One day, as I was making my way through a giant mound of laundry to prepare for a family trip, our washer broke. Like can’t-be-fixed, flood-in-the-laundry-room, water-dripping-into-the-basement-through-a-floor-vent kind of broken.
Not to be deterred, I cleaned up the water, asked my husband to research new washers, and headed to a kind neighbor’s house to finish up my loads. We left the next morning, clothes clean and packed, and then returned five days later to a warm refrigerator. Yep. Appliance #2 had bitten the dust. We had no washer and only a smaller fridge in the basement for my four kids, my husband, and me.
The Big Reveal
Now clearly there are far worse circumstances in life. I reminded myself of that as the laundry piled high until our new washer could be delivered. I tried to explain that to my kids when they complained about having to run downstairs to the basement every time they needed something from the fridge. But in the midst of those reminders and explanations, I realized some pretty yucky stuff was coming to the surface of my mind and heart.
A couple of broken appliances caused me to look at the realities of my sin. Sin that I didn’t fully realize was lurking in me.
I am selfish. I want things to work. I want things to go how I expect them to go. And if something goes awry, I want it to happen at a time I can deal with it easily. I want. I want. I want.
But what I need is to replace that selfishness with my Father—His will, way, and purposes. Not just for the “big stuff,” but for the little stuff, too. It’s the day-to-day, moment-by-moment focus and submission that train my mind and allow me to put Christ on display in my life.
I am proud. There are things I think I deserve, things I think I don’t deserve, and things I think I’m above.
But the truth is I need to be humble. In every circumstance, I can choose to make God’s purposes my focus. In every relationship, I must put the other person above myself. Humility has been demonstrated by Christ, who deserved everything yet willingly humbled Himself. So my response should mirror Andrew Murray’s definition: “Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.”
I focus on the wrong things. I may say and believe that “God is all.” But when I focus on convenience and comfort—no matter how minor or major—I’m not living that out.
My focus needs to be Christ. My Father’s will and way. Sure, a dozen trips up and down the stairs to make dinner is annoying. But allowing that annoyance to influence my attitude and actions puts my selfishness, pride, and messed-up focus on display.
And let me confess that my attitude and actions put my sin on full display a few times with those broken appliances. To the point that it kind of surprised me. Was I really so shallow that being without a fridge in my kitchen for a couple of weeks made me generally impatient and quick to snap at my kids? Of all the pits of sin that I know I need to be aware of in my life, I was taken aback to realize that I need to be aware of my dependence on convenience, too.
The Big Change
God drove the truths He was showing me even deeper through a recent lesson on Jonah in an adult Sunday school class that my husband and I are part of. We walked through the whole book. As we neared the end and read and discussed the last chapter, I got that same rush of judgment and how-could-he attitude I usually get with Jonah, especially as we read these verses:
When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die” (Jonah 4:8–9).
But I slammed the brakes on judging Jonah when it seemed like God was whispering in my ear, “Heidi, is it right for you to be angry about broken appliances?”
My heart sank. In the midst of knowing God’s purposes for me as a woman called to serve my husband and children, to teach and lead women at my church, and to be a witness for Christ in my community, I got distracted by really insignificant stuff. I was just like Jonah whining under the scorching sun. I quickly and fully confessed my selfishness, pride, and wrong focus to the Lord. I also learned some new things to pray and prepare for in my daily life.
Lord, keep me focused on You. Do not allow the insignificant to distract me from Your purposes. Keep me dependent on You every moment and keep me aware of that dependence. Keep me humble in every relationship and every circumstance.
Is there some hidden sin in your life you need to ask God to reveal to you? Something you wouldn’t have expected, but something you need to deal with in order to have a heart, an attitude, and actions that point to Christ?