I love Pinterest. In fact, I'm pretty much an all around social media junkie. I can dwindle away countless hours in front of my computer screen or on my smartphone, liking statuses, pinning recipes I will never cook, and, yes, occasionally giggling at pictures of a grumpy cat or two. For the most part, it is an addiction I have to reign in, a time suck that could and should be spent doing something more productive. But it's not all mindless, time wasting fluffery. Sometimes you can use social media as a means to offer and receive encouragement, to share joy, to teach and to learn. To inspire and spread inspiration.
To this end I have a Pinterest board entitled "Motivation." For the most part it is filled with diet and exercise stuff, which is not necessarily a good thing for this overly body-conscious mama. But there is a smattering of pins on there that reach for a deeper kind of motivation. One is a lovely picture of a woman wading through a river with a simple prayer printed over it. It says, "Lord cleanse me of anything that breaks your heart."
I remember the day I saw it. I thought, "Wow," and repinned it. But I didn't pray it. Because that is a scary prayer and scary prayers... well... scare me. Despite what my love affair with running might suggest, I am not a masochist and that prayer is just asking for trouble. That is a prayer you should not pray unless you really, really mean it.
I've been cleansed from a lot in my life. I remember when I was first saved I memorized Psalm 51 which says in verse 7, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." There was a lot of purging to be done then. God really had to wring me out and, unfortunately, I didn't learn my lesson. I went back to most of if not all of my bad habits, and had to ask Him to do it AGAIN many years later. I was a glutton for punishment, apparently.
Because to cleanse me, God had to break me down. He had to smash my heart into a million pieces so He could put it back together. He had to take a wrecking ball to my life, knock down every wall and strip me to the foundation. It wasn't fun. I am grateful for every excruciating moment of it since the final outcome was amazing and wonderful, but the process hurt. Like childbirth, the miracle that follows outweighs the pain that led up to it. Still, it doesn't change the fact that it hurt like hell.
So these days I do not intentionally sin. By that I mean, I don't set out purposefully to do things I know I shouldn't do. That is a vast improvement over my youth. Additionally, I pray. I read Scripture. I attend church. I even blog about my faith. So, I'm good, right? That should be enough. I'll just hang out right here, thank you.
Unfortunately, it doesn't really work that way. I mean, it could, if you want to live a life of mediocrity or, as Thoreau would put it, "quiet desperation." But I don't want to. I know an extraordinarily awesome life is available through faith in Christ Jesus and I want it. I have experienced a taste of kingdom living and it has given me a hunger and a thirst for righteousness that outweighs my human desire for comfort. Sri Ramakrishna cautioned, "Do not seek enlightenment unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond." Well, at the risk of sounded too terribly corny, I'm on fire!
So a few weeks ago, I did it. Right in the middle of my morning prayer time I uttered the words "cleanse me of anything that breaks your heart." And I meant it. Meant it so much that I was immediately frightened and added a quick codicil. "But, please, be gentle."
What happened next is best summed up by yet another quote in this already quotation heavy blog post (but I can't resist). As Margo famously said in All About Eve, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." Holy freaking heck. If this is gentle, I don't want to know what rough feels like. (Really, God, I don't.) Apparently there is a still a lot of junk in my heart that breaks God's and He is drawing it out piece by piece, carving it out of me with a spoon and cauterizing the wound that is left behind. I'm surviving, singing my praise songs, smiling through it while I feed and nurture this family, but let me tell you... it hurts! On most days it's a good hurt, like the burn in your muscles that lets you know your workout is effective, but pain nonetheless. And I have a feeling that I'm only at about a seven and God is going to dial it up all the way to ten before it's done.
The idea is both terrifying and elating. Terrifying for obvious reasons. Elating because, if I will endure it with faith and patience, rejoicing in every tribulation, at the end of it I will be more like Jesus. I will have more joy, know more love, feel more power than ever before. Things that used to defeat me will seem trivial and I will be better prepared for the next challenge that lies ahead. God is changing my perspective, opening up my eyes to see wonder all around me, showing me that there is so much more to this life than the things I have treasured more than Him. It's awesome... and unpleasant.
I had a hard night last night. I woke up this morning full of resentment over the lack I felt regarding things I need. I need a good night's sleep. I need some cash. I need some new clothes and new running shoes and large quantities of chocolate. I need five minutes in which one of my children doesn't need something from me. I need a break. This morning was headed in a bad direction.
So I read my devotional. And I decided to write this post. I'll admit; it is more for me than for you. To remind myself that I have all that I need. That I asked for sanctification and that is exactly what I'm getting. To call me back to gratitude for the blessings I have and joyful anticipation of the those that are to come. To call my heart to worship the One who breaks it, only to replace it with something newer, better and more amazing than anything I could have imagined.