Regrade my heart

Road regrade

Road regrade

When the dirt road out to our home becomes rough or washed out, a crew comes out to regrade. Equipment carves out the side and scrapes over new rock, clay, dirt and whatever else is in the ditches out into the road. Holes are evened out, low water trenches are reformed for better drainage, and washboard areas are smoothed.

Usually, a road regrade happens when I am in a hurry, such as a morning I am taking my son to school and we’ve pushed it to the last possible moment to make sure he’s in class on time. I buzz up my lane, ready to peal out on the road and speed into town, and instead have to put on the brakes and go 25 or less.

Though a regraded road helps the travel conditions in the long run and ensures the road stays in better shape, it also means a slower drive, a somewhat bumpier trip because of the new rock out on the road, and a high potential for a flat tire. The inconvenience (and frustration levels) increases when trying to drive while the road is being regraded, navigating around the large rocks and dirt piles in the middle of the path.

For the past several weeks, it has felt like God has been regrading my heart. And, I haven’t enjoyed it. It has been painful, messy, frustrating and completely inconvenient.

But, there God is, out with the heavy machinery, digging deep and scraping my heart to create a better, longer-lasting path than the one I was treading.

I wasn’t anticipating the regrade. In fact, so many wonderful spiritual breakthroughs were happening around me, spurring my heart to plow ahead in faith. The path was clear and milestones were being added. Now they are broken and scattered across the road, and my passion feels punctured and flat.

As God reshapes the road, I’m unable to see where the path leads. I feel more sensitive to bumps. I’ve had to slow down and navigate piles that weren’t there before. Part of me wants to let loose my impatience and frustration, especially with what I want cleared off the road instead of lodged right in the middle.

Maybe that’s the point. I’m not in control. I don’t dictate the path. God is, and God does. I must trust the expertise of the Road Crew. God knows me. And it is His road, not mine. He holds the future, and sees where the road must be reinforced, where flooding can be staved by deeper trenches, and how fresh dirt will improve conditions for further travel and growth, for me and for all who may follow.

Lord, scrape away me. Build your road, and let me be with you wherever that road leads.

Regrade my heart.

 

Car Wash

This is the "clean" version of my vehicle, after I wiped off the back window at the gas station last night.

This is the “clean” version of my vehicle, after I wiped off the back window at the gas station.

My vehicle is so dirty, people don’t want to even write “Wash me!” on the back window for fear a clump will land on their shoe.

It’s mud season in Missouri.

Combine melted snow and rain showers, and gunky mud/clay abounds out on our dirt road. It’s almost more dangerous to drive now than when there was a few inches of snow on the ground!

I’ve given up using my rear view mirror because no amount of washer fluid works on my back window, though the wipers have put forth a valiant effort. Every day I think, “I should really get a car wash,” but then I plow through the mud puddles into town and wonder what is the point of my vehicle only being clean until I drive back home.

I’ve settled into having a two-tone car, and it’s now become routine for me to lift my daughter in so she won’t have to climb on the dirt. Jackson is used to me reminding him to jump all the way in and don’t brush the side when we go anywhere!

I have quickly gotten used to the mess.

Satan loves to use the same trick when it comes to a person’s spiritual status quo. Sin slowly creeps into our lives until we are so covered with filth we have no idea how to start cleaning up the mess. We don’t recognize and attack the situation immediately, and before we know it we are coping. We are reworking life to accommodate the mess. We make excuses for the dirt. We justify the buildup. And then, it just seems easier to live with it than change.

In John chapter 7, Jesus proclaims to the crowds gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles that if they are thirsty, they should come to Him for living water.

On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.”

John 7:37-38

I believe that many, many Christians succumb to the spiritual clutter and dirt on their windows because of two things.

1. We forget that the Holy Spirit is living inside of us.

Most of us (it can’t be just me, right?!) do the most cleaning of our homes right before company arrives. When it’s just our family, cleanliness slides, toys remain scattered and dishes have a tendency to pile. No one is coming over to see the mess, so we just get by on the bare minimum housework and step over the pile.

If we really believed the Holy Spirit was with us, would we make the same decisions, cop an attitude with our spouse, yell at our kids or skip yet another morning devotion time?

Take this in deeply, believer: The Holy Spirit is with you, right now. The Holy Spirit is living inside of me, this very moment. The sheer magnitude of this fact must shape every aspect of our lives. God is WITH me and you.

2. It is our choice to remain thirsty and dirty.

Jesus proclaimed that when we believe in Jesus, we will have streams of living water flow from deep within us. When I am thirsty – when I have questions, am dehydrated by the pressures and difficulties of this life, and need direction – I can come and drink. When my life becomes dirty – I have made wrong choices, decided to do things my way, and dishonored God – I can come and be cleansed. I’m never without living water.

Then why do our lives lay stagnant and dry? Why are we living in the filth of sin?

Because we choose to.

We have streams of living water, God Himself, living inside of us.

What are we waiting for?

Dive into the clear refreshing waters of forgiveness. Drink deeply of His loving kindness. Let God wash away your sin.

It’s time for a car wash.