As I mentioned in the previous post, the year started off with the purchase of a new washing machine. As with any electronic, I quickly realized that during the thirteen-plus years between the time I purchased my previous washer and now, the basic washing machine has undergone a major transformation. There were no longer just top loaders; there were also front loaders. Based on the scores on Consumer Reports, the clear choice was a front loader.
I was surprised that a front-loading washing machine sans an agitator could get clothes as clean as a top-loading washing machine with an agitation stick in the middle of the drum. But review after review said that the agitator had the potential to damage clothes and that this new engineering, which uses less water and less agitation, somehow produces better results. So I decided to trust the reviews and paid the extra money for the front-loading washing machine.
After almost two months, I haven't noticed that my clothes are any cleaner with the new front-loading washer than they were with the old top-loading, agitator-laden washing machine. Instead, the big thing I've noticed is that it takes more time to do a load of laundry. My guess is that the lack of the agitator has something to do with that.
And with my one-word resolution this year being "perspective," this whole agitator versus no agitator cleaning process has gotten me thinking about how God removes impurities from my heart and refines my character. It seems like I pay attention to the refining a lot more when He allows some painful or stressful event (agitation) into my life that requires me to cling tighter to Him and His Word. This process is not fun, but on the whole, it seems to produce results. And though the results might still take some time, I'm so aware of my need for Jesus that I tend to notice even the smallest changes He is making in me or my circumstances, which feels like progress is being made. On the other hand, when I don't have noticeable obstacles (agitation) in my life, I know the Lord can still change my heart. But I usually don't recognize the change or the growth because I'm not looking for it and because it's harder for me to notice.
When I think about it like that, I'm actually grateful to have an agitator in my life (even if I no longer have one in my washing machine) because I like being able to see the changes and knowing that He loves me enough to continue molding me to be more like Christ. And maybe it will help you view the agitators in your life a little differently.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4