; no more intimidation in having that greatness showcased.

Of course, it is here that we must pause and note that a renewed mindset and a refreshed outlook does not negate the challenges that will arise on a daily basis. But it's with our rejuvenated spirits that we face each obstacle. I like to think of it as the 'ask' method.

Matthew 7:7-8 says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

Now that we have refreshed and rejuvenated ourselves, we must begin to look at everything we face - the triumphs and the tests - with a different mindset. We must use the tools of 'ask':

Assessment - Look at the problem carefully; before taking one step in any direction analyse each issue objectively. Sometimes we have the tendency of speaking or reacting before all facts are known. Assessing the whole situation gives you a better viewpoint from which to move or act.

Synthesis - Once you have looked at the problem as a whole, you are better able to group together steps toward solving whatever the circumstance is. Not that you don't know what steps to take, but a strategic and organised outline of priorities will give you a good point from which to start, as you resolve the issue at hand.

Knowledge- After assessing and synthesising your priorities in order to move, you must also add prior knowledge to your plan. One thing that keeps us from moving ahead successfully is attempting the same thing habitually even though we have prior knowledge that it has not worked in the past. Your knowledge base is vast and can be used to teach what to do and what not to do in order to secure a positive outcome.

Spring cleaning has been all about careful consideration of outlook - our perception of life and ourselves:

Beds - Relationships that support and protect us

Closets - Hidden things that we must change

Floors - The foundations of our choices and decisions

After Spring cleaning, we are compelled to look at our lives from a different perspective. Old ways of doing things are gone and we have a new and wonderful launching pad from which to begin the rest of the year. Additionally, we can now see the year for what it is - a season of endless possibilities to pursue and embrace.

God bless you this week!

• Ayanna Clarke is a psalmist, singer and author, who has recently released the inspirational book "In the Hands of the Potter".

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