Yesterday I wished you all were with Tom and me. Oh my. We drove out through the countryside to our favorite type of house sale, one at an 1800's farmhouse with a barn and long chicken house and 30 acres.
Tom headed out to the barn, but I took the spongy front stairs which 'gave' with each step, stepped through the front door and wow, instantly I was catapulted back to the 1940's. Trinkets, paintings, record albums, antique dressers, a Formica table in the ancient (original?) kitchen alongside a decrepit Hoosier cabinet. Old crockery bowls, boxes of coffee mugs and utensils. Every floor inside in the farmhouse was warped, every wall covered with wallpaper from the 1940's(?) with big, dark water stains.
The house is for sale, the current owner is in his 80's and had obviously lived here 60 years, perhaps all his life.
Mostly I just wandered from room to room (I bought only a 25 cent tea cup) because, in such places, what enchants me is how everything is old. Every item was made before I was born, or shortly after, stuffed into one old house, kept, creating a Time Warp for people like me to enjoy.
And always, I step from room to room longing for such a Time Warp inside my own home. Yet, although I aim for that you're-no-longer-in 2010 feeling, I never quite achieve it.
Why? Too much mixture.
I mean, yes, I have magazines from the 1920's and 30's, but I also have current ones fresh from the stand. I own a 1940's Formica table, but near it you'll find our new leather couch and recliner. My walls hold paintings or portraits from around 1910 to 1950, but they also hold framed stuff from the 1980's to the present.
It's the mixture which dilutes the Time Warp feeling of my home. The mixture confuses the overall effect.
And you know the lesson I'm heading toward don't you? It's the mixture in our lives which confuses other people about what God is really like. We criticize people, other Christians even, for things we later go off and do ourselves. At church we appear to have loving, peaceful marriages, but at home we disagree and have drama galore. When other peoples' children misbehave we discuss it with our friends, but when our own kids mess up, we make excuses for them (and sprint after anyone who dares criticize our child).
We--- Well, you get it.
Oh, what to do? What to do about all that mixture? I think it begins by, well, shutting our mouths. You know, being ever so slow to speak--or not speaking at all. Pondering things in our heart (rather than blabbing) is a fine place to start.
Just hold it all in, you ask? Uh, no.
The second step for ridding mixture, I believe, is to allow God to remake us, even if it means starting all over. He never asked us to strain and force ourselves into perfect little Christian models. Rather, He asked that we be clay in the Potter's hands, always humble enough to be moldable. Teachable. And kind, for kindness flows from hearts remade by the God who believes that love, without mixture, is the most important thing of all.
And only God, Himself, can create a heart which comes oh so close to mirroring His own. Only God can create a real-live, honest-to-goodness Christian without a bunch of mixture.