On Light & Dust

dust My daughter hates to dust. It's almost her least favorite chore--probably a close second to making her bed. I can't say that I blame her, because I always hated dusting as a kid. Now I love the immediacy of the reward. You can see where your pledge-soaked cloth has been swiped and it's instant gratification. But I guess that kind of a reward is not as enticing to a five year old.

I try to pull out a different trick every Saturday to pump up Audrey's motivation, and this past Saturday it was letting her choose the chore time soundtrack. Of course she chose "Frozen" music. Now, I have nothing against Frozen music, per se. It's well-written and high quality, in keeping with Disney's usual high standards. It was fine the first 5-10 times. After the 57th time, the appeal started to wane. By the ten thousandth time, I wanted to gouge my eyes out with a dull butter knife. But apparently that's worth it if it helps get your daughter to dust.

The other rough thing about a five year old dusting is that the job is not done quite as thoroughly as an adult would like. There are plenty of hard-to-reach places to dust in our home, especially for someone less than four feet tall. And the whole concept of actually moving things off the shelves, though at one point was grasped, seems to be slipping more and more. So there have been many instances where I've been led to believe the house is dusted, only to find huge swaths of surface area covered in gray dust.

There's always more dust in our lives than we think. Often it goes unnoticed, or covered up, until the light hits it. When the light comes in at just the right angle and illuminates the air around us, it makes all the dust visible. We always think we're breathing clear, clean air until that happens.

Our lives tend to look cleaner in the dark. When the Light of the World show up it exposes our "dust". I find I need a good dusting daily. When God's light shines it never brings shame, only hope. I'm disgusted at the grime and ugliness in my own heart, but God himself is the lifter of my head. There is hope for me! I am loved beyond measure! God is good news! He's not an angry parent returning from a trip, only to find their house trashed by their teenager. First of all, God is never far off. Secondly, I could trash the house a million times over and he would still look at me with eyes of compassion. Then he'd say, "Come on, love. Let's start over." And then he'd kneel down low to pick up the mess with me. That's just what he's like.

God is beautiful and radiant, and all else looks absolutely filthy in comparison. But he is humble, compassionate, and full of unfailing love, no matter how many times I fail.

When God's light exposes my dust, I'm left feeling thankful, not ashamed. I want to get closer to him, not distance myself. I want to be a pure reflector of his light, and his kindness moves me in that direction. If shame is at work, it is not God causing it--it's either me or the enemy of my soul. And it will make me want to run and hide, like my ancestors Adam and Eve. That's the trick--shame causes us to hide from the very one who is our healer, who wants to cleanse us and bestow dignity on us.

If you're battling shame, it will take courage to move toward the light instead of hiding. Be courageous, friend. All the love and hope you need is in that light--you just have to take a step toward it. "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." What a beautiful promise. Believe it, and have the courage to step into the light instead of away from it. It will be worth it.