I went for an eye exam today. I was about six months overdue and because of all the changes in my family and our circumstances, I continued to procrastinate about making an appointment. So last week, as I was in the supercenter, I noticed the sign for "low cost eye exams" and walked in to check on what my insurance co-pay would be (zero: win!) and scheduled to come back in after the weekend.
Now for some people, that is a simple 'get up and go' for the day of, but for me this meant I was going to spend a good amount of time properly cleaning my contacts and make sure to do the extra credit work of digging out my expired prescription and glasses case. Most of the people I know prepare for the dentist by flossing and brushing extra well the morning of, I practice the same over-achieving ritual but with my eyes. This is because I've been wearing contact lenses for over twenty years now, and I've gotten very complacent with them. They undoubtedly find their way into the lens case each night, but they never get scrubbed or rinsed before doing so and I'm sure it's no surprise that I'm about to say that I don't wash my hands before I snatch them out of my eye. The contacts I had in this morning should have been replaced three months ago. But having impaired vision is not cheap! The deciding factor for scheduling my exam was the traces of black specks I had started to see in my peripheral vision from time to time, and the occasional "stars" that would appear accompanied with a slightly dizzy feeling. Pretty good indicators that something needed attention.
Upon my visit with the most bubbly, happy, understanding and patient optometrist I've ever encountered, I found that my eyes were in need of rest from the daily contact use and just needed more breathing room in general. She told me that the black specks and floaters I was seeing were just "glorified eye trash" and that more time in glasses instead of contacts would probably make my eyes very happy. She said all of this with a smile on her face and didn't make me feel totally irresponsible and unworthy of vision care the way other eye doctors have in the past...not that I have ever been an eye abuser before!
I say all of this to share what I "saw" in all of it.
We can sometimes take things for granted, like our vision, or our faith, and think that just the bare minimum or the easiest approach can be enough. It's usually not. It may get us by, it may sustain is and help is achieve some version of what we're attempting, but we don't have the clearest version until we fully immerse ourselves. When we decide to follow Jesus, it is the single most important decision in our lives. But this doesn't mean we can take one step towards God while keeping our other foot in our former lifestyle.
Without properly cleansing all of the impurities and sin out of our way, there's always going to be some "trash" that floats by and distracts us. We have to let go of the old, every single filthy, dead, stained, bruised and tattered part of that old person. This is not something that can be done at the last minute and shined up to look pretty. It won't be easy, and it won't be quick, but it will be worth every tiny bit of your heart and soul. The new creation is so much better in every way with that old bag of chains stripped away.
Drop it behind you and set it on fire.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.