It’s a Tuesday and an unexpected day at home due to an early power outage. My schoolteacher husband is here along with my kids, so “working” from home is, well, a challenge.
I rouse my family for lunch and then declare it tidy-time, i.e. pick-up-your-dirty-socks time, and I volunteer to clean the kitchen. By the time I’m finishing, I feel some pressure to get back to “work”—Christmas is coming, after all.
“All done,” I declare to myself with satisfaction, until my daughter wanders through the room. “Um, Mom,” she mumbles, pointing a finger at the pile of dirty dishes sitting in the middle of the counter. Oh.
I am AMAZING at failing to see what’s right in front of my face. Any amount of pressure or stress, fear or anger blinds me to what’s right in front of my face. I’m blind to my messes; I’m blind to my mistakes.
Aren’t we all?
My reading recently led me to 2 Thessalonians and Paul’s warning not to be misled. The church in Thessalonica was becoming unsettled by false reports of the Lord’s return. It’s easy to believe untruth. It’s easy not to see and believe what’s right in front of our eyes. “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way,” (2:3) Paul reminds them. Yet, the very fact that Paul has to remind them points to just how easy it is to be deceived.
How do we know the truth?
Friends and family are great at pointing out our mistakes. Like my daughter pointing to the dirty dishes, they can see what we can’t.
The deeper deceptions are those untruths around which we can shape our lives. These often require the intervention of the Holy Spirit. While we may squirm in our seats to see where we’ve gone wrong, the burden is so much less once we’ve taken a fearless look at ourselves and allowed God to forgive us.
Finally, we can minimize the deceptions by staying in God’s Truth regularly. Prayer and scripture reading, study and service, keep us focused on God’s real purposes in the world. While we might still go astray, the windows of opportunities get smaller.
The house is (mostly) clean now, and I’m back to my writing. Yes, the dishes are all finished; there’s a peace descending on our home. Now, if only the wind would die down!
Until then, we rest in God’s peace and providence. We give thanks to God for His presence with us always.