Sunday, September 9, 2012

Inside Out

Have you been reading your clothing care labels carefully?  Many that I have come across recently have said, "Wash garment inside out. Gentle, cold water, with like colors.  Low heat in the dryer." I can understand this for the printed tees and the beaded tops, but the basic shirts and pajamas for the kids, I'm kind of tired of turning them inside out, then right-side out, only to be turned inside out again.  Who knows the reasons for this, but since I am still learning about doing laundry properly, I read all these things and follow along.

I have a few bad habits, and those who know me well already know some of them, hopefully not too many!  One really bad habit is when we come in from somewhere, a vacation, day trip, outing, I have this bag from the day and I dread unpacking it.  The most embarrassing thing is when I totally forget about it, and find it when I need the bag again.
"Where's the sunscreen?"  Oh, it's in the brown bag that we took to the park last week.
"Where's the bug spray?" Oh, it's in the green bag from when we went to fire works on the 4th of July.

This is a terrible habit. There is still a huge tote bag packed that we forgot to bring on vacation and now we have been back for a week or so, and it is still full.  I remember to do it when I'm about to crash into bed or run out the door.  It's just sitting there staring at me in my distant memory, after I walk by it.  Then I think about it as I'm on my way back to the house or up the stairs, and something inevitably happens, or at worst, I don't feel like doing it the moment I am thinking of it and with it at the same time.  As I'm typing this, Mike and I are sitting on our back porch, and a couple walking past us kindly mentions, "You forgot your popper on the sidewalk."  You know, the fisher price plastic popper that kids push around.  Yes, on our sidewalk of our house, right by the fourth pillar, a forgotten popper. She is right, I forgot.  Of course, I immediately spring up and rescue the forgotten thing.

Another area where I have had to do some unpacking has to do with food labels.  David has quite a few food allergies, so I am on the look out to avoid milk, casein (a milk protein), peanuts, egg whites, and anything that is made in a facility that processes peanuts.  Well, during my "ingredient stare," I have noticed that so many foods I would normally buy (such as Doritos, dumplings, broths, canned soup, salad dressings, bouillon cubes, and seasoning packets) contain MSG (monosodium glutamate), and children's vitamins that contain aspartame.  It just doesn't seem right to give my family these hidden ingredients.  In my new-found quest to avoid these, I have found a few supplements that I never would have sought out, such as Better than Bouillon, Brianna's Salad Dressings, and Gummy Vites.  I also started making homemade breads and soups, my own seasonings, and I'm still trying out new things.

In the depths of our hearts, we have these unpacked bags--sin, emotion, thought, etc.  We have a little stash here and a little stash there, cluttering us up and making it difficult to have peace.  It may not be the specific "item in the bag" that robs us of peace, but just the anxiety of being aware there is a "bag" in the first place.  In the case of my physical tote bag, I would be much better off if, when done using it, I just dumped it out.  The pile of random stuff may be much harder to look at than some neatly packed bag, but the items in there need to be addressed and put away.  Attempting to avoid this task eventually leads to more anxiety when I'm left with a set of bags lined up against the wall with random stuff shoved in each one.

Likewise, our thoughts are often like containers of processed food.  If we don't look at them too closely, we won't see the sin found inside; we think in foolish pride that maybe if we don't look it just doesn't exist.  Maybe we won't really be "giving our kids aspartame or MSG" if we don't read the label of what's inside.  Even though we become aware of these ingredients in real food,  many times in the name of convenience, we still sometimes neglect to read labels.  How many times do we continue to eat the "MSG" of hidden sin--even knowing better--simply out of lack of vigilance?  

We are going through an excellent devotional book with the children each morning, and this week we looked at king David handing over the reign to his son Solomon.  David gave Solomon a blessing, here is an excerpt:

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. 1 Chronicles 28:9 ESV
Every plan and thought?  Searches all hearts?  Even my unpacked bags in the very depths? Even my plans that when you get to the bottom line aren't very God honoring?  Could this even be true when there is something seemingly healthy, like a vitamin, but it contains an unhealthy, potentially dangerous ingredient? Do I have plans such as these? Yes. Now that I am aware of many crumbs and grains of sand in the bottom of my unpacked bags, and that the Lord also knows them, and then some.  Eeek.  That should give me a kick in the butt to start unpacking, turning clothes inside out and to read labels.

But He also understands.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:8-13 ESV

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 
I think I'll start unpacking a bit today.