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Michel: Shiny successes shouldn’t hide improvements

So if you come into my home right now, I will usher you into the kitchen where we can sit around my table and drink coffee. Please don’t ask why the door to my dining room is closed.

Or if you want to sit in the living room, that’s OK, too. I’ll move the laundry that’s not yet folded, and we can sit on the couch and talk.

But we won’t go into the dining room. Should you want to sit at a table, there’s one on the patio, we can eat there. Just not the dining room.

Why would I steer you away from that room? Because it’s messy and I’m not at all proud of what I’ve let it become. The table is covered with boxes and bags of stuff I bought at after-Christmas sales.

But I have a good reason.

My granddaughter Olivia is celebrating her second birthday at my house, and she wants a Frozen-themed party.

The day after Christmas, her mother Monique and I began the hunt for snowflakes, silver décor and other snowy things.

I proudly showed my finds to my daughter Lauren as soon as I finished the first round of shopping.

“That’s nice,” she said. “But are you forgetting that Monique’s sprinkle is the week before Olivia’s party. What are you doing for that?”

“I totally forgot about the sprinkle.”

Until a couple of years ago, I had not heard of a sprinkle. While a baby shower is given for a woman expecting her first child, a smaller celebration, a sprinkle, is planned for the second.

For my family, it’s just another reason to eat cake.

Lauren stared at me in disbelief as I continued, “Can we get away with having a Frozen-themed sprinkle so I could just decorate the house one time?”

“You could call it a flurry,” my brilliant daughter-in-law Ashley suggested, and I returned to the store in search of more icy, glistening decorations. That is why the dining room is off limits for now.

As I recently prayed a familiar scripture, Psalm 139:23, 24, “Search me, O 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,” a mental image of my dining room popped into my mind.

Like my home, there are areas of my heart I sometimes want to close off. I want to direct God to the areas of improvement I’ve made, the growth I’ve achieved and the far too few scriptures I’ve memorized.

Then I want to steer Him away from attitudes that continue to crop up and the fear I entertain.

The pretty, shiny things stored in my dining room will come together to help create wonderful memories. The junk I try to hide in my heart has to go.

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.