On my list of gifts, one that recurs often is “fresh snow” (Lou Malnati’s pizza is also a top runner). Snow is as magical as fairy dust to me. It’s a good thing I love it, because I live where there’s a lot of it.
As I write this, here in Minnesota it’s snowing. Again. Like it does just about every three days for the six months we call winter.
It’s hard to believe, but a day is coming when it will start to melt. And when it does we move from “Winter”, not to “Spring” as they do in North Carolina, for example, but to “Butt Ugly”.
While the cherry blossoms are exploding around the tidal basin in Washington D.C. and the Bluebonnets are dancing across the hills of Texas, the gorgeous white crystals that have been blanketing everything in Minnesota start to mushify (yes, that’s a thing), exposing trash from last fall, like gum wrappers and a single tennis shoe, and the mitten someone lost. I’m still hoping my keys that disappeared on a walk around Lake Harriet five years ago will turn up.
I love snow when it’s new and fresh. It’s always been a visual reminder to me of God’s grace, and grits in Louisiana. It just comes. Snow, like grace, is not something we work for or make happen.
But the “Butt Ugly” season is a visual reminder too. It’s a reminder that while I can receive the gift of forgiveness and mercy for the ugliness of sin in my life, I need to be careful that I don’t just bury it without dealing with it. Kind of like that email that’s going to be hard to respond to so you put it in a file to answer to later.
What do I do with the trash that lies beneath?
Sometimes we “take the money and run” so to speak. We casually accept the gift of forgiveness without dealing with the root sin. We waltz on without examining it and asking, “How did this get here?”, or settling up with others who may have to deal with our garbage, or asking “How do I take a different path in the future?”
Taking our trash and God’s redeeming grace lightly dishonors Him.
But other times there’s the tendency to keep digging up the trash when God says it’s done and forgiven.
I think each of us tend to lean one way or the other. For me, my “go to” is to try to dig up garbage that God has already forgiven and is in the process of decomposing and redeeming. I believe we dishonor God when we do this too.
The other day something came up that reminded me of a past failure where I have forgiven and asked forgiveness, but haven’t experienced the complete reconciliation that I desire. I can “dig that trash up” and hold onto it, and beat myself up, but God says, “No. It’s finished. You’ve done your part. I’ve done My part. Leave it in My hands.”
How do you most often handle “what lies beneath”? Is there garbage you’ve ignored that needs to be addressed, or are you obsessing over stuff you’ve already dealt with that God has forgiven?