Sunday, August 26, 2012

No More Glitter!

I just noticed a bit of glitter on the top of my bare foot. 
We use glitter at the Social Work site, and I always bring lots of it home – on my clothes, book bag, arms, even my face.  I don’t, however, walk around barefoot at the site, and we haven’t used glitter in over a month. 
Oh, and I’ve taken more than a few showers, and been in the ocean and a river since then.  So, how did it get onto my foot? 
Every time we use glitter, it’s the same.  It goes everywhere, and lingers for ages.  One of our outreach students posted on my Facebook wall that she’d found glitter on one of her dresses last week. 
The thing is, she was at our site at the end of July… and she hadn’t even taken that particular dress to the D.R.!  But, somehow, a bit of the stuff transferred onto it.
Every time we use glitter, I say Never Again, and yet, I keep pulling it out.  Somehow I convince myself that this time it won’t be so bad, and it won’t get everywhere.  But, it always is, and it always does.
Glitter makes me think about sin. 
I know, I know, but go with me on this. 
I don’t know about you, but I have a few (okay, more than a few!) things in my life which continually tempt me to sin.  Situations, thoughts, even certain people, seem to trigger me to respond in a sin-filled way. 
I keep promising I’m never going to do such-and-such, or allow myself to say this-or-that, again.  But, then I think the same unloving thoughts, say the same grace-less things. 
Afterwards, I always regret it and try to clean up from the immediate mess of my sin.  I feel bad, apologize, confess, vow not to do it again.  For a while all seems pretty okay, and it’s easy to turn my attention to other things. 
The thing about sin is, when I allow it to enter my life, I’m not just impacting myself.  Like the student’s dress, my sin can transfer in unexpected ways to unexpected places.  Hurtful words or a merciless attitude can cause lingering damage to a brother or sister in Christ. 
Maybe I don’t even notice the pain I’ve caused, but it is there, straining or even breaking relationships.    
And, of course, my sin impacts my relationship with God our Father.  All sin is rebellion against Him.  Sinning in one area of my life transfers into other areas.  Like the glitter, I’m not always aware it’s happening until one day it sits winking at me unmistakably.   
Today is my birthday.  Maybe this seems like a pretty depressing post for the day of my birth.  Yeah, sin isn’t a very happy topic. 
But, only when I really understand how icky I am, am I ready to move ahead into the next day, the next year.  The more I see myself as I truly am, the more humbled I am at God’s love for us in Christ Jesus.    
So, I start another year, confident, not in my strength, but in the assurance that God is going to continue to work in me.  At times, it’s probably going to take some more serious pruning – and even a refiner’s fire or two!  But, like those pesky bits of glitter, clinging sin requires extreme measures (although I don’t suggest our student burns her dress!). 
I have the assurance that in the hands of our loving Father, just the right amount of cutting and burning will take place.  And that, in His power, I can become more like His Son. 
And… once again, I’m saying No More Glitter!  Maybe this year, I’ll even mean it!

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