One of my regular readers (when I write regularly ;-)), Jan Mckenzie, asked in a comment to the previous post (Tools) if I would include a self-portrait. He must have realized that the request would result in more than just putting up a snapshot.
Self-portraits are always more than mere pictures; they speak to the artist’s/authors view of themselves, on many levels. While the included picture is visual it is also descriptively so.
I am not dressed up; I have not shaved in two days, and my hair (what is there) is, well, just there. It is the everyday me; the me that focuses on the task at hand rather than the mundane maintenance requirements of daily life. Oh, I will do all of the necessities before I go somewhere I have to present myself, but those things are secondary. What is not secondary is the picture on my desktop. It is my favorite portrait of my wife.
It was interesting to have a job for six months that required me to take care of the necessities on a daily basis. It takes a lot of time for business clothes, even business casual, and grooming. It also takes planning, shopping, and a real commitment to present an image. If I have a weakness in that context, it is when the demands of the job escalate, the commitment to that image flags and the necessities begin to falter a bit.
There are many areas of our lives that include these kinds of demarcations, the split between work and maintenance. Sometimes, the maintenance is significant, e.g. cars, computers, camera equipment, our spiritual lives (prayer, study, self-examination and repentance), to name a few. I will readily admit that I am weak on maintenance across the board. It is a real fight for me.
Some people try to avoid maintenance by out with the old, in with the new. New cars, appliances, houses, tools, even new relationships, do not need a lot of maintenance. Spiritually, some people find new churches, since that too reduces the maintenance load and momentarily energizes their Christian life.
I do not believe God approves of that solution. I think He is a firm believer in maintenance, and you have to look no further than the mirror to prove it. Assuming you have not gone completely apostate, He is still struggling with you, to mold the clay of your new creation into His chosen vessel. It is an ongoing job, requiring continuous maintenance, which he loving applies (though according to Hebrews 6 we do not always think it is so loving).
So, once again I am under conviction for my weak approach to maintenance. One could argue that proper maintenance shows appreciation for that which you maintain. God, I believe, expects us to appreciate that which He has given us. He expects us to take care of it, not to worship it, but to respect it and keep it up to snuff.
With that in mind, may God richly bless your efforts at respecting and maintaining the gifts He has given you, whatever (or whoever) they might be. Grace and peace and perseverance at the task be yours today, tomorrow, and into the future.
My Formal/Informal Self Portrait
Click here to see a larger version (364k)