Friday, September 28, 2012

Ring it Out

This journey of recovery can be messy business.

Step 4: "We made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves."
"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." -Lamentations 3:40

As I take note of past hurts, harmful habits, and selfish hang-ups, I just keep digging up dirt. Skating through life pacified and numbed by my own pride and denial was much simpler ... in the short term. In an effort to surrender my life to the Lord for long-term, deep cleaning, I must continue to look for things about which to be brutally honest.

I feel like I'm constantly dealing with nasty mop water.

I get a section of my life cleaned up ... like mopping half a room. But then the water is disgusting. I have to dump it out and get new, fresh water. I must realize that the funk in the water is NOT on the floor anymore ... so it's a good thing. For now, the objective is not to have clean mop water  - the goal is a clean floor. The current objective is not a clean inventory chart. The goal is a disinfected life.

So I look for balance. I force myself to see the good along with the bad. I choose to believe the truth of forgiveness and mercy instead of the enemy's lies about shame and condemnation. I choose to live according to God's promises, and to commit each day to clean and holy living. Mop it up. Rinse it out. Dump it out. Fill it up.

Step 10: "We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."
"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!"  - 1 Corinthians 10:12

I remember my grandmother bragging one day that she had just mopped her floors and the water wasn't even dirty. Seriously. But let me tell you a few fun facts about her home.
  • No one ever wore shoes in her house. Ever.
  • Food was consumed at the kitchen bar or at the dining table.
  • Washable rugs covered 70% of her floor space.
So, no dirt in. All potential spills contained. Extra measures of safeguard against wear and tear.

No wonder her mop water was clear! How can I apply this principle to my life as I celebrate recovery?
  • Dirty influences and muddy temptations are checked at the door. No garbage in. No garbage out.
  • Set standard operating procedures that minimize a moral mess ... like keeping the computer in the family room, not having sugary snacks in the pantry, and keeping a gratitude journal.
  • Have trusted accountability in place so that when life becomes a wreck, partners can bear some of the burden, help keep things in perspective and preserve what's really important.
Thank You, God, for tools that bring discipline. Thank You for always calling me to mop; for mercifully dumping my dirty water "into the sea of forgetfulness" again and again; and for faithfully refilling my bucket with clean and pure water ... so I can keep answering Your call to mop.