Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A lesson in cleaning toilets

This is a post that has been simmering in my head for a few weeks. It is another from the Fright Fest month; I have just been waiting for the time to type it.

Just a little background. I have been taking a class over the last 3 months or so called Renovation of the Heart; the book is written by Dallas Willard. It is about building spiritual disciplines into your life and allowing Christ to reshape you into His image. That has been a theme in my life over the last few months anyway. Everywhere I look God sends some situation, person or resource to point me in that direction. I highly recommend the book. It is not an easy process to begin; the digging can be uncomfortable if not painful, but as Christians that is what we are called to. We are not called to pray a prayer and then live however we want. That is not what the Gospel is about. It is about being totally and radically changed from the inside out. We are called to be disciples (apprentices) of Christ and to live our lives the way He lived. He left us His example to follow. The trick is that it is totally impossible to do on our own and in our own power. Only in total surrender to Christ and His will, Spirit and power can we be remade in His image. The equally tricky side of the coin is that He will not force us to change. He will empower us and even do the work in us, but not if we don't desire it. So it becomes what has been coined grace driven effort. While we cannot do it without Him, He will not force it upon us if we don't desire it. Now we could go really deep and say that really the desire comes from Him as well. If you don't have the desire to have your life renovated and become like Christ, ask Him for the desire and He will be faithful to give it to you. Believe me I have seen it in my life so many times. I knew that I should desire something, but I did not desire it so I would ask Him and He has always been faithful to answer those kind of prayers. The biggest example of that in my life lately has been dealing with my alcohol addiction (read about that here Alcoholic and More on Alcoholism ) So this book is really great about digging really deep and breaking down all the different areas that need to be renovated. It will change your life for the better, but it won't be comfortable.

Because of this class, I was spending a lot of time praying and digging into my junk. I have so much ugliness still inside of me. If I'm not careful it can be disheartening. I have to remember to look backwards at how far I have come on this journey because when I just look forward it seems like I am making no progress. God is so gracious to remind me all the time that I have not "made it"; there is still so far to go; I don't look like Christ even 10% of the time. I am grateful that God uses situation in my life every day to remind me that I can't do this on my own; I cannot boast about the progress that has been made in my life. It is Christ and Christ alone that justifies and sanctifies me.

On to my point in this post. This season at Fright Fest the Saloon (where we handle costumes and makeup for the characters) toilet was on the fritz. It ended up needing the plumbers out every weekend if not all three days of the weekend. After the plumbers would come, then the cleaning crew would come to make sure the bathroom was clean for us to use. The majority of the time it was this same young man who would come to clean. I didn't really pay much mind to what was going on b/c usually I was doing makeup or on my way out to go check out how everyone looked at their posts. One particular day near the end of the season, I needed to use the restroom before I went out so I was waiting on the guy to clean it. I was standing near the door and ended up having a conversation with the young man. When I say young man, I mean he was probably under 25. He was cleaning the bathroom with a smile on his face and talking to me. I mentioned that he must be tired of having to come and clean our bathroom for us. He stated that it wasn't a big deal; the restrooms in the whole park are really old so he is always having to go all over the park cleaning up after the plumber. I was struck by how much pride he took in his job. He really did a good job; he didn't slop through. He was not grumbling or ashamed. He looked me in the face and talked about how it was his job to make sure the bathrooms were in clean condition after plumbing problems. This was a normal, very intelligent, well mannered, nice looking young man. As I waited I was cut so deep in my heart. I don't think that I could take so much pride in being the person who cleans the toilets. I felt so ashamed of my arrogance and ego. I felt the Holy Spirit speak so clearly that Jesus would clean the toilets with nothing but love in His heart for the person who was going to use it. He would not have felt like it was below Him; He would do it with such humility, beauty and love. If I am called to be like Christ, then that is what He calls me to do. I had to ask myself, "If that was my job, could I do it 'heartily unto the Lord' could I take pride in being the person who makes sure that the toilets are lovingly clean for people to sit on?" If I was like Christ, the answer to those questions would be yes; I could not honestly say that I could do that. Honestly, I am still sometimes ashamed to admit I work at Starbucks. That is not meant to put anyone down or make anyone feel bad. That statement is an honest assessment of how far off my heart is from where Christ wants it to be. I know that I could not look at someone in the eyes and say that I clean toilets and do it with pride in my work and worship in my heart. That is a glaring reflection of the pride, arrogance and ego that still lives in my heart. Oh, how ugly I can be on the inside.

I was so convicted. I have since begun praying that God would change my heart and perspective on my job. He gave me the job; He calls me to work at Starbucks and expects me to do it "heartily unto Him". He expects me to make coffee and take orders with love and humility in my heart. I am the one who has taken the gift God has given me in putting me in my job and minimized it to "just coffee". There are no jobs that are meaningless. Every job that every follower of Christ has should be infused with worship. Every job is a solemn and beautiful call to worship our Creator and Savior with our hands. Every moment of our lives is meant to be infused with worship. This is something that was and is very important in a practicing Jewish persons life. A Jewish person sees worship of the Creator God is woven into the fabric of life. In Jesus time that would have been a very prevalent way of life. We seem to have lost this idea. We so compartmentalize life that we cannot see that every thing we do is worship. We aren't called to do God things on Sunday and non God things the rest of the time. Every moment of our lives should be infused with and driven by worship of the Lord Jesus Christ. He wants everything, every moment, thought, and little piece of our hearts. If I could just get my heart wrapped around that idea the toilet guy would not have struck me so strongly. I would have understood that it is just as it should be that he takes such pride in his work and feels so positively about what he does.

Ugh!! I still am filled with so much ego and entitlement. Thank God that His love for me is not dependent on my heart or actions. Thank God that I am saved by grace and grace alone. Thank Jesus that I don't have to clean up my heart. He does it for me.

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