Friday, April 25, 2014

Discipline & Madness

No one likes to feel vulnerable. When you come right down to it, no one likes to admit weakness. This goes against our cultural mores. Heck, being "strong" is as big an idol as it gets.

Most of us are painfully aware of our weaknesses--or perceived weaknesses.   
After all, we could calculate quite accurately how much time, energy, money, and resources we expend on covering them up.

There are all sorts of weakness: physical, mental, spiritual. What if there were weaknesses that you carried that you weren't even aware existed? What if there were "blind spots" that affected relationships, hindered growth, marred effort? 

Moving into our new home a few weeks ago, the figurative door cracked open and a tiny, blinding sliver if light was shed on one such blind spot in my life. 

Since we closed a week before moving, I took several carloads to our new house in an effort to minimize the work on Big Move day. We are blessed that some of our closest friends here in PA & some from VA were willing and able to spend the better part of a day hauling our stuff from our old home to our new one.

But I gotta be honest. I was also busting my A to conceal the untidiness of my old home: you know, the dust bunnies and loose toys; the broken hangers long forgotten under the bed, the who-knows-how-old goldfish beneath the couch cushions; the wreck that was the floor beneath my washer and dryer. 

The idea of allowing anyone to see all that stressed me out, kept me up late worrying. But the more I tried to plan and execute cleaning-while-moving-so-my-friends-don't-think-I'm-a-filthy-slob, leading up to that day, the more I'd be thwarted by other, more important tasks. 

My sometimes-unyielding pursuit of perfection (or my idea of perfection) is quickly becoming clear to me.  Before this moment, I would never have called what I aspired to, "perfection." What am I doing? Why is it I feel I have to put on a good show for people? Why do I feel like things have to be perfect?

I have this thing with clean. I am almost certain it is a thing that begins in the soul. I want the stains wiped clean, the trash removed, the smells purged. I want my soul-stains (read: my sins) wiped clean, removed, purged. And outwardly, I tend to get a little manic in my efforts to clean my space. I don't want anyone to think me dirty, smelly, unkempt. And for others to know my deep soul-mess? Perish the thought.

But God knows. Oh, He knows. Isn't that why He sent His son? Because my soul was too tarnished for me to ever remove the dross? Somewhere in my soul, wrestling with perfection is my own human self trying to do what I never, ever could. Jesus removed that muck in my heart by His work on the cross and I can't do it; won't ever be able.

So there is this ongoing learning process...I find myself in situations that make me quite uncomfortable. But the unease clears out what I can't see or want to hide. All correction is painful for a time but it will yield the peace of righteousness...(Hebrews 12:11)

Who doesn't have a mess of dust bunnies under their couch when they move? We all have mess; inside and out. God cleaned me on the inside. Isn't that what we celebrated last Sunday? Praise His name!

On the outside, I am learning to be tempered in my efforts. I don't live in a museum and not a soul I know expects that of me. As for my "blind spots," despite the uneasiness I feel when I encounter them, I will continue to ask God to show them to me. I need to live under the sometimes blinding light that is His truth. I need to see with my spiritual eyes. 

If I seek to become more like Jesus, I need to get rid of all that hinders me:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..."

I have been washed clean by blood, of all things. It's time to set aside my pursuit of the impossible, practically and spiritually. 

As for my blind spots, if the lasting peace of righteousness is what I trade for the temporary "peace" of keeping those spots dark, then let that Glory light shine on me. 

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."