Monday, July 25, 2011

All or Nothing

I have this weird OCD thing about cleaning floors. It feels like it isn't even worth it to bother if I can't do it perfectly. As in--get to every little spot including under the furniture. When I sweep and mop my kitchen, I have to get every single chair out of there first, and even then it bothers me that the table legs are kind of in the way. Isn't that stupid? I mean, they take up about a square inch each. So weird. And the same with vacuuming. I don't do this, because it would be really silly, but my preference would be to move every single piece of furniture completely out of the room, vacuum every inch, and then put it all back. I have no idea why this is a thing with me. I'm not a neat freak. My house gets really messy sometimes, and in general I'm ok with that when we have a million other things going on. But when it does come time to get it cleaned up, I'm pretty much incapable of "half-way doing it." It's weird. I know.

But as I was noticing today what a mess my kitchen floor was and thinking to myself, "I'll just clean it tomorrow when I can take the time to do it right," it made me stop and wonder if this isn't indicative of how many of us treat our spiritual lives. I really wonder. Do we hesitate to surrender anything simply because we somehow believe we're not quite ready to surrender all? Do we give nothing because we don't want to give as much as we can or should? Do we refuse to clean up any part of "our act" because we know we aren't willing to be refined in all areas? Hmm.

Here's the thing. . . . The "all or nothing" mentality as it relates to our spiritual lives is dangerous, dangerous territory. Seems like this only allows for 2 outcomes, neither of which centers on the gospel. Either we never arrive at being able to surrender/give/clean up "all," so we continue to surrender/give/clean up nothing (certainly this is not a way to live or experience the gospel), OR we *think* we have gotten to the point of doing all of those things exacty as we should, in which case we are relying on our own strength and therefore likely don't understand how desperately we need the gospel. No good either way.

Ironically, it's only by bringing our marginal commitments and the tiniest fractions of surrender that our limited humanness can muster that we even begin to understand what that "all" really looks like. And even more ironic is that the more we are affected by the gospel, i.e. the more we draw close to Christ and allow him to mold and change us and alter our behavior, the more we realize how far we are from ever achieving "all" within our own strength. BUT there must be a first step to every path that leads us closer to something, right? So then isn't one tiny step better than waiting until we think we can go ahead and span the entire gap in one leap? (Hint: that's never gonna happen, yo.)

SO--I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes I need to relax and just sweep or wipe up a small spill even when I think it would be better to scrub the whole entire floor. And many times we all need to take one small step in the right direction toward Christ and his wide open arms and love-saturated eyes even when we know it would be better to take 2 steps or 10 steps. The bottom line is that one step is better than none. Especially if it becomes a habit. One step a day gets us 7 steps closer every week. Let's get started. We'll be 152 steps closer to Christ by his birthday. I'm thinking he might like that gift. :-D

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