I lost a spool of gold satin ribbon. I searched my basket of craft supplies, my closet shelves, the back seat of my car—where I did discover granola bar crumbs, lip gloss, and a church bulletin from six months ago. I’d bought the ribbon to make a sash for a bridesmaid dress I’d worn in the recent wedding of a friend (by make, I mean ask someone else to tie the aforementioned ribbon in a bow). I’d planned to use the leftovers for Christmas packages. But I finally threw my hands up and consigned the spool to the unknown space where missing socks must also go when they disappear from the dryer.
Months later I pulled open a drawer in the cubby area close to our back door. This area has hooks for coats and purses, a long bench, and two drawers that normally go unused. But when I opened one, it all came rushing back to me. I’d been having a group of people over and didn’t have enough time to properly clean up. So I grabbed whatever I could, shoved it all into this drawer, and promptly forgot about it. This is not the first time I’ve committed such a crime. I’ve been known to shove dirty dishes into the oven, kick wayward shoes out of sight under the bed, and push dust bunnies into dark corners as if I’m herding cattle.
I can do the same with what I consider unsightly in my heart. Struggles, stresses, ugly attitudes, worries, imperfections. I don’t want anyone to see—what would they think of me? I don’t want God to see either. I’d better clean myself up and be presentable or risk losing His favor. So it surprises me when the psalmist extends this invitation:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (Psalm 139:23)
This is the opposite of hiding. Instead, it’s a request to be searched. Why would anyone want this?
As I ponder the answer, I think back to my lost spool of ribbon. What if someone in my home had known exactly where it was the whole time? Instead of wasting my energy and efforts, I could have simply asked, “Will you help me?” The search would have soon been over. It seems I’m hesitant to do the same with God because I don’t consider what might be found to be like gold satin ribbon. Instead, I see it as shameful and unworthy—something to be kept out of sight.
I forget, so easily, that God wants to bring everything into the light. When He does, it’s somehow transformed. The anxiety turns into faith. The fear becomes courage. The worry becomes trust. We don’t ever need to be concerned about what He might find. First, because He already knows it’s there. And also because there’s nothing His love can’t redeem.
I pulled the gold satin ribbon from the drawer and put it back where it belonged. I had plans for it. I could already see how useful all of it would be.
What if God feels the same when He searches you, searches me?
Dear God, it’s so easy to hide parts of who I am that I’m afraid for You to see. Instead, I ask, as the psalmist did, for You to search me and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. Then take whatever You find and transform it as only You can. I place all of who I am in Your hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Question for Reflection
What’s one thing you’re tempted to hide from God, others, or yourself? Write it down as a first step to letting God reveal and heal it.
This post is an excerpt from my devotional, What Your Soul Needs for Stressful Times: 60 Powerful Truths to Protect Your Peace. If you want to live with more peace and less pressure, more calm and less chaos, more worship and less worry—What Your Soul Needs for Stressful Times is for you.
What if we unwrapped the present… the current moment? Listen in as we ask “What’s one thing you’re appreciating that you used to take for granted?” and talk about how to enjoy right here, right now no matter what the future may hold.