Sometime this year, I fell out of the habit of flossing. I’m not sure when it happened. Maybe it was when I ran out and forgot to put it on the grocery shopping list. Maybe it was when I decided I was too tired one night and just chose not to floss. It was easier to “forget” the next night and the next.
This morning, I realize I really need to floss. I find the floss, saw it down between my teeth, and feel surprisingly good about this activity.
It feels like I’m living with flair when I floss.
I learn that bacteria in the mouth starts to harden into plaque within only 48 hours. In just 10 days the plaque becomes tartar–rock hard and incredibly difficult to remove. Tartar leads to gingivitis which leads to periodontal disease (not fun).
I think about my week and how hardened my heart often feels. I wake up some days and feel the weight of my own selfishness. In just 48 hours (or less), I can turn from a spirit-controlled, loving wife and mother into a narcissistic she-devil demanding her own way. Left unchecked, in less than 10 days, I’m off in the pursuit of false dreams and false gods. I’m in a rage: complaining, entitled, tearing apart my family. Who is this woman?
How do these attitudes and behaviors lodge and harden? What could I have done to break up that bacteria and stay fresh and clean before God? I remember the Psalmist who wrote,
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Living with flair means I floss. I apply, on a daily basis, the truth of God’s word against every surface and root out even tiny–seemingly harmless–bacteria that overtakes and hardens in just hours.
I ask God to reveal “any offensive way in me.” And when he does, I confess and know that, as 1 John 1:9 claims, “God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
I can’t forget this habit, this flossing.
Journal: How can I build in the practice of confession on a daily basis?