When The Mop Bucket Spills

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time mopping the floors. They’ve been getting unusually dirty, trapped under a filmy, stubborn slime of sin, accusation and doubt.

After each mopping, the residue created an even dirtier concoction of water in my tattered bucket. The murky liquid gave a nauseating stench of self-rejection.

” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence,” Henri J.M. Nouwen. 

No matter where I went, I couldn’t escape the putrid odor. It was just as foul as the critics’ (Me, Myself and I) voices. Daily, these critics bombarded my mailbox with pity party invitations. Location: my house. Party favors: memory reels of regret and failure.

I raged at these parties, and after each one, I had to mop harder. The bucket became heavier and my headaches more unbearable as I fixated on my vices and shortcomings. All of this made it nearly impossible for me to approach God in prayer, because I spent all my time reiterating why He wouldn’t and shouldn’t want to be with me.

The Enemy bolstered those reasons and whispered one more flaming lie: “Other Christians aren’t nearly as bad at being Christians as you are.” The isolation of living in a foreign country was nothing compared to the isolation I felt in this moment.

“Let us come to Christ daily, for deliverance from wrath and guilt, from sin and Satan, from all our cares, fears, and sorrows.” 

My bones slammed the marble floor in a desperate heart cry.

“Christ alone gives this invitation; men come to him, when, feeling their guilt and misery, and believing his love and power to help, they seek him in fervent prayer.”                        

-Matthew Henry

Then, Jesus walked in, marched toward the bucket and kicked it over. The water raced through my kitchen, and split through my knees and hands.

Assuredly, Jesus said, “I don’t see you the way you see yourself. You don’t look like a tattered, murky water-filled bucket to Me. The water isn’t too dense for Me to see through or make sense of.  Alexis, I see all of it, and I’m not going anywhere.”

The needs, the self-rejection, the confusion, the sin, shame, and guilt, the dreams and desires—none of it’s too hard for Him. None of it is enough to make Him walk away.

We must remember that and push past the lie that He is un-desiring to commune with us because of our failures; and even when we feel too ashamed to talk to Him, we must talk anyway. We must lay it all down at His feet, pushing past our emotions and our memory reel of regret.

He will (if we let Him) eradicate self-rejection’s stench. He will (if we submit and obey) free us from sinful habits. He will (if we trust and surrender) breathe life into our dreams; and, He will meet our every need.

Let us choose Jesus, again and again every single day.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne,” Matthew 11:28-30. 

This post was originally published by Delight Ministries, on May 25, 2015.

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