I was powerless to stop it.
My son Micah flew around the corner with a smoothie in his hand -- a red, berry smoothie.
I immediately sensed impending doom.
You know that feeling. You’re witnessing a train wreck about to happen, but you’re helpless. It’s as if you’re moving in slow motion.
Sure enough, Micah’s feet slipped out from under him and the smoothie flew into the air. It landed, well, …everywhere. On the carpet, the walls, his shirt. Everywhere except its intended destination.
Before I even had time to (over)react, Micah bolted from the room.
Wow. He might be a slob, but at least I’ve taught him responsibility, I thought. He’s running to get paper towels to help his mama clean up. What a good boy.
After a few minutes without the expected Bounty reinforcements, it dawned on me. He ain’t comin’ back.
Nope, I was the hapless victim of a tragic smoothie hit-and-run.
Micah’s not the only one who has the tendency to run away from messy situations. Growing up, my family ran away from its problems, too. They could be dripping from the ceiling and covering the walls, but no one was willing to face the unpleasant, sticky and difficult task of mopping up the mess.
I vowed it would be different with my family. But guess what? For a long time, it wasn’t. Even now, I have to fight the urge to bury conflict and unpleasantness – both in myself and in my children. Isn’t it strange how we repeat the very history that we were so sure we would leave behind?
As I grew up, I saw the effects of using the “ostrich method” to deal with difficulties. So why is it so stinkin’ hard for me to break the pattern? Well, for a number of reasons, but three stick out in my mind. Can anyone else relate?
1.) It challenges my “ideal picture.” We all have a “perfect family” picture we aspire to, even if we do so subconsciously.
2.) It’s inconvenient. Tackling problems head-on takes time, courage and energy and often pushes me me out of my comfort zone.
3.) Pride. Acknowledging and addressing my family’s flaws isn’t easy, especially when it might require me to seek outside help.
But I’ve learned that denial has its own dangers. The longer a “stain” remains, the more ingrained it becomes, the more damage it inflicts and the harder it is to treat. That’s true, whether it’s speck or a strawberry-smoothie mess the size of Texas.
Hard as I try, I can’t fix myself or my family alone. I am grateful that God – the Ultimate Stain-Fighter – always meets me there with the reinforcements I need – courage, wisdom, healing and perseverance. He'll do the same for you.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor. 9:8 (NIV)