A few weeks back, we went away for a few days and came back to termites. Thankfully, you don’t actually see the termites unless you get in their space, but every morning and evening the tiny tell-tale pellets litter the bathroom floor below the fan. To put it mildly, it’s gross. The grainy feeling under my feet makes my skin crawl, so we sweep a couple times a day. I found out that if I wear socks, I can’t feel the termite junk anymore. That was actually a huge relief, since it was some kind of solution. Of course, when I say it out loud [er…type it really hard, so it’s kind of like saying it out loud], I realize how ridiculous it is to simply wear socks, sweep, and pretend the problem doesn’t exist. It kind of needs an actual solution.
This situation brings up a bigger issue that I’m seeing in my life. Since I’ve lost weight, it’s been a challenge to keep going. I have those last nagging pounds to lose, but it’s not happening. I’ve also noticed some of my bad habits come back. I’ve deluded myself into thinking that as long as I still look cute in my new clothes, there isn’t a problem.
Looking good is infinitely easier than being good.
This problem and corresponding “solution” isn’t new. Adam and Eve tried to hide their sin from the Lord by actually hiding. “If he doesn’t see it, it doesn’t exist!” [not an actual Bible quote]. I do this same thing when I stop talking to God about what’s really going on and instead cover up the messy parts that I’d prefer weren’t there. It’s a ridiculous response, considering that God is neither impressed with nor fooled by the surface.
If I focus on looking good, being good is optional and that’s not good. If I focus on being good, looking good is an outgrowth…maybe…probably. The point is, when I shift my focus to being healthy, not looking healthy, I’ll actually be the kind of person I want to be. I’ll actually be healthy, not just look the part.
This is the case in every area of my life. I don’t just want to look like I have the fruit of the Spirit, I actually want to be a loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, faithful, gentle, self-controlled, and GOOD person. I don’t want to look like I have money, I actually want to live within my means. I don’t want to look like I have friends, I actually want loving, close relationships. And all of that stuff is cultivated primarily in the dark, hidden places where no one sees, just like the termites in the attic.
I might be able to fake health for a while, but what’s inside is eventually revealed:
Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. 1 Timothy 5:24,25
When the time comes, I want good things to come to light about who I am. Consequently, in the meantime, I’m focusing more on the extremely unsexy but necessary nuts and bolts of being healthy by continuing to avail myself to God’s work in me. I will never be “good” enough on my own; however, as the Holy Spirit works in those deep, dark parts in me, I will be more than good, I’ll be perfected. And that’s good enough for me.
Good day, gentle reader.