This hurts…

Yesterday I took our daughter Lauren to the dentist to have a couple of teeth pulled. This is all part of a new journey for us: orthondontics. I went through it as a kid and now at least one of our kids has inherited my crooked teeth. She has handled it all very bravely, all the more so because she doesn’t think she needs braces. So, I’ve been dragging her all over the place for x-rays, orthondontist appointments, dentist appointments, all for the sake of doing something she doesn’t want to do. Working at home yesterday, seeing her suffer with bloody gauze coming out of her mouth, I admit that for a moment, I even questioned what in the world we had gotten her into. But, as we keep reminding her, this is for her good and we’re convinced that one day she’ll thank us. That day just hasn’t come yet…

Our spiritual life is a lot like that. Without a constant eye on the big picture, we lose sight of how we are to live in the moment. And without that big view, it’s a struggle to stick with the hard decisions that we sometimes need to make in order to grow. Living a missional life, reflecting Christ in all we do, begins by getting close to Christ. Saying yes to those things that build our spiritual life (spiritual disciplines, worship, hospitality, generosity) and saying no to those things that stand in the way (habits, toxic relationships, time-wasting activities etc.). Like the teeth in our mouth, our spiritual life does not shift without some pain. But with a heart focused on Jesus, learning to see the big picture, we begin to understand that the pain is a sign of progress.

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