It was a friend who knew I'd never hear her knock over my music and knew how to break into my house. She just needed a few minutes of encouragement. Life that week had been a bit uphill and she thought a few minutes with a friend would give her the boost she needed for another day. I knew just what she meant. I love those moments when I meet "Jesus with skin on" and my day is brightened by just a few moments of contact with someone who cheers you.
It also made me think of some words that have been rolling around in my head. It's a phrase out of Ephesians 5, right in the middle of a passage about the relationship between husbands and wives and Christ and the church. It talks about Christ sanctifying (making holy) and cleansing us through "washing of water by the word". Those words are like poetry to me. I've heard many profound things explained from this passage, but somehow these words speak to me of something very simple and wonderful.
In life I don't very often get filthy dirty--it happens, but not often. Yet, I still need showers and I love them. There's something so refreshing about being cleansed of the "dust" of a day. This happens to our spirits too. As we go through our day we may not encounter anything that's metaphorically filthy, but there's just a bit of sweat and grime that can build up from life. "Washing of water by the word" can be just as refreshing to my spirit as a shower is to my body. It can be as simple as reading a Psalm before going to sleep and a calm will seep into my spirit that washes away a lingering "yuck" from something I encountered in my day.
There can be all kinds of things that keep us from reading God's word. Sometimes it's a sense of condemnation or failure because we feel like we haven't made it a habit like we should have. Some have experienced it more like a disciplinary stick than a love letter. Sometimes it's just plain old inertia. There was a time in my life when I avoided it because I knew it would bring conviction that I wasn't ready to hear. At another time, I avoided it because I'd been exposed to a long period of legalistic teaching and it was discouraging to me. Out of desperation, knowing it contained my only hope, I went out and bought a completely different translation so I could hear it in a different voice (I chose The Message at this time).
Whatever it is, if you face a hurdle in this area, bust through and be refreshed! The Psalms are a wonderful place to start if you feel like you need something and don't know where to begin. I love King David. He messed up big time and more than once, but he loved God passionately and God described him as a "man after my heart". He was so honest and un-religious--he knew how to rant when he was frustrated and discouraged and felt overwhelmed and he always came back to remembering the goodness of the Lord and encouraging himself with reminders of God's faithfulness in the past and His promises for the future.
Don't be afraid to dive in and be washed by the water of His Word. It'll feel good!
"When I discovered your words I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven's Armies." Jeremiah 15:16