I have an ingrown toenail.
It doesn’t hurt as much today as it did on Wednesday, but it is still letting me know it’s there. I’ve “done surgery” on it a couple of times this week, and slowly but surely it is working its way out. But I never ceased to be amazed by just how painful something as simple as a tiny sliver of nail can be.
I have to wonder just how many “slivers” we allow into our spiritual lives. Just little bitty things that can cause horrible pain and can cripple our walk, even if just temporarily.
But there’s an even scarier thought. How many slivers do we not even feel?
There are certain parts of my feet that could endure a lot more piercing than the nail bed of my poor big toe has endured lately. Why? Because those parts are calloused. (Yes, I’m openly confessing that I don’t keep my feet nice and soft all the time.) Something could poke those spots not cause much trouble until it had pierced through the callous.
Those are the spiritual slivers that concern me. The ones that hit the calloused areas of my heart. The ones that I don’t even notice until they are deeply embedded. The ones that will take a whole lot more to remove when the time comes.
No sliver feels good when it is pressing into my raw skin. Sometimes I wish for calloused skin around that big toe, knowing it would keep the sharp edges of nail from hurting me. But the reality is that the ingrown nail would still be there. It would still be a problem. I just wouldn’t feel it until it was a much bigger problem requiring much more drastic measures to correct.
Thinking of that gives me a hunger to keep my spirit tender. Those slivers hurt, but I want them to! I want to know they’re there. I want to see how they hinder my relationship with Christ. And I want to make sure that I work immediately to get them out of the way. The process may hurt. The raw spirit might take a few days to heal. But in the long run it keeps me healthy. In the long run it’s so very worthwhile.
Lord, keep me tender this week!