Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: Are You "Spiritually Face-washing?"

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Are You "Spiritually Face-washing?"

     Last week, I had a huge pimple on my chin.  It was the kind of pimple that makes you wish you could bundle up in your thickest winter scarf and make a new fashion statement at the pool.  Alas, you would get many strange glances and, most likely: Heat stroke.
     While the size of the zit has greatly subsided, it now resembles a cut from a bad bicycle accident or  a fall on the sidewalk--  all appropriate, if I were a five year old daredevil off of training wheels.  In all honesty though, the whole experience has reminded me of a similarly embarrassing event when I was just six years old.
     We were on a family vacation in Sedona, Arizona during Spring Break.  I was a happy-go-lucky goofball, spending the week romping around the giant pool and hiking among the red rocks.  It was also the week of Easter, so the resort had a massive Easter egg hunt that blew my little mind.  The last night of our vacation, we were going to a fancy-- for a family with three young kids-- restaurant and I was elated to wear my new turquoise dress.  It was fringed with little beads and had swirls of neon green.  It was perfect.
     As we all got dressed, I went up to my mom for inspection.  After admiring my outfit, she noticed a little pimple on my chin.  "Why don't you go wash your face," she instructed.  I don't exactly remember what I was thinking, but I grabbed a washcloth and began vigorously scrubbing St. Ives Facial Scrub on my chin.  I scrubbed and scrubbed as hard as I could before emerging from the bathroom and meeting the family by the door.  What I had done all but horrified my parents: I had scoured my face to such extent that I was seriously bleeding, and not just from the area where the pimple was.  I vaguely remember my parents chuckling and assuring me it was ok, because I didn't give the incident a second thought after my initial panic.  We went to dinner and I had a great time.  But we also got a family picture taken that night-- one that was up in our living room for years-- and the evidence of my little "chin war" was as clear as day.
     Anyway, I was reminded of that this past week as I not only struggled with an equally stubborn zit, but also a struggle against the "need for perfection."  I so often get sucked into satan's lie that I have to put up walls, control my life and hide away my vulnerability.  I'll save you the trouble and let you know: It doesn't work.  Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.  Stand firm then and refuse to be bound again by a yoke of slavery."  (RELATED: Francis Chan at Passion 2014)
     That's exactly what perfectionism is: Another form of slavery, another bondage to hold us back from freedom in Christ.  Just like I scrubbed my face raw as a six year old with a little pimple, I scrub my sins with anger and vigor.  I try to wash it all away with my own anger and effort.  Maybe, when that doesn't work, I try to cover it up.  But Christ has already washed me-- us-- clean.  That's good news because we can't exactly scrub ourselves clean so he can't see it.  God loves us no matter how dirty and messed up we are!  As Romans 5:8 says, "While we were still sinners Christ died for us."  Period.  Not, "While we were still sinners Christ died for us, once he saw us cleaning ourselves up."  He is for us and He is making us His new creation, the more we submit and allow ourselves to be molded (RELATED: Book Review of Watchman Nee: Man of Suffering)
     If you struggle with perfectionism and your own spiritual "scouring," I hope this was a good reminder for you as it was for me.  God is with you and He infinitely loves you.  So put down the washcloth and just rest in knowing that your messy life is not too much for God to swoop in and restore.  All it takes is surrender, difficult but simple.
     What areas of your life have you been trying to scrub clean or cover up?  Go ahead and comment below.  If you're ready to address that pattern of sin, proclaim it.  And remember: I'd love to hear about it!

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