Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lessons learned

"If you can't see Christ all around you, then you generally don't see Him hardly anywhere in this sinful awful world. " from post "What to say?"

I've been at this long enough that I'm quoting myself now. That's something.
I go back and read past posts to remember things sometimes and ever since I reread that statement from my 9/25/06 post, it's been stuck in my head.

The past 5 days have been busy and at the same time amazing. I've learned a lot (that's my idea of a good time) and I was able to find a spiritual application to some of the mundane things I did. I wonder sometimes that maybe seeing God in everything makes things more superficial and less deep - I"d rather have 1 deep well, than 12 little pots - but that doesn't change the things I learned this week.

So brace yourself for a longwinded post.

I learned to think before I act.
Filling up the hot water heater in the new house, we noticed that even after the tank 'filled', water kept running. My dad and I went through the whole house (including peering underneath). Finally we discovered a moldy damp section of wall next to the laundry connections. Sooo, my dad whipped out his trusty utility knife (with my permission) and carved a 2'x2' hole in my wall. Finding nothing but very dry insulation, we later discovered that the pressure relief valve on the water heater was open. My dad flipped the switch and the water stopped running.
I wonder how many times in our lives we act and damage relationships when we need to just sit back and think on things for a minute.

I learned to ask ask ask.
My dad had taken time to explain every little doodad on the hot water heater EXCEPT that pressure relief valve. I'd thought about about asking him what it did but never did. I wouldn't have "Fix hole in wall" on my to do list right now if I had.

I learned that everything takes preparation.
I went to my new house Friday to paint. Everyone that talked to me that day knew I was going to go to the house and paint. When I got there though, I ended up pulling out a bunch of nails from the wall. Then I put some mud in the cracks and holes all throughout the two rooms I was working on. Then I did something else while it dried. Then I went back and sanded all the mud spots smooth. Then I had to wash the walls to get all the loose dust off. Then I had to take all the switch plates off. Then I had to put tape all around the edges. By the time I'd done all of this, it was too late at night and I had to return the next day to actually paint.
It was somewhere in this process that I realized God has done something similar to my life. God decided to make me a who knows what ( I haven't seen yet in His plan what my end result will be). So first He had to fill in some of the cracks in my life. Then the most difficult part came when He returned to sand away the rough edges left behind. He didn't just wake me up one day and make me what He wants me to be. But He worked, and worked, and worked and is still working today.

I learned that surface cleaning isn't enough.
My old house was generally clean enough. I swept and mopped the floors, vacuumed, and kept things generally picked up. It suffered randomly from what my brother calls "Flat surface syndrom" a condition whose symptoms consist of most flat surfaces suddenly being considered a shelf and having things stacked on it. But for the most part it was clean.
And then I moved my stuff.
Five years worth of dust and gunk was layered underneath my stove and fridge and other large appliances that don't move. It was utter filth. But you didn't see it before.
That made me think about how we clean our lives. An elder in the church may spend his whole life trying to weed out the sins in his heart, the sin of greed, lying, laziness, self-righteousness, pride, or jealousies. But he may never confess to God that he needs help to overcome his addiction to child pornography, or maybe his hate filled thoughts of how to physically hurt a neighbor. The big stuff in our lives stays covered up so that no one sees it. We don't even look at it ourselves. I want my heart to be clean. Not just superficially clean, not just clean to the eye of a casual observer, but deep down under every stick of furniture clean.

I learned that some burdens are a lot heavier than they look.
We were trying to move my piano and weren't making much progress. It's an electronic piano, so it looks as though it's just a cheap (but shiny) piece of plastic. It looked light. Between my sister-in-law and I, we managed to get it five feet to the door. Finally I walked next door and got a group of guys to come aid us. The first thing the main guy said after he got it into the van was, "That thing sure is a lot heavier than it looks!"
I agreed wholeheartedly.
But it made me think about some of the burdens we bear.
Teaching Sunday School to a group of kids doesn't seem like a heavy burden. But for me, it would be. Playing the piano for the song service, isn't a burden at all to me, but for some it would be quite a load.We look at peoples lives and we see some burdens, but what we don't see is the weight of them. For me, that lesson just cautioned me to be more careful. It warned me that I could think someones burden is light, and act upon that, and I might actually end up to be the straw that could break their back.

And last but not least.
I have learned to keep walking.
At 4am this morning I unloaded my last car load of stuff from the old house. As I walked to the front door carrying my load it occurred to me that everything necessary was going to get done one footstep at a time. When the load gets heavy or the project seems to be just too big, I just have to keep walking. Walking one step at a time gets me from room to room to room. With each and every step my house will come together.
In life, I'd rather go than stand still any day. So I struggle to remain positive when I have to stop and wait for the next sign from God as to what to do or where to go. So taking yet another step and moving to a brand new city, as a direct leading from God is wonderful for me. My wall didn't anticipate when all the prep work would be done and it could finally be painted, but this creation does look forward to each new step in the process where God gets closer and closer to His finished work in me.

1 comment:

One Sided said...

When you learn to learn from everyday circumstances is when you see God everywhere.