Scraping barnacles, losing spiritual fat, cleaning house.

I wish I’d seen barnacles sometime in my life. I don’t like using cliche metaphors unless I’ve seen what I’m talking about. And I’ve heard that barnacles cling to the bottoms of boats and slow them down. And I’ve heard that it’s important to scrape them off from time to time lest the boat gets bogged down.

I spent the day yesterday scraping barnacles out of my office and off my heart. But since I’ve never seen barnacles, I can’t use that image.

Parts of my office hadn’t been adjusted since I moved in 53 months ago. A drawer was full of empty router boxes from some network projects we’ve done. There were drafts of various sorts, old catalogs, and pictures from projects that are long over.

I also took a couple steps on major projects, steps where the absence of action was slowing the progress of my heart. I was feeling trapped until I brushed off the inertia with a few keystrokes.

As I was thinking about my experiential ignorance, I remembered another image, this time about running. I’m not a runner, but I’m walking and riding more. And realizing the way baggage limits progress. Sometimes it’s the baggage of wrong actions and wronged relationships. Other times it’s just distractions we picked up along the way. The writer of Hebrews says,

It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever..

Spiritual fat. Parasitic sins.  That’s cleaning my office, clearing piles, ending collections.

10 thoughts on “Scraping barnacles, losing spiritual fat, cleaning house.

  1. Pingback: Scraping barnacles, losing spiritual fat, cleaning house « My Perspective on Loving, Living, Learning and Laughing

  2. joseph ruiz

    I have never seen actual barnacles either Jon; however, I have always found this image or the image of the process instructive. Sometimes I think you must have a wiretap in my office because this message is to spot on – I need both kinds of cleansing. I hang on to stuff old files etc as a security blanket. I need to purge. Thanks for the message.


  3. emilyinmaine

    On the Discovery channels Frozen Planet there was a kind of whale that went to the same shallow place each year to scrape the barnacles off. Watching them was a lot like watching a special dance. Isn’t that so what the invitation is? We think we like some of our barnacles – they are part of me and my personality – mine. But when we deal with the baggage we are living I. A whole new freedom dance.


  4. David

    Thankyou for this metaphor. As a follower of Jesus, shortly after being ‘born again’ I had the only vision I have had to date of a sailing journey. Capsizing and righting again, large wave attack and raising banner of truth, moving on with the spirit and basically setting out as a traveller in this world (represented by water), to a heavenly destination. The Lord has continued to speak to me through this kind of parable of sailing. Some people read about sailing, others are actually sailors?!

    I just had a picture that I need to clear the barnacles away and found your post!

    May God bless all who are earnestly trying to follow the narrow path behind Jesus.


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