I love my bathroom! It’s pink and it’s pretty. Some of my favorite pictures of the girl are hanging in there. It’s very “Teri” so to speak. When I go in there to get ready for my day, I smile.
In no way is it the “perfect bathroom” … It’s smallish, lacks counter space, and has lovely tan tile circa 1968 (walls, shower, floor … lots of tan tile!). The tub is not a big garden tub with a pretty chandelier hanging above it. The lighting isn’t great. The window is painted shut.
But, I love it! I love the color on the walls. I love the basket that holds all the goodies needed by a 30-something mom and a 9-year-old daughter … everything from Satin Hands to American Girl sparkle lotion. We have it all. Baskets of hair accessories, containers of brushes and combs, pretty candles and containers of body butter and …
A moldy shower curtain liner. A gross, falling apart, moldy shower curtain liner. The thing is – that doesn’t show. So, does it really matter?
Somehow I get caught up in this kind of thinking spiritually sometimes. People look at me and see a pastor’s wife who knows Scripture and supports her husband’s ministry. They see a mother who is faithful to pray for and with her child. They see a crisis pregnancy center volunteer and Bible study teacher. They see a list-making, menu-following, generally organized person who enjoys spending time studying.
And I confess it’s easy sometimes to “believe my own press” and forget about all those moldy linings in my life that others don’t see.
Others never see the battle in my mind … the struggle I have to keep my thoughts pure and blameless before God. Hidden from them is the envy that colors how I treat others. Covered up by public eloquence are all the private times when I speak from anger and hatefulness. Oh, there are many hidden moldy places in my life.
I often find myself reading in James about obedience …
And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself. For it you just listen and don’t obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but don’t nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God’s perfect law – the law that sets you free – and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for it. (1:22-25, NLT, emphasis added)
Far too often, I treat my spiritual life the same way I do my bathroom. I do a quick sweep but never really clean. I just pull the pretty shower curtain closed and hide the moldy liner … and I walk away from the mirror unchanged.
It’s a lot of work to take down that liner and soak it in the bleach then let it air dry and rehang it. It’s a lot easier to close the curtain. So much like my life. It’s a lot of work to take thoughts captive, to be intentional about kindness, and to speak only words that build up. It’s easier to be a pretty Christian in public and neglect the private work that must be done to be clean. Henri Nouwen said, “Setting our hearts on something involves not only serious aspiration but also strong determination. A spiritual life requires human effort.” (from Making All Things New)
I find myself aspiring often but not so frequently determined. And it the determination that takes care of the things that are unseen to others but visible to God.
Today, I’m feeling a little moldy. What about you?
Do you have areas look pretty but are just covering up the mold beneath?
Are you walking away from the mirror of God’s Word unchanged?
Why? What steps do you need to take to clean up the mold?
What stops you?
image source: canstockphoto.com