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Filled Up and Poured Out This Christmas

by Tara Tanner

Several years ago I bought a steam mop as a {To: Me} {From: Me} Christmas gift. I have always preferred a mop, bucket and a splash (or three) of Pine Sol to clean my floors. But the owner of a house I cleaned introduced me to a steam mop. When I would finish, I would admire how shiny the floors were. And the more I used it, the more I wanted one. So, after Christmas one year our family was strolling the aisles of a department store making a list of items to buy for our home. Items that under normal circumstances we wouldn't be able to buy. But when you combine Christmas gift cards and Christmas clearance, all things are possible. And I declared, “I want a steam mop!”

My life is exciting, I know. This store didn't carry the same brand as the one I was used to using, but there was a small selection and I made my choice. I was excited for my first mopping encounter. I was envisioning shiny floors and ooh’s and ah ah’s from my family as they stood and watched in awe. I seriously couldn't wait to get home and mop the floors. When we made it back home I glanced over the instructions and only noticed one difference. It only required water. No cleaner. In fact, it warned that adding a cleaner would result in damaging the mop. And I didn't want to damage it. Because it cost.too.much. I poured in the water, attached the cloth, plugged it in and the fun began. Except no one was in awe. Not even me. The floors were not that shiny. And although I’m watching the dirty spots come clean, I was disappointed. I.was.missing.something. I didn't feel like the floors were clean. Because it didn't smell clean. And for it to be clean, it had to smell clean.  But there is no.truth.in.that.

I sat down from mopping and thought about why it was so important that it smell clean. I could see with my own eyes the floors were clean yet, I felt like they were not. I desperately wanted to add Pine Sol but I knew nothing was meant to be added. Only water. And it was hard to accept that the smell of clean wasn't actually cleaning anything. 

Pause. I immediately begin to call to mind the familiar clean smell of my spiritual life. From the outside I was clean. I faithfully attended church, I served in my church, I was noticed, appreciated, and had worth in my church.

But.I.was.missing.something. I sat down again. To be reminded of a known truth: Just because I was in church didn't make me right with God. I began reflecting on the hardships I was facing in my life at the time, and realized I had been relying more upon the church building as my refuge. As my strength. ~But there is no.truth.in.that.~ Unintentionally, I was adding to Jesus. But nothing is meant to be added. Only Jesus. 

I’m pausing today to say I am so thankful for that moment with my new mop. Thankful that God graciously opened my eyes to see the damage I was causing in my personal relationship with Jesus. I don’t want to do anything to damage it. Because it cost.too.much. Revival started in my heart that day. And every day has been new since then. I’m still faithfully serving in my church, not as a refuge but as a result of my relationship and a desire to worship my Savior.  I no longer need to pour anything in to smell clean. Because Jesus does that. I only pour back out what He did for me.

Prayer: God, amidst this busy season, allow me to pause and truly be reminded of the gift you have given each of us.  Help us notice opportunities for pouring that out to others this Christmas.

Tara Tanner is a follower of Christ, wife & mama, promise claimer, and intentional pauser. Pause with her at thepauseblog.weebly.com, at The Pause Blog on facebook or follow her on twitter @thepauseblog123.