Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Selah

Now it's time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.
Acts 3:19-20  
The Message 

Keeping a kitchen clean while cooking for a household of 10 people is no easy task, particularly with twin toddlers using food substances as frisbies and confetti and balls and other projectiles. I often end my day the way I often start it--in the kitchen, scrubbing away at something, stepping on crumbs and shoving things in cabinets.

There is a job in the kitchen no one in my house seems to relish, a job which members of the household will go to great lengths to avoid. That would be taking out the trash. I often find trash items precariously balanced on top of an already-full trash receptacle, empty egg cartons teetering on top of milk jugs on top of spent coffee filters on top of dirty paper towels. It's like a Jenga game of sorts--the last one who can't create the next level of the trash house-of-cards will have to be the one to finally empty the trash.

In my cleaning of the kitchen, I often in frustration avoid taking out the trash myself. It's late, I'm tired, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself that no one seems to care enough about my sleep needs to just empty the trash for me, already. But if I'm thinking, if I really want to put a little zip in my clean-up, I can do a magic thing...I can simply take out the trash. I can put a fresh bag in the can. I can quit thinking about the teetering mess in the corner and with renewed vigor get to the kitchen tasks ahead of me.

And so it is in the rest of my life.

I sometimes avoid taking out the trash of my sin. I'm pretty sorry for it, but I just let it kind of pile up in the corner of my soul. I set about my other spiritual tasks, busy, busy, busy, but knowing the discards of my daily life sit moldering. Maybe it's because somewhere deep down, I don't think the items in my sin trash are all that bad. Maybe it's that I don't think there are any really noxious items in that pile. Maybe it's because I'm playing a spiritual game of Jenga, seeing how long I can keep the pile at bay before I have to gather it all up, take in its stench, reflect on its waste and be humbled again. But the mental fatigue of knowing it's sitting there tires me all the same.

There's only one person I know who is willing to take out my sin trash, take out debris that He didn't make. He stands around my heart's kitchen, watching me scrub the surfaces, watching me rearrange shelves. And the whole time He knows that the most important thing in keeping the rooms of my spirit clean is in diligently hauling my junk to the dumpster. So He patiently waits. He leans against the counter and listens to my self-pitying mumble. He lets me think that scrubbing and sweeping and rearranging and organizing are the thing. And finally, when the pile of trash gets too high, when the odor permeates over the scent of my candles, when the shine I've put on the appliances forces me to look myself square in the eye, He's there. And all I have to do is ask.

And He takes out the trash for me.

And He does it everytime.

And He shreds anything of my sin that would potentially steal my identity in Him.

And once He throws the garbage of my selfishness, my pride, my pettiness, my whining, my fear, my flesh, once He throws it all into a sea of forgetfulness, He forgets the mess of it all. On purpose.  Out of love.

And He steps back into the kitchen of my soul, leaning against the counter, listening to me talk to Him, smiling at my chatter, watching me enjoy the cleanness He has provided.


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