Dirty bathrooms and godliness
It is 10 minutes until we have to leave for church and I am on my hands and knees, scrubbing pee off of the bathroom floor with Lysol. I know that having a wonderful, vivacious dog necessitates a few bouts of domestic unpleasantness: dog hair on the couch, requiring frequent vacuuming; little bits of trash removed from the trashcan to be strewn across the living room floor in elegantly disheveled piles; and, of course, the occasional 'accidental' splash of pee on the downstairs bathroom floor (Excitement or malice? Still up for debate). In exchange for the pleasure of Dobby's singular company, I can live with these things, I know. If I don't obsesses on the details, if I focus on the 'big picture,' I can even convince myself that I don't really mind... too much.
But because it is 'today' and because I am 'me' (these are excuses, hence the " ' 's ") I am, to put it mildly, fuming. I keep thinking, 'why, why, why?!! Can't he hold it?! Really?!! Is it REALLY that hard let me know he needs to go outside?!' My angry is rising, like an exaggerated pressure gauge, spinning higher, and higher, until it's just barely touching the "DANGER" red zone. And then two highly unexpected things happen simultaneously:
Out of nowhere, I remember a section of a sermon by Matt Chandler where he discusses the dissonance between expectations and reality. He discussed how nothing ever turns out as good as we expect it will be. We wait to find love, and when we find it it's amazing! But then we're waiting for the glow of getting married; and then having our first child; and then hearing his first words... on and on, we jump, unsatisfied, from one event to another. Each time, we imagine over and over how perfect that moment will be, and each time, it's wonderful, it's exciting, but its not perfect. Thus, we are stuck in this endless loop of expectation and reality never quite matching at the best of times, and completely clashing at the worst.
This pursuit of expectations, always just out of reach, can then become a kind of addiction. We fuel it with our built-in longing for perfection (whatever version of perfection we find particularly appealing, that is), but to maddeningly never, never, never catch it.
Everything, everything, can be seen at multiple levels. On one hand, I am scrubbing the pee-strewn floor by the toilet. On the other hand, I am again missing the glaring, absolute sovereignty of God. In my frustrated, cleaning frenzy, I am unconsciously playing out a hidden truth of God. My pursuit of a Martha Stewart Bathroom--sparkling tiles, flawless towels, streakless mirrors, and pee-less floors--is all really only a reflection of my innate desire for perfection gone wrong. The reason Martha Stewart sells millions of magazines and the reason that I'm here, frenetically scrubbing both play as tiny analogies and /or demonstrations of God's design for humanity to always desire him--the ultimate perfection.
His will is perfection:
3 For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! 4 “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
He perfects (as a verb):
"Look to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith" Hebrews 12:2
He has perfect power:
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples. Psalm 33:10
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Psalm 135:6
3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
It is through my perversity that I distort my enjoyment of visual perfection (or bathroom perfection, as the case may be) to no longer remind me of Christ's perfection, but to be an end of itself. Or as Matt Chandler so often says, I let it "terminate on itself" canceling its true, infinitely more precious purpose in exchange for sparkling futility.
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. Ephesians 4:17-19
All of this is a bit random to think about 10 minutes before leaving for the 5 pm Flowermound service, but that's my brain...
And I guess I really should thank Dobby, now, for peeing on the floor, since through his pee, I was shown yet again how sinful and blind I am to God's grace and goodness.