The last people that owned our house didn't do a great job of doing things right the first time, so every time we re-do a room, we have to scrape all the paint off the walls before we can proceed with making it beautiful. Chad and I scraped the hallway walls for two hours this morning. Oh man. My hands hurt.
Last night at Second Mile, Chad told the story of the game he plays in the pool with our kids. He tightly grips the pool ladder with one hand, then all four kids simultaneously try to rip his hand off the pole. The concentration Chad keeps astonishes me. The kids never win. Ever. Chad wouldn't have it. It will be interesting to see how much stubbornness will ooze from him as our kids age and grow in strength.
I played this game with the kids. Twice. The first time we played, I dominated. I rubbed their faces in it and told them I was too strong for their little spaghetti arms. (I'm such a nice mom.) The second time, it only took Esther and Kyle a few minutes to easily rip my hand off the swimming pool ladder. My hands ached both times I subjected myself to our silly family game.
During Chad's message last night, I realized I have a strong grip on a pretty shallow area in my life. Chad posed the question, "What idol in your life is God trying to topple?" Immediately an answer popped into my head. I even made an ick face. (Thankfully, Chad didn't notice because sometimes my facial expressions distract him, especially if they seem a little off from what he's talking about.)
Turns out this grip manifests itself in my thoughts when I'm alone, when I'm about to be with people, when I sit down for a meal, when I'm working out, when I watch tv, when I think about my age, when I process how I want my daughters to view themselves. And guess what...my spiritual hands hurt.
So here is the ugly truth. I'm talking about my appearance.
There. I said it. Isn't that ugly? And shallow? And shouldn't I be past the age where I obsess about my appearance?
Truth be told, I wasn't surprised by the revelation. You see, I'm getting older. My waist is getting thicker. My skin is doing strange things. My hair feels stringy. Clothes are annoying. Working out doesn't produce the same results that it used to. My joints are achy.
I had an extreme prophet thought that I should shave my head, wear the same outfit for a month, and fast from make-up and mirrors for as long as it takes to get over myself. Makes me chuckle just typing it out. An extreme outward response only promotes the issue, and more than likely wouldn't solve anything.
Isaiah 66:2 This is the one I esteem: He who is humble, contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Psalm 33:18-19 The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver us from death and keep us alive in the famine.
Jeremiah 9:22-23 This is what the Lord says, "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, or the strong man boast of his strength, or the rich man boast of his riches. But let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on the earth for in these I delight," declares the Lord.
I'm tired of my hands hurting from gripping this area of my life. I'm asking God to transform my heart and mind through the power of His word.
Heb 4:12-13 For the word of the Lord is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword, able to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
I pray we all think deeply about areas in our lives we need to surrender no matter how deep, shallow, shameful, or prideful.
My hands are already starting to feel better.