Search Me O Lord

Elaine Knudtson


How strange to discover that my struggles are not unique.

When we gather in community around the living Word, the laser of conviction and confession disquiets me.

Alone I make excuses, blame the circumstances, or quarrel with my impact.

I disguise my flaws in the mirror.  Years pass without acknowledgement of change.

Today replaces yesterday and soon memories of former days fade.

Was I different before life happened?

The camera is much crueler.  It remembers. 

Candid shots are deceptive: bad light, not prepared, wrong angle?

Really?  Or do they reveal the truth I don’t want to see?

I resist mentors, truth tellers, teachers who want to dialogue without mutual vulnerability.

Is that just a diversion so I do not need to own the truth?

The child craves rules to use against others;

They resist the application to themselves.

“One base on an overthrow” I recited daily as we played kickball on the concrete playground.

Then one day I kicked the ball and made it around the bases on an overthrow.

 The indignant rant from the other team reminded me of my rule.

“No!” I retorted.  “That’s not right.”  The rule shouldn’t apply to me.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph. 4:29)

Let me speak of your sins; I can excuse mine.

As long as I control the dialogue, there is no accountability.

When I submit to you—it unsettles me and

I want to run back to the place where I am unique, special,

and posed for the camera that only remembers my perfections and hides my flaws.

“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  Ps. 139:23, 24


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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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