But running outdoors in the dead of winter isn't all bad. True, I'd rather be skipping along the historic 101 coastal highway like I was so fond of doing while I lived in California, but the crisp air and glittery falling flakes that dress the bare branches of oak have an endearing quality all their own. In addition to the postcard settings I run through, my body portrays its own works of art that demand a good laugh. Before the first mile passes, my eyelashes become strands of icy crystals and the once dry fluffy curls ontop of my head flatten and the combination of icy sweat and wet, heavy falling snow bombs transform into one giant matted dreadlock. My legs slowly turn from warm ivory sculptures flowing with toasty body heat to flaming red posts filled with winterized molasses. And the most attractive feature of all - the dripping snot faucet on my face, formally recognized as the nose.
I've never attempted to shoot a snot rocket, farmer's blow or boogery bullet - that is, until last week. It was during mile 5 when my gloves were so covered with sweat and snot and my throat was coated with loogies (sorry to be so graphic, but this is the tragic reality of being a Minnesotan runner) that I gave in and made the decision to commence my first ever attempt at blowing a farmer's snotty rocket of boogery goo. With wavering confidence in my ability to blow successfully, I closed nostril #1 and with all full concentration turned the facuet to full blast.... I'll skip ahead and tell you that I failed miserably. I ran the next block with a string of yellow nastyness teathered to my nose, which then inevitabley wrapped its sticky fingers around my jacket and rosy cheeks. It was disgusting, but I had to do it.
After laughing to myself I got to thinking. This snot rocket practice is a lot like confession. Stay with me here, I know my thought processes are as entangled and outrageous as a toddlers hair-do after an afternoon nap, but don't give up on me just yet. The fact of the matter is my nose was maxed out with ugliness and it was absolutely necessary to clean out so that I was liberated to once again, breathe with ease. This is not unlike the need to confess our sinful brokenness God, and to one another. There are countless references in scripture that encouragingly command that we confess and repent from every stumbling block that keeps us from Christ. I love the words of David in his 32'nd Psalm;
"When I kept silent my bones wasted away"
David is expressing that in our silence, when we refuse to give voice to the corrupt strongholds in our life, we literally grow sick; our bones waste away and we are left with a strength that has been sapped by the heat of summer. In our refusal to confess we remain in bondage to the deceitful grip of sin. Are you still with me? Just to solidify my awkward efforts at connecting the twisted dots I will highlight further truths that encourage confession and the redemption that comes from courageously exposing our trash.
"But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers - their treachery against me and their hostility toward me.... when their uncirmcumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sins, I will remember my convenant with Abraham..." ~ Leviticus 26:40-42
"Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin... The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart." ~ Psalm 51:2, 17
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." ~ James 5:16
"In the desert prepare the way for the LORD make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God." ~ Isaiah 40:3
Over and over we see in scripture the life that comes from confessing our sins. I know that this sacred act of worship is not an easy task. To be certain it will be painful, but is it not worth the temporary pain when wholeness is its reward? Additionally it will be awkward, clumsy, horribly uncomfortable and, above all, it will require every ounce of bravery and courage; for when we dare to expose our brokeness we are ultimately risking the love and acceptance our friends and loved ones (not of Christ however, let the reader understand with full comprehension, that only Christ's love is unfailing). You will, I can assure you, fail to blow a perfect stream of snotty quagulation the first time you confess. But it is so much better to get it out and create a space to breathe.
Let us cling to the unfailing hope of the Spirit-filled words of scripture and boldly practice catapulting loogies of mass destruction and rid ourselves of the sins that suffocate in order that we may make straight a highway for our God.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us form all unrighteousness." ~ 1 John 1:9