If I spend more money, time or energy on "fluff" than I do on spiritual disciplines and helping folks from whom I expect nothing back, then my heart is not available for better stuff. I remember the first time I looked at my checkbook and charge account bills to consider what it said about my priorities: I was pretty discouraged. A glance at my calendar on another occasion caused a similar "Ah, rats!" moment.
And there are so many little cheats that at my age are beginning to be written in my face and on my medical charts--too much indiscriminate chocolate, too little walking, a little more wine please, an excuse to forgo an inconvenient mitzvah*. There are other cheats that can start out small, even innocently and spiral out of control such as a little too much self-medicating, a little extra-marital flirting, a little peek at what all the hoopla is about with pornography, just one cigarette now and then, just up-sizing at the drive through, just a little snarkiness about the in-laws, a little sarcasm towards a mate, a little gossip, a little "borrowing" of what is not ours. None of that makes us a bad person, but it can certainly open a door that becomes harder and harder to control ourselves and more than one person sitting in a prison cell can trace the track of that kind of descent in their own testimony.
Now days my challenges run to too much TV, too much reading for escape, too much time roaming around Ancestry.com. Oh, I know what my friends and family often say, "Oh, Jann, don't be so hard on yourself!" But the truth is the truth and TV waves from boring to crushingly sad; there is a point where reading fluff no matter how well written is not satisfying and I will, in fact, never find all my cousins or know all the stories of my ancestors. I am not beating my self up, just acknowledging that there are healthier, more interesting and more worthwhile things I can be including at a higher level in my life and I believe that invites blessings otherwise lost.
So, today I'll consider if I can reclaim a little piece of my heart, at little money from my checkbook, a little time in my calendar, a little of my focus and care that I might see God more clearly, hear His teaching with wisdom, respond to His tender wooing as I let go of what is cluttering up my life.
Matt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Trustworthy and loving God, bless me with a willingness to more closely follow Your wise instruction and trust Your passion for our highest good so that nothing may start small and become a wedge between Your love and my heart. Help me respect that small persistent habits either enlighten my relationship with You or diminish it. Help me keep feeding the fire of my love you and let nothing dampen it. AMEN
* Hebrew mitzvah, as with English "commandment", refers to a moral deed performed as a religious duty. As such, the term mitzvah has also come to express an act of human kindness. Such a lovely word.