Lately, I'm literally in my house a lot more than I ever have been. Before I had kids, I worked a full-time job. And since having kids, nearly ten years ago, I've been busy with them. As of last month, I have a new set up called They Are In School Until 2 Every. Day.
So in my added time, I've been working harder at keeping my house clean. For many years, I had a bit of hired help, but I've been on my own for the last couple. A few days ago, I was cleaning in my son's bathroom, and noticed something I'd never seen before. There was a faint ring of grime inside his tub, like where the water level would be when full. In fact, it is more tangible than visible, gritty from hard water deposits, dirt, and soap residue.
I've never noticed it. And in that moment, I had a choice to make. Do I feel badly for not being cleaner, shaming myself for negligence? (What a tempting choice for this over-achiever!) Or do I choose grace for myself, knowing that God may very possibly be opening my eyes to this mess simply because I now have the resources to do something about it?
I was instantly aware of Jesus next to me in that moment. Smiling. Saying, "Guess what? This has been here. This dirt. Before, you had too much on your plate to tend to it, so I allowed you a blind spot. And now, since you have the space in your life to handle it, I've gently opened your eyes. Please take care of this new job, okay? Because now you have what it takes."
What grace, I tell you. What kindness to me. Seriously, do you see it? Isn't this the case for many, many other things that we encounter in life? It took this little thing in the bathroom for me to put the pieces together in the bigger picture, to realize this is going on all the time. God allows us blind spots, he covers our eyes to our dirt until He has lovingly, generously equipped us to handle the problem with success!
How do you think we would feel if God let us see everything we were failing at all at once? Can you imagine how overwhelmed we'd be by our sin and our limitations? I can hardly bear the weight of one thing at a time. My shame-meter wants to skyrocket over the bathtub grime. How much more would I feel crushed if He exposed every dark corner of my heart to me? I mean, we're ALL aware that there are closets of brokenness in us that we don't even know about, right? Unhealed injuries and wrong beliefs all awaiting their turns to be brought into His cleansing light...in His careful, appropriate and loving timing.
Two huge encouragements came out of this realization for me. One, that any challenge currently in my life is something God not only knows I can deal with, but has personally equipped me with the resources to succeed. It is agreeing with a lie of Satan to say, "I can't handle this!" or "I can't take it any more!" Those are beliefs our enemy would LOVE for us to agree with, because they are statements of defeat. Perhaps God is not necessarily making the circumstances easier for us because He expects us to lean on Him while we endure.
Second, I have been reminded that having blind spots is part of where God wants me to be. He is patient with my growth, not in any hurry to perfect me all in one week. That is grace, being lavished on my undeserving self every day. Can you imagine how my son or daughter would feel if I wrote out a long list documenting every area of their character and behavior that needed improvement? God would never parent us that way. He has me exactly where He wants me today, and He is fully in charge of where I am to be tomorrow. Who am I to rush ahead of His plans for my growth? Who am I to question how and when I should "be over" this thing or that thing?
The one phrase coming into my head all the time lately fits here as well: these things take time. And grace is happy to give it to us. Take some for yourself today too. It's free.