Getting clean

I don’t know about you but I hate it when my shower is broken.  I have become so used to having a shower every day (as a child it was ‘on special nights’) that when I can’t have one I feel cheated.  This morning was one of those mornings.  We have finally got a new fuse box that will trip if you sneeze on a light switch (okay – not quite that sensitive…) but it is sensitive.  We tested the system last night on our return from holiday and the shower tripped the whole system.  So no showers this morning…but I managed to fit one in after lunch (now all is repaired).  No mean feat as both my phones went off at 8.10am this morning (it is nice to be missed!) and it has been one of those days where I have achieved much yet very little of what I planned.  The shower was hot and strong and after a week in the caravan it was what the doctor ordered.  However what I loved most was that clean feeling – the kind that comes after a hard work out or a delayed shower.
Perhaps you watched the snooker last night – we dropped by in between programmes and watched the final frames.  As I am Higgins fan, though I am not sure why, I was pleased with the results, especially after the last 12 months for him I was very pleased.  Nevertheless the snooker finished ahead of schedule and so Coast was the filler.  And the woman on it spoke about swimming along the coast line and admiring the cliffs from a different perspective.  She said that no matter her mood, a swim in the sea restored her and made her feel in control again.  I looked at the colour of the water and wondered about the safety of it all.  Yet I know what she means – there is something about being clean and refreshed that clears the mind, restores the soul and brings about peace.
Are there things in your life that you need to clean away or even clean up?  Much imagery around sin uses language such as dark spots, dirty marks or washing our clothes to be white as snow…we might not like the idea but much like the daily shower when arguably we are not that dirty – there is something lovely about starting the day clean.  Confession – cleaning away those moments we regret, apologising to God, each other, ourselves is just as important as saying thank you or asking for things.  And yes, rather like the daily shower/wash, we need to take time daily to clean up – for it is easier to clean away a day’s worth of dirt than a week’s worth or even more.
And perhaps there are areas in our lives where we need to clean up our acts and restore our ‘inner balance’.  I am not sure how often the lady in Coast sea swims but when she does she has to tell the Coastguard and others of her planned route etc, partly so no one tries to rescue her!  The sea swims take preparation and thought.  We need to take time to reflect on our life styles.  Do we need to do more than the daily shower/wash?  Have we become very cynical or over critical?  Are we more reliant on coffee or alcohol or other ‘unhelpful’ stress busting schemes?  Have our priorities become lost under the pressures of this world?
The daily shower is important but sometimes we need a soak in the bath or a swim in the sea.And can we share that with someone else?  Are we willing to let people know what our planned route is so they can support us rather than attempt to ‘rescue’ us?  I have had a week off and through prayer and reflection and reading I am working through a time of discipline or self-control for the rest of May.  It started today…but part of my ‘sea swim’ is taking the time to reflect on how I love myself properly.  For me that means giving up alcohol and making an effort to eat better – not because I think alcohol (in moderation) is bad but because the reasons I was drinking it for were not helpful.  And part of this is about self-discipline and self-control.  And if that sounds awfully selfish – it isn’t! I have included a couple of verses below.22 But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. Galatians 5:22-24 (NCV)
and:19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves,20 because you were bought by God for a price. So honour God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NCV)  To be fair Paul is talking more about sexual sins but we are called to look after ourselves.
Another one in Proverbs says that pride comes before a fall – have the courage to be honest with God, after all he knows it all already, and he still loves you.  Be clean and be refreshed and no matter what the day brings, you are right with God.
Washed by God,Sarah
P.S.  Question I was asked today ‘What is the colour of love?’  I look forward to your answers.

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