Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's in your vacuum?

My vacuum cleaner was a gift from my husband to appease his guilt for traveling to Africa. Let me explain. Last summer, a 15 day missions trip fell very gently, and quite suddenly, into my husband's lap, a mere 10 days before he was to depart. The trip included not just him, but our two oldest children, and it did not include our youngest child--or me. The timing of the trip meant that he would be gone on my birthday. It also meant that I would be left to "host" our in-home bible study without him for 3 weeks of Wednesdays in a row. The day that we were preparing to get everyone to the airport, the vacuum threw an absolute hissy-fit and refused to work any longer (perhaps it was because she wasn't invited to go on the trip either). She had been threatening us for some time, and we had been ignoring her rants. But, on this day--she was serious. She was done. On any other day, this would have been a minor annoyance, but on this day, the vacuum's rebellious behavior sent me over the edge.

I sat on the floor and began to weep. I had images of people sho
wing up to my home for bible study and being unable to open the front door due to the knee high deep dust that was sure to pile within the next two hours. My husband grabbed his keys and ran out the door. When he returned, he had the most beautiful blue and orange vacuum with him!

Today, I was using my vacuum and I noticed that she wasn't working very hard. I was surprised, because I have been ever so kind to the lovely appliance, rarely making her do any work. (side note: I am also very kind to my mop and to my iron; and I also dust rarely, thus conserving furniture polish for future generations)
She seemed to be having a difficult time "sucking"; the poor dear was having her own type of appliance asthma attack.

I sat on the floor and began to poke and pull at her
cylindrical body parts. I determined that one of her vessels had to be clogged; she was definitely going to require surgical assistance from me, so I would lovingly treat her. Screwdriver in hand, I unclenched the cylinder that was connected to her heart. I was sure that whatever was blocking her heart from functioning at its fullest capabilities had to be a very large and sturdy object, and I began to wonder who her enemies may be--that they would shove such an enormous object in front of her and force her to swallow it whole.

When the tube came free, approximately 40 tiny air-soft gun pellets fell to the floor. Round, red and plastic--each one approximately 0.05cm, the little pellets danced across the floor in their new-found freedom. As I began to gather the little suckers, it occurred to me how much like my vacuum, we suck things in just one little pellet at a time, and often clog the passage way to our own hearts.
Very rarely are we drawn into a situation seeing the full extent of how it is going to affect us. If we saw a large pile of discontent laying in the middle of the room, we would surely recognize it for what it was and turn away. But, the majority of the time, it is just one little pellet at a time. One little negative thought. One little advertising image. One little disagreeable opinion. One little sardonic comment. One little bitter seed.

There is no way for us to not be "sucking" things into our vacuums, our brains were wired to suck. What I mean by that is this: our brains have been wired by God to be filled with lots of little thoughts! It is our responsibility to make sure that the thoughts we are grabbing onto will not clog our hearts. We have to suck in one little verse. One little prayer. One little worship song. One little comment that will build someone up. One little decision to forgive.
Our brains, like our appliances, deserved to handled with care. We owe it to them to keep them unclogged and sucking things in that will not clog the heart. 

"The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace."
Romans 8:6