Had a few spare moments this morning, decided to tackle my bathroom sink that I’ve been neglecting for far too long. Had a strange thought as I’m scouring… “Why is it that things meant to clean, simply get SO dirty?” As I’m tackling this item used to clean my teeth, my hands, and my face, I got to thinking about others as well. My washer and dryer get pretty gunky, noticed my dishwasher is a bit scummy, our children’s tub has a marvelous “ring” at the moment, and my shower… yikes. In posing this quandary on facebook, one lady mentioned, “Maybe it’s all just a dirt transfer”. Interesting…
As I tucked this thought away for perhaps another time, I found myself revisiting this concept again, this time while listening to my pastor. You see, he was talking about a word that I experience a love/hate relationship with, a word that often brings groans and eye-ball rolling, the “c” word I call it, can you name it? Yep, control (or the illusion thereof). Pastor Denny mentioned some phrases that got to me to thinkin. As we looked at the life of Moses in Exodus, we looked at some things in life we can’t control.
1. What and how God will provide (provision)
2. Where to go and for how long (place)
3. What relationships will go the distance (people)
4. What disappointments and suffering to face (problems)
5. What dreams will come true (plans)
So what’s the connections to my dirty mess? The fact is that mess is us, you and I. We may think we’re cleaning up our act (on our own), but truly we’re just transferring dirt, in essence, moving it around, or causing build-up in other areas. Why? Because WE want to control it, make it predictable, know our outcomes. Somewhat like an equation A + B = C, we believe that if we have”A” add in “B”, the out come will surely be C. If I read all these parenting books, take my kids to church, they will grow up to be wonderful citizens and will never rebel. How easily we allude ourselves.
Another example that came to mind happened just yesterday. The kids and I were enjoying a great afternoon at the pool. I had packed the night before, labeled all our new gear, packed a cooler, and even talked about the pool rules on the way. We were all set for a great time, all things in order (many stories begin this way don’t they), and then… my middle daughter approached me and said, “Mom, I’m so sorry, I lost my new goggles”. Goggles, small thing right? Most things are. Well, I simply jumped in with my logic, let’s-go-solve-the-problem attitude and I just knew we would locate them. An hour later, still nothing, we had exhausted all our ideas (that, and silly Mommy bought clear goggles, no color, try finding that!) I had a feeling God was watching… my reaction. You see, I wasn’t in control, I did everything within my power to locate them, I couldn’t. It was a lesson in letting go.
As I listening this morning, I thought more about my reaction to control, or lack thereof. I become frustrated, agitated, irritated, simply mad. I don’t want to be inconvenienced, I don’t want to have to wait, I don’t want to change my plans and do something else instead, I want it my way. How much time have I wasted? What lessons are my children learning from me? Could God have led us to those goggles, well he created the world in 6 days, I think He could have managed this. I think we took responsibility in correcting our mistake, and ultimately, we needed to let it go. Could I have diminished my child for her neglect, for her mistake – sadly, so easily. Instead, in prayer, he gave me calm words, words that He uses with me way to often, “Come to me, give it to me, I have life in abundance for you, let it go.”
So, the next time you’re cleaning up a dirty mess, think about this dirty little word called control. How can we give it up and walk in peace and joy today?