Cold Water and Blazing Sun

It is amazing how frigid pool water makes 95+ degree weather seem almost mild.

Knowing the temperatures will be soaring into triple digits in the next few days, I had Matt fill up the kiddie pool over lunch so we could take a dip this afternoon. After thoroughly applying sunscreen on each of us, Lauren shrieked with delight as we headed outside.

A shock of freezing water awaited our toes as we gingerly stepped in. Well, I should say Jackson and I carefully stepped into the pool. Lauren went all out, blazing right into the water with as much splashing as possible. Knowing the cold water wouldn’t be so bad once my body adjusted, I eventually sat down, going through several phases to get there so I wouldn’t have to take it all at once.

"Sun in the sky...

Temperatures will be close to or exceeding 100 through the weekend

As the kids splashed and played, I thought it really didn’t seem that hot. The sun was shining brightly, and I could feel its warmth on my shoulders, but surely it wasn’t in the mid-90s.

That’s what cold, cold water does for you. It numbs you to the heat. It tricks you into thinking that you can stay outside longer than you should, counteracting the hot air and your better judgment.

Aren’t Satan’s tactics the same? He knows how to tap into our rational nature, and numb us to the danger of sin. Satan is a master of deception and encourages us to push the boundaries. He uses cold water to take the edge off the fiery sun of temptation with which he intends to burn our witness. And as we are in the middle of the experience, it just doesn’t seems so bad because our senses are blocked from the danger.

It’s only later that we realize our skin is sensitive to the touch. As the night wears on, the burn begins to show more clearly.

How can we avoid this predicament?

  1. Avoid the danger all together
    If you know that you are sensitive to a particular temptation, avoid it. Period. Follow the example of Joseph. When his boss’ wife threw herself at him, he ran. He didn’t stop and assess the situation, he got out of there as fast as he could. (Read Joseph’s story)
  2. Use the right sunscreen, and apply liberally
    If the danger is unavoidable, or God is calling you to be a part of a situation in which you will encounter this temptation, preparation is key. You must be in God’s Word daily, making the time to connect your heart with Christ in prayer. Guzzling His living water is a requirement. Then, when you are exposed to the danger, you will know the right actions to take, and more importantly, who to turn to for protection. Consider Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They loved the Lord with all their heart, and when they were challenged to bow to the King’s idol or die, they refused to dishonor God. They were thrown into a fiery furnace, and God Himself showed up and saved them from certain death. (Learn more about this miracle)
  3. Set limits and stick to them
    Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. Let Him set your boundaries. Don’t make it your goal to see how close you can get to danger without getting hurt; make it your priority to be as close as possible to God. Remember James 4:7 – resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Stand with God, and obey Him completely.

As we are all now relaxing in our air-conditioned house after our fun in the sun, the kids and I are just a little pink. Thankfully, our 50 SPF sunscreen did its job.

Chinks

I am behind.

For the last week I’ve been feeling my patience run dry, my voice raise louder and my frustration levels rise higher more quickly than usual. These symptoms have been compounding each passing day, along with urges of negativity, apathy and escapism.

As I was trying to catch up with dishes after lunch today, while keeping Jackson and Lauren from fighting so as to avoid the inevitable onslaught of unnecessarily dramatic tears and screams, the house finally grew quiet. That is partly because Jackson had been sequestered into the reading room and Lauren was lingering in the living room. Either way, they weren’t pestering each other, and the house was at last below recommended decibel ratings.

I flipped on the dishwasher, glad to be done with the chore, and went to peak in on the kids. Jackson was engrossed in a book. I walked through the kitchen and turned the corner into the living room, and Lauren was splashing in an enormous puddle on the floor. She looked up at me, with a huge grin on her face (and no hint of “uh-oh, I did something wrong”), and picked up Jackson’s water bottle she had found, showing me her achievement. You could see her diaper expanding out of her soaked shorts.

Lauren sitting in a puddle of her own making in the living room

We’ve all had these kinds of days (or weeks, or months or…) If fact, just now, while my son is supposed to be napping, he calls me from the bathroom where he is sitting on the toilet playing with a sticker book. Of course, what I see first is the toothpaste smeared all over the mirror for no apparent reason.

When I discovered Lauren splashing her pudgy little hands in her self-made puddle, I knew I needed to get things together. The level of chaos in the house was starting to get out of control. And just as I was formulating my battle plan, God let me know that the chaos in my own heart is what I needed to let Him get under control.

You see, God helped me to see today where there are chinks in my armor that have become footholds for Satan to use to tempt me into losing my patience, overreacting to situations and dwelling in frustration. Instead of reverting to my favorite (and comfortable) position of control, I need to put my own Sunday School lesson into action and yield control to my Commander and Savior. I need His armor and His strength to raise up His shield of faith to withstand the fiery arrows of the Devil. Too often as Christians we have this inaccurate notion that the shoes of the gospel of peace are purposed only to bring God’s Good News to others. Today, God showed me that I need His gospel of peace just as much now as I did when I first began my relationship with Him.

So, yes, I am behind on many, many things. There are toys strewn throughout the house, I could Swiffer every day and there would still be dog hair on the floor, laundry is never ending and in an hour I will begin making dinner yet again.

But, instead of those to-do’s, I am sitting here letting God work on me as I write. The Holy Spirit reminds me to “Be strong in the Lord” and that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Now, with His peace and in His presence, I’m going to tackle the laundry.