Sharon's Corner is a periodically updated blog exploring some of today's most pressing issues. Topics range from marriage, finances, relationships, and any other issues in your life.
The Statistics
Thursday, August 26, 2010

I know he was trying to do something nice for me, but I’m not sure it was beneficial. A few months ago my husband introduced me to a new solitaire-type game on the computer. “I think you’ll like this one,” he said one evening.

I was skeptical at first… no doubt because I’m basically a resistor of change, and figured that “Freecell” would do me just fine for the rest of my life. Nevertheless I gave the new game a try, and was quickly hooked. Still am, although I try to practice the Christian virtue of moderation in all things.

I have to admit however that this game has served to illustrate a tremendous spiritual truth to me… which perhaps gives my quasi addiction some redeeming value. After failing repeatedly to win a round, I made the amazing discovery that I could re-set the log of my wins and losses whenever I wanted. With the click of a key, all the losses were instantly erased and I was granted a brand new, fresh start.

How wonderful to see a 100% success rate following a single win, rather than 2.5% following successive defeats. How kind of the programmers to include such a “grace” function in their creation. Somehow it motivates me to try harder, to strive to pile win upon win… to improve!
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3: 19-23)

So the originator of my game wasn’t the first producer of “the clean slate.” Like all good things, God thought of it first. He is the Author of the second chance, and third chance and the one thousand and fifty-sixth chance! When I fail, if I confess my sin to Him… poof! He re-sets the score!

Of course, I have to admit that when I’m racking up more losses than wins in my game, I can become disheartened… and if I ever want to become a champion, I can’t content myself with losing over and over and over. I need to learn the strategies, practice skillfully, and persevere when I fall.

How very much like my Christian walk. God in His grace, forgives, cleanses and wipes my slate clean when I fail. But one of these days He’s hoping that I start amassing more victories than defeats… more triumphs than tragedies… more steps forward than backward. And that’s because He’s more into me conquering the game, than in it conquering me!

And so, when I clear my game statistics, most certainly some time later today, I will smile to myself, and mutter a sincere “thank You!” to the Author of my faith for His mercy that is brand new every morning.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It was time. An upcoming visit to our home by a group of nine Brazilian guests provided the motivation (and deadline!) to tackle a job I’d been postponing for ages.

I decided to go through our entire house, getting rid of STUFF that had been accumulating over the past ten years since we moved into our present home. The timing seemed right, since all of our children are “out of the nest” with places of their own. I knew I’d have to be ruthless!

John and I set up 8-foot tables and loaded them with dishes, games, linens, books, CD’s, clothing, and much more. Then we invited our four children and spouses over to claim anything they wanted from the piles. What was left went in various directions… charity, used bookstores, trash, etc.

When the sorting and disposing were all finished I felt positively “light!” It wasn’t that these items were bad things… just superfluous! How wonderful to truly have a place for everything and everything in its place… I was surprised at how fresh and newly-energized I’d become!

The guests came and we had a marvelous time! I believe the extra preparation helped me enjoy their visit even more, because I didn’t feel weighed down by tasks undone. And it was a relief to know that they could open any drawer or cupboard and I wouldn’t need to feel embarrassed by an overflowing hodgepodge of odds and ends.

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

What a lesson for my Christian life! How beneficial to regularly do a spiritual housecleaning! Often I’ve discovered that my spirit has become cluttered… not with terrible things… on the contrary, many things that fill my time and attention are normal, acceptable, even fine pursuits. They’re just not necessary. And they weigh me down. They create an almost imperceptible, floating angst that sits on my shoulders and makes my walk with Christ seem burdensome rather than freeing.

“Lord, help me be ruthless with the rubbish that threatens to steal from me the delight of Your presence! I want to enjoy You with a heart that is unencumbered by the cares and distractions of this world! I want You to be able to explore the nooks and crannies of my spirit and find them clean and orderly. I want to freely revel in our times together.”

Someone asked me last week if I would like to have a certain item they were planning to discard. “No!” I almost shouted at her. “I just got rid of all my extra junk; I don’t want to start filling up my house again.” Mmmm, perhaps this pursuit of an uncluttered house and an uncluttered life is an ongoing battle. Perhaps the ruthlessness must be continued. Perhaps I’d better get another 8-foot table!