In a family of six, there are so many days when the kitchen sink is stacked with dirty dishes, just waiting for their turn in the dishwasher as it completes its cycle. In the name of speed and efficiency, cabinets are arranged over time to allow for quicker unloading operations.
Most important part of this particular system is storing all drinking glasses in the cabinet just above the dishwasher. This works pretty well as long as the unloader is wise enough to swing the cabinet door into its fully opened position. But it’s easy to forget when your mind is jumping ahead to the next five things that need to happen as soon as you tame the dirty dishes. When inattentive dad (me) raises up at full speed with glass in hand from the bottom rack and finds the partially opened cabinet at full-speed, the impact of a bald head on the corner of the cabinet door is a painful experience. Not sure what Yosemite Sam words came out of my mouth, but I did momentarily fear losing consciousness.
Remain standing, no blood, only a small bump.
As I regained my wits, I began to wonder how each of my four kids would react if they walked into the kitchen to find me crumpled in the kitchen floor beside my best friend, the dishwasher.
My oldest daughter, 17, would certainly kneel down beside me and put her hand on my shoulder, “Daddy, are you ok?” (COMPASSIONATE)
My youngest daughter, 15, would quickly assess the situation, “Hit your head on the cabinet, didn’t you dad? You ok?” (ANALYTICAL)
My youngest son, 7, would just start searching around on the floor for the wasp that his dad surely leaped up and swatted off the ceiling. (ADVENTUROUS)
My oldest son, 13, would straddle my lifeless body to put a dirty bowl in the sink instead of the now empty dishwasher and say, “Hey dad, I think I wanna pre-order the new Black Ops.” (OBLIVIOUS)
Four children, raised in the same home by the same parents, with such drastically different personalities. How could this be?
Obviously, parents love and cherish the uniqueness of their children.
I feel fortunate to have had an understanding in the early stages of parenting to avoid at all costs the disastrous approach of the “why can’t you be more like your sister!” mentality. I’m blessed on the flip side of this with the “error in someone else’s ways” approach where you can remind a child who witnesses a sibling’s misdeeds. “Don’t ever repeat the words that you just heard your brother use!”
Confession: I have trouble loving the uniqueness of God’s other children.
I set others up to fail by setting unattainable and unfair expectations.
I expect others to behave in certain ways or perform certain tasks that I perhaps think they should have the awareness to do without being asked.
Maybe most of us share in this dark secret:
We allow our opinions of others to be based on “who they are not” or on actions that they fail to take.
We expect every co-worker to be as hard-working and dependable as that lone overachiever……but we fail to do anything to encourage them toward better performance or help them find success.
We expect our spouse to notice the exact same unfinished tasks, messes, behavior problems, and hurt feelings, and to place the same value on them as we do . We expect them to share in the same level of patience, problem solving efforts, and discipline. But we fail to share with them our views or feelings. Fail to plan together……….and we silently stew when they don’t choose the paths that we think they should have.
“Were you just waiting for me to unload the dishwasher……AGAIN?” (because you knew I might kill myself in the process?)
At our churches? Maybe we fail to praise and encourage those who selflessly serve, while we’re too busy noticing or commenting about someone else failing to do something that we silently expect them to do (nobody ever told them or asked them…….they should just know, right?). Maybe we unfairly compare someone in a particular role to the person who held that role previously. They should “just know” all that is expected of them, right?
Forming opinions. Setting up people for failure in our own minds. Judging people for who they are not, for what they are NOT doing.
I can tell you what I’m not……..enough like Jesus.
God loves me anyway.
God’s hope really is that all his children would be like His greatest , the Son of Man.
To be more like Jesus with each passing minute, this is our Heavenly Father’s desire for us.
To be transformed into the chracter of Jesus Christ our Saviour?
A tall order, I know.
A journey with no destination on this earth.
At what point others have reached on this path, we do not know. Nor do we know the speed with which they travel.
But we do know that we make a choice to help them or hinder them on that path.
Our words, our actions, and our love can make their next step clearer and lighter.
God empowers us!
If someone is apparently sitting still, maybe we are the answered prayer to help get them moving again in the right direction.
We don’t want to miss that wonderful opportunity because we are busying our minds with thoughts of what they “should” be doing.
I can’t make Him love me less.
But I can please Him more.
God does not want us to fail. He sets us up for success in every way. And sometimes success God’s way requires us to enter the uncomfortable world of surrender.
I can talk behind your back about what you’re doing wrong or failing to do at all.
Or I can approach you and trust God to help us find a better way together.
On that same path, moving at different speeds………..I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters who were willing to wait for me, to patiently help me find the next step.
Glad that others didn’t give up on me and leave me behind.
This is one instance where it’s ok to look back. Might be leaving somebody behind. Do not give up.
MATTHEW 19: 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Might want to look up also. Might be a sharp object waiting for you.
Or you might find a patient, loving God…..waiting for you to trust Him enough to take the next step that He has prepared for you.
Philippians 4:13 (NCV)
13 I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.