(Originally Posted on September 28, 2010)
Before we go any further in this “blog-lationship” (like relationship, but only pertaining to blogs), there is something I need to share with you. Are you ready? Here it is:
I really like washing my face.
Yeah, I know it’s weird. Weird that I would like washing my face, and equally if not even weirder that I would take the time to notice the emotion I feel towards it. But despite its apparent and undeniable weirdness, the truth doesn’t change: I really enjoy washing my face.
This affinity toward facial cleansing is odd, I admit, but it’s not without reason. In fact, I have some very good reasons for feeling this way. For instance, washing my face is incredibly refreshing; after washing it, my day can get off to a good start. And it’s also the perfect end to my day, since it lets me rinse away all the grunge and dirt and stress that accumulates without fail. I love how the water temperature affects how I feel: if I want to relax, I use warm water; if I need to wake up, cool water does the trick. Like Orbit gum gives your mouth that “good clean feeling,” an old-fashioned face washing does the same for my skin. And, boy, does it feel lovely!
In addition to these benefits of facial cleansing, there is an even more important aspect for which we should account: pimples. Ever since middle school, this red-dotted, white-headed nuisances have taken up residence on my face, and—despite regular eviction notices and constant threats—refuse to leave. No, on the contrary, these “squatters” regularly rise up as if to stage a coup and take over my entire face. The nerve! But luckily, though, I have my trusty arsenal, my facial cleanser hit squad, that unleashes a counter attack two times a day. And, thus, by washing my face, these arch nemeses of every teenager’s life are kept at bay. (Nevermind that I am no longer a teenager. My skin seems to have missed the memo that I’m not 13 anymore. Grrr.)
Okay, I know I am being goofy, and I admit that I get carried away sometimes. But I really do enjoy washing my face. And really do wish I didn’t have acne…
But the point of this blog isn’t just for me to ramble on and on about how my facewash completes my life. I’m supposed to tie it into a deep thought or lesson about life. I know what you’re thinking right now: “How could she possibly have a deep life lesson about facewash?” (Or alternatively, you are thinking about how badly you need to go to the bathroom. If this is the case, you have my permission to leave. Just come right back. And don’t forget to wash your hands.) Oh, trust me, I do. Just you wait.
The other day, I didn’t have time to wash my face before heading to my first class. I had gone to the gym and was running late, and I really need to make it to my class on time. Something had to give, and it was washing my face. All during the class, I couldn’t help thinking about how gross I felt and how I couldn’t wait to get back to finish my facial cleansing ritual. The minute that the lecture was finished, I skedaddled back home to do just that. As I splashed the cool water over my skin and lathered the face wash all over it and rinsed it off, I felt a wave a sweet relief. It was as if by washing my face, my whole body felt cleaner and my day suddenly became brighter. (This sounds cheesy, I know, but it was a very moving moment). And then also in that moment, I realized something else. Something far more important than the “Hallelujah Chorus” being sung on my face.
You see, I would never skip washing my face in the morning or evening. And when I was forced to postpone it, I jumped at the chance to fix it. My twice-daily facial cleansing ritual is important to me. I do whatever I can to make it happen. It’s one of my top priorities, and without it, my day is incomplete and wholly thrown off.
Is the same true for my daily time spent with Jesus?
No, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s not. When I get in a rush, time with Him is the first thing to be cut and the last to be made up for later—if at all. Day after day, I come to the end before I realize that I forgot about Him. I washed my face twice. But I didn’t talk to or listen to my Savior once. Huh. There is something fundamentally wrong with that. Very, very wrong. And yet, day after day, I make the same mistake again. And night after night, I lay down to sleep before I remember that I should have read my Bible or prayed.
It’s not like I don’t have reminders to change this. “Spiritual acne” pops up, and it’s impossible to miss: When I don’t spend time with Jesus, my mind is full of selfish desires and pride, my mouth becomes contaminated with unkind and thoughtless words, and my heart is weighed down by sorrow and guilt. I know I’m not supposed to feel or act this way, and I understand that my daily “soul cleansing” ritual, so to speak, can help me overcome and avoid this. I realize that Jesus is my Refresher and my Comforter, leading my soul beside quiet waters and making me lie down in His green pastures. He calls Himself the “Living Water”; this is no coincidence. And yet, day in and day out, I live in perpetual dehydration, with grime and grease and dead skin cells covering the pores of my heart.
It makes no sense to live this way; I know that sure as anything. So why do I do it anyway?
I don’t have a good answer for that question, as much as I have wrestled with it. The only conclusion to which I have come is simple: I’m human. In fact, we all are. And as a result, we tend to doing things we know are wrong and shy away from things we know are right. Just as greasy skin is prone to breaking out with pimples, so our hearts are prone to wandering away from our Savior and doing what hurts Him.
But luckily, there is a solution. Spending time with God and getting into His Word is the best defense against “greasy spiritual skin.” Rather than defensive, though, think of it as a proactive approach (pun very much intended). Whenever we consciously make and/or take time to be with our Savior, He cleanses us anew from the dirt and grime of our sin. Just like a daily or twice-daily facial cleansing, He refreshes and renews us and makes us pure again.
So that’s my hope and prayer for you—and for me—today: That we would prioritize Jesus, the Living Water, and the One who makes us clean. And while I’m at it, I might pray for some clearer skin too. 😉