We live in a house with three very small bathrooms. Shortly after we moved in I took all my girly stuff and stuffed and shoved it into the biggest of the very small bathrooms. There is a problem with this arrangement. The lights in the bathroom I’ve chosen burn out quickly. Five light bulbs line the mirror above the sink, but I am generally left with about three working lights.
Go back in time to the ’80’s. I was a teenager and Brooke Shields image stared back at me from the covers of the latest fashion magazines. I looked at her eyebrows; I looked at my eyebrows. And in the words of my six-year-old, “easy peasy.” Even then I needed tweezers or I would have had a uni-brow. Fast forward back to the present; without proper lighting in my bathroom I am in danger of revisiting my Brooke Shields eyebrows days. In the poor lighting of my bathroom, I am satisfied with what I see. But, when I step into my husbands bathroom, which has a window, I gasp in horror at my reflection. I’m sure I break speed records in my race to get my tweezers and pluck the bushy eyebrows down to an acceptable size in the light provided by the window.
At three-years old, my oldest daughter did not like her blonde eyebrows. She found a black permanent marker, stood in front of the mirror in my bedroom, and drew on a set of thick, black, and somewhat crooked set of brows. I walked into my bedroom and found her admiring her new look in the mirror. Appalled and amused at the same time I asked her why she had done it. She replied, “Because I couldn’t see them.”
My daughter tried to fix her lack of eyebrows herself, but it didn’t turn out so well. Later, as a teenager, a make-up sales associate helped her pick out an eyebrow pencil to enhance her brows. Too many times in life I try to fix my lack of spirituality myself. I do more. It makes me look good, at least in my opinion. But, if I could only see how my self-righteousness looks to God. It probably looks like my daughter’s permanent black marker eyebrows did to me!
I can just picture God walking into the bedroom and seeing me with my black, permanent marker eyebrows. The corners of His mouth must twitch just a little as He shakes His head and pulls out the washcloth and soap. Just like I need the added light of the window to see my stray eyebrows, I need the light of the Holy Spirit shining into the darkness of my heart to reveal my mess. It is only when I see my sinfulness that I am willing to get cleaned up. But, I can’t do it on my own. Just like I need the light from the window to see my overgrown eyebrows, I need God to send the light of His Holy Spirit to come in and change me, because I am incapable of changing the desires of my heart on my own.
My human nature demands that I fix myself. I’m usually pretty sure if I try a little harder I can do it. That works for some things, like pounding on the lid of a jar to loosen it up enough for me to twist off. But, all the cleaning I do in my heart just stirs up the dust and covers things up. Only God’s love has the power to remove my sin. Only God’s love can see through my shield of self-righteousness. Only God’s love has the ability to still love me. Only my acceptance of God’s love into my heart will create a new heart within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence; and take not your holy spirit from me… Psalm 51:10-11
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 36:26 NLT