It’s an activity we all do…multiple times in multiple ways.  For me, it was this morning when I rinsed my makeup sponge.  I do it every Friday, and I have to use soap and squeeze and squeeze until the water runs clear.  It’s also something we do when coloring our hair and applying conditioner.  We wash and squeeze and let the water run through until it’s clear once again.  That clear water indicates all of the product is gone and out, and we are squeaky clean!  It also means my sponge is clean and ready to be used again for another week…

I don’t know why, but as I was squeezing the sponge this morning I thought about how unpleasant that squeeze would feel if the sponge were a living being and could speak.  I’m sure it would say, “Stop, that hurts,” as I squeezed again and again. Perhaps it would step away from the flow of water and demand to be put back in the drawer and left alone.  Or at the very least, after a couple of squeezes, I’m betting the sponge would say, “Enough, already! I’m clean!”

However, my eyes can see when the sponge runs clear water, and I don’t stop until it does!

I was thinking about how we gather dirt and filth and “extra” junk every day as we live, and it weighs us down, gets stinky and renders us unfit for good use –just like that sponge.  We have to stand under the warm water of his grace and mercy and forgiveness, which actually feels great.  But we also have to undergo a squeeze to get every last drop out!

For example, some days I end up fretting over the future, gathering thoughts that are lies about myself and God’s view of me, soaking up disappointments in relationships and swiping every last ounce of my own strength to get through…until my sponge is super nasty!  Have you had days like that?

That blending sponge or bud, or whatever you call it, is a great resource for applying makeup.  However, if it’s left uncleaned and unsqueezed, it can become a petri dish of bacteria and become bad for me! 

Just this past weekend, I was that dirty sponge, all covered in usage.  And to be honest, I’d rather not undergo a good squeeze or stand under the full force of warm water.  I’d rather hibernate in the drawer, in the dark, and be left alone with my thoughts.  Squeezing means pressure, and it can be tight and uncomfortable.  Staying still under the water until the holder of the sponge decides that it’s clean is also hard.  I want to determine when that moment is that I can go back to being myself without the cleaner up in my business.

It’s just a fact, I think, that life sprinkles lots of dust on us throughout the day, even as we are being used for good purposes.  But it’s also a fact, I think, that unless we let Him squeeze and wash and observe until the water runs clear, our good purposes will produce bad effects.  Not only am I good for nothing to myself, but I shun others, growl at them and frown at everything, when I refuse to settle in and let the water flow and the squeeze happen – until the water runs clear. 

I’m going through that squeezing process at this very moment, which isn’t pleasant.  Warm water alone doesn’t clean a filthy sponge.  The sponge has to be squeezed over and over again…until that water…runs clear.

Clear of lies, clear of mistrust, clear of disappointment, clear of hopelessness.

Analogies like this, simple but dirty makeup sponges, speak to me.  I learn from the practical and God is so kind to use little everyday objects and experiences to show me His faithfulness to pursue me, whether or not I want to be pursued.  He also is the Good Shepherd that tackles me and follows me constantly offering goodness and mercy – that clean warm water – to wash me clean.  And that squeeze?  It’s never meant to hurt me, only to heal me.

So I’m hoping I can stand still long enough today and tomorrow and again next week, each time my heaviness and saturation of the filth of the day makes me a good candidate for the squeeze and the flow.

Slow Down
Lights Out
Two Months Down
Til the Water Runs Clear
by Marcy Lytle

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