Life is full of little hassles and inconveniences, isn’t it? Ordinarily we can handle a fair amount of these snags…if they come in suitably spaced intervals. It is when they begin to stack up that we begin to fret.
We know that God’s grace is sufficient for everything, but I’m afraid we tend only to avail ourselves of it for the big things that seem to be too much. Does He care about this traffic jam that is throwing a wrench in your plans? Is He concerned about the full coffee cup that your child just spilled all over the magazines in the living room? Is His eye upon you when the babysitter cancels only minutes before you are to walk out the door?
How much smoother life would be if we would learn to take the little irritants to Him. To nip them in the bud before they start to rub us raw. This is a bit of what walking in the Spirit looks like. How much more amiable we would be…how much more usable to the Spirit we would be without all that piled up frustration clogging the works?
Today I was impressed to think of how I can minister grace to my family, to help keep the little pokes and nuisances at bay. How can I smooth out the wrinkles of the day? It is really very easy, but it requires being inconvenienced. It requires denying a few moments of what I have convinced myself I deserve–“me time.” Here is what it looks like practically for me:
- when the toilet paper roll is empty, replace it. If it is nearly empty, make sure a new roll is handy.
- Keep a pile of fresh towels in the bathroom.
- if the soap in the shower is down to a scrap, swap it for a new bar.
- set up the coffee maker the night before so there is a hot pot available when my husband gets up.
- put together his lunch the night before and be sure he knows where it is in the fridge.
- make sure the water pitcher in the fridge is full
- be sure there are healthy snacks available for all the “bottomless pits” in the house
- help the kids to be faithful in their chores so there are clean dishes, no overflowing trash cans, and the bathroom is nice for people to use.
- make sure there are always batteries in the house 🙂
- be sure my husband has clean uniforms
- First and foremost…to rid my heart of clutter, bumps and puckers by staying in the Word. The scriptures help me prioritize. They also help me see beyond symptoms to heart matters (both my own and that of my family). Prayer calms my heart, reminds me of my own neediness so that I can act and react in humility. It also reminds my self-sufficient heart that resting in God’s sovereignty can unwind, unravel, and perfectly press even the most stubborn of life’s creases.
Sometimes this process involves being aware of when these snags are occurring in the lives of our children, and helping them manage them in a way that pleases the Lord. For instance, our son was out splitting wood for the wood stove. I could hear him yelling in the carport, and looked out the window in time to see him swing the axe very recklessly with a follow-through that nearly grazed his leg. He was trying to split a very dense log and was beginning to get angry when it did not yield to his efforts. I asked him if he would take a moment and pray. In the meantime I made some cinnamon toast (his breakfast had been rushed, and this is one of his favorite breakfast treats). I took it out to him, gave him a couple of ideas on technique, and he sat on the chest freezer and munched as his heart calmed. He is now completing the task, with a new outlook. Partly mommy smoothing wrinkles, partly mommy teaching Michael how to smooth his own. 🙂
Other times this de-wrinkling involves learning not to nag (which is my natural recourse in this process) but rather to provide tools for my kids to help them stay on task. To put up a fun chore list that can be checked off helps. Purchasing a desk top calendar for our high school student has helped her to see that she can expedite wrinkles too. Making sure they know where to find the tools to complete their jobs is a plus. Occasionally chipping in and helping them complete their list when a day is particularly full ministers grace to them and to myself.
The above list doesn’t cover the whole gamut of housekeeping, obviously. And, certainly every member of the household should be doing many of these same things. Hopefully I can teach by example. Our theme verse throughout the summer was this:
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”~Philippians 2:3
Further along in the context, we learn that the Savior was a servant. That is what this is. Treating others not only how you would like to be treated, but going a step further and treating others better than we treat ourselves. Truly, if we all take a few paces back from the mirror and give ourselves an objective once-over, we treat ourselves very well. Esteem others even more highly. This is the essence of the Savior’s sacrifice.
So, how can you smooth out today’s wrinkles?