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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Small Leak, Big Problems

This past week, I made a rather unfortunate discovery. My wife had been cleaning up our toy room and told me that part of the carpet was wet. Thinking that my 2-year old had just spilled something, we ignored it. After a few days, the dampness was still there and so we began to investigate a little more. Pulling back the carpet, the water-stain indicated the moisture must be coming from the other side of the wall, or in our floor plan, the kitchen.

With some growing concern, I slid our refrigerator away from the wall. And behold! A puddle of water was slowly being filled by a drip from the water line. After some more discussion and consideration, we decided that the fridge probably began leaking shortly after installation- three years ago! And now this week I get to deal with the fun part- how serious is the damage? Rotten floorboards? Damaged sub-floor? Mold and mildew? The leak itself was so minor that for years it had gone unnoticed and un-addressed. A couple twists of the wrench fixed the leak, but fixing the resulting damage might take a whole lot more.

As you may have guessed, I have a spiritual application I'm heading to. Why else do I blog? In our spiritual life, there are a lot of things that seem minor. If we do them, it's great. But if not, no big deal, right? It's good to read my Bible, but if I miss out for a few days or weeks what difference does it really make? So I miss church when I'm too busy, skip out on my small group when I'm overloaded, and forget to pray when other matters fill my mind. These spiritual habits are valuable for sure, but who will notice if they slide for awhile? And believe me, I'm talking to myself on this one!

That's just it. No one will notice. For now. But our spiritual habits keep life, and our faith, functioning according to God's design. As we miss out, it's as if our soul has sprung a small leak. The real issue is that small leaks don't get fixed, and down the road our minor oversights can become major stumbling blocks. What began as being too busy for community can over time become isolation. What began as skipping a day or two with God will over time become a self-directed life. As our spiritual leaks go untreated, the damage is far more complicated than a quick fix. I think it leads to disillusionment with church for some. We've missed out on real community for so long, and then we jump back in expecting a shot in the arm when instead it feels dead and lifeless. Because the reality is that authentic community and connection to God takes time, and I believe, practically speaking, that it takes repetition. As we immerse ourselves in the spiritual habits again and again, we will discover our souls being made and kept whole.

I don't know where you're at today. I don't know the last time you checked your spiritual life for leaks. But I want to encourage you to remain steady. Keep at the small things that help you draw near to God. Keep focused. Don't allow a busy world to distract you from what (and who) matters most.

Cling to Him today. Journey on, friends.


Anonymous said...

Nick, I haven't checked your blog lately, but was really glad I found this one. It was a great reminder to not let the small things become big and ugly, and maybe even moldy. How's the damage repair at home? ~Ann

Sara B. said...

Thanks Nik. It was good to hear these things spoken out loud (or at least written out). I have been in this place before, aware of a leak somewhere, and feeling the importance of fixing it. I shared this with friends here at Wildhorse. Even in a community of believers, it's easy to let the isolation and dull routines of winter get the better of us. It's good to know we're not alone, and that we have friends to encourage us to fix the leaks.