Remembering the Dust

Water pours over my face. The heat is easing the tension in my neck and shoulders after sleeping crooked. I roll my head from side to side and slowly look up. There it is, that fan, right above the shower, removing the vapors­­­—yet covered in dust. It can’t possibly be working the way it’s supposed to covered up like that.

I need to bring the vacuum in here and suck all that filth away. I stare at the fan for a little while longer and sigh. This scenario has repeated itself for months now, with the on-going question being: When will I remember to clean off the fan, when the only time I think about it is when I’m forced to see it’s misfunction?

The thought and frustration at my lack turn my mind inward. The word “misfunction” nags at me and I can’t help but see this in my own heart. There are dusty, dirty, covered-in-filth parts of me that have been tucked away and hidden, misfunctioning for far too long.Yet, the only time I become aware of them, and bothered by them, is when they rear their ugliness: when they are shoved in front of my face by bolting out of my mouth, or when they parade scandalously through my mind, shocking me with my lack of control. Dust is causing hidden misfunction.

As I let the warm water lull me into deeper thought, I realize that not every covered up thought, feeling, or word is negative. There is excitement and curiosity under some of that inner dust as well. Experiencing fullness when spending time with a friend, or smiling at discovering how the desert brings rest to my soul, comes from spotting the dust wherever it’s found. Discovering dust isn’t what takes me by surprise, it’s the consequences of the unknown sins, the unknown joys, the unknown words when left hidden. This level of unknown misfunction brings me pause and I wonder, “How much joy am I missing out on? What awful thought is going to come busting out next?”

I turn my face to the full force of the water as a question starts to churn in my mind. How do I take the time to uncover the unknowns, when the known right in front of me requires plenty of work? I want to make space for the surprising light that lets me experience joy in something I didn’t know I would. I want to seek God’s face for the sin that marches brazenly through my thoughts. Yet all too often, the joy’s and the sin’s come and go and retreat without change.

When the surprises stop being forced into my view, like the grimy shower vent, they are forgotten; both pleasure and offense are tucked back into their corners, gathering dust, left to continue in misfunction.

I step out of the shower, wrestling the thought, how will I remember to clean off the dust? How will I remember to uncover the hidden in order to correct the misfunction? Slowly and intentionally I breathe in the remaining steam, clearing it from the mirror.

“Remember, Jesus is better,” the Spirit whispers within my heart. Jesus will nurture and cut and shape and mold each misfunctioning part to one of wholeness in His time. He mercifully reminds me that, “…the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”  

I don’t need to figure out how to do anything. Making a list, or piling on guilt, or fearing I am missing out on some joyous part of myself, only makes me grasp for control that isn’t mine to have. The grace I need to remember is this: the Lord delights in knowing me. The Father delights in giving me good and precious gifts. He will not hold any good thing back from me. I need to only abide in Jesus. Abiding in Him brings joy. Abiding with Him brings repentance. Abiding in Jesus brings freedom, for abiding produces revelation and rest within surprise. I can trust Jesus with my dusty corners, because He already knows I am dust.

I want to choose today to rest in His remembrance of my dust. -Psalm 103, Isaiah 62:4

PS. Misfunction: “when a function works as designed, but with the wrong effect due to exterior circumstances.”

Photo by Kunj Parekh on Unsplash

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