Thursday, January 6, 2011

On the Outside ...

This past summer I blogged about a storm our house fell victim to ... suffering some nasty damage. After that storm, we went through a battle with our insurance company. The battle ... me wanting the best coverage on my investment and the insurance company paying as little as possible.
After the insurance battle, my husband and I spent a month pricing materials and labor and ... everything. We made the decision to do the labor ourselves ... save money. Jerry's brother-in-law spent nearly every weekend this summer helping us re-side our home (shout out to him, our blessing). Jerry, our oldest son, my dad (thank you, dad for your constant willingness to help) and I spent every weekend tearing off our old deck and building the new deck.
Jerry and I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into ... we have never been the "handy man" types. But ... we learned. Jerry took on the challenge and worked hard. It was difficult, frustrating ... we would snap at each other in aggravation and then apologize later ... knowing it was out of confusion, weakness.
Evenings after work, we tried to keep up with the normal summer activities ... mowing the lawn, planting the trees we purchased earlier in the summer, baseball games, trips to and from Menards and Lowes for building materials. Each night, we fell into our bed ... totally drained from the work. Busy, exhausting ... worth it.
At the end of summer, our home looked beautiful. Our hard work paid off ... sitting on our deck, enjoying the late summer evenings ... priceless. Then ... fall came swooping in with cool nights and we were forced inside.
That's when I noticed it ... the inside ... the neglected inside. While we were busy working on the storm damage, I avoided my normal summer cleaning ... ceiling fans, windows, storm doors, closets ... all these things I usually do during the summer. The warmer months for me are a time to open all the windows, let in the fresh breeze ... empty closets and separate keep from don't keep, fresh coat of paint where needed, windows scrubbed and shiny ...
This summer, I didn't do ANY of those things. And, it was waiting for me when I came inside from my summer long storm repair. I was frustrated. That's how I am. I do not like clutter, dirt, dust ... cobwebs ... stuff. When it's there, I get anxious.
Since the fall, I have been spending weekends catching up ... and, I have spent time thinking about how this relates to my spiritual life. All too often in today's society, we invest hours in our outward appearance. Later we find a mess on the inside. While we've been busy making our outward self beautiful and acceptable by the "World's" standards, our inward self has become unacceptable by our Father's standards.
I've done this. Too often. I work in an environment where appearance is important. I make sure my hair is fixed, make up on, clothes pressed and in good taste. Acceptable. I use the excuse that my employer deems it important (and, it is) ... but, I spend more time in that pursuit than in the pursuit of inward beauty.

Years ago, I found this passage ...1st Peter 3:3-4 "Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." And, it came to mind as I cleaned out my youngest son's closet.

I'm on a mission, repair the storm damage on the inside. Dive into the Word. Ask Him what needs repair and be prepared to spend hours on that repair. I won't know what I'm doing half the time. I'll learn things about myself I didn't know before. I'll come away from the repairs with new found knowledge. It's busy, exhausting ... worth it.

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