Sometimes I get a little crusty....


...and I need something to revive me.  Like a good book, a vacation, or a quick trip to TJMaxx.  I noticed a few weeks ago that our flowers were looking a lot like I feel sometimes--dry, wilted, and in need of a little reviving. Because Brad does some of almost all of the yard work, I asked if he had been watering them regularly. To which I got that chin-down, eyes up, forehead scrunched "Yes, dear, I have..." response.  So I didn't understand why they looked so pitiful. My wavy petunias looked more like the kale chips that I forced my family to eat one night out of a desperate attempt of being a "good mom."

I made my way out to the mosquito-infested PocketHose and was going to investigate myself.  If you're like me,  you use the scientifically proven method of waiting for water to run out the bottom of the coconut liner to tell you that the flowers have received enough.  But the water began pouring over the sides immediately like a waterfall. So I did what any logical person would do, and I turned the spray nozzle up to a higher setting, thinking I would flood the soil.  But all that did was cause the water to pour over even faster!  I realized the hot summer days had cooked the soil to the point where it was like a Chips Ahoy cookie, forming a hard crust that nothing could penetrate.  There was no way that water was getting deep into the roots to give them the refreshment they desperately needed. 

As I stood there drenched in water (because we can never own a hose that doesn’t leak down my arm) I thought—this is just like our spiritual lives!   We get dry inside and start to wilt. We want—we need—water to flood our soul.  We go to church on Sunday and expect it to quench our thirst, but during the week we are struggling to love our spouse or be compassionate towards our kids.  We are convinced we just need a conference to set us straight.  A weekend of Beth Moore and Chris Tomlin is great, but two weeks later we find ourselves fantasizing about a different life, or wondering why we can’t stop drinking so much after the kids go to bed.  A mission trip—that’s the answer! Going to a 3rd world country will remind us how fortunate we are.  And a month after returning, we are back looking for identity in our jobs and turning to the next diet in order to be more acceptable in society. 

Could it be that the reason those things aren't helping is because, just like the soil in the flower pots, don’t we sometimes develop a hard crust around our soul?  Pain from relationships, chronic illness, unfaithful spouses, difficult kids, financial loss, rebellion against God……they all can make us crusty.  They create a barrier of shame and doubt and fear that prevents us from having to let anyone (including the Lord) in.  So we throw more Christianity at it—we subscribe to more podcasts, we read more blogs, we visit the counselor a little more often. Or worse, we just ignore that there’s a barrier around our heart at all.

It seems logical that doing “Christian” things would fix the problem; that flooding ourselves with more Jesus stuff would help. But, if we want the Living water to really nourish the driest parts of us, we HAVE to deal with the crust.  As for my flowers, I had to dig in and break up the soil. I wasn’t sure what might come crawling out from below the surface, and I knew my fingernails were going to get dirty, but that’s what needed to be done to remove the barrier.

The more I study God’s Word, the more I see humility being the foundation of all things.  It's the fingernails, the pickaxe, or if you are like me--its the jackhammer--that is needed in order to start breaking up the crust.  From the book HUMILITY by C.J. Mahaney, comes this definition:  
"Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s
 holiness and our sinfulness."  

No matter what changes we make to our lifestyle, or how many Christian things we add to our schedule, all those things are done in vain if we don’t have a true understanding of how great our God is and that we are not Him.  It's easy to live in such a way that we don’t need Jesus' help for anything.  Any problem can be solved with medication, money, schooling, google, and some duct tape.  By doing this, we are telling God that we are self-sufficient and don't need Him. But humility recognizes that we do.  Humility says to the Creator:
          Only YOU can heal the wounds from my parents divorce.
          Only YOU can give me value in a world of successful business ventures.
          Only YOU can remove the shame I feel from my kid's poor choices.
          Only YOU can give me peace in the midst of my cancer diagnosis.

“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God so
 that at the proper time he may exalt you.…”  1 Peter 5:6  

Are you a little crusty these days? Do you have a barrier preventing the Living water from getting in?  Next time you are tempted to just go through the Christian motions, stop and ask God to break up whatever crust has hardened you.  You may get dirty, and something may surface you don't like, but I promise you that refreshing water will run deep into your roots!

“Whomever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. 
The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of 
water welling up to eternal life.” 
John 4:14

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  1. Wow, Johnna! I liked this blog. I "grew up in a Christian house", so you would think that I would have learned how to stop all the crust in my life from hardening by now, but no. Every morning, I have to get out of bed and plow my hardened heart once again. Thanks for the great reminder and metaphor!


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