Weird phrase, when you think about it. But really, what does it mean? For me, it means, I’ve hit a point in this part of my life where the only place left is up. Or in some cases, looking up and waiting for God to drop down a ladder and get me out of the mess I’ve created for myself. It’s not easy to admit I messed up. Sometimes, it’s not that simple, though. Sometimes I screw up so bad, I truly believe that this will be the last time He reaches out to me.
But He‘s always there, no matter what I’ve done. Forgiveness, grace, mercy, hope, love. All of them. All of the time.
I sometimes wonder why He keeps looking out for me. I haven’t done anything to deserve it. Quite the opposite. I’m horrible. I lie, I cut corners, I’m lazy, and I’m selfish. I have bad thoughts, I have a bad temper. Sometimes, I just don’t want to do what I know I need to do. Sometimes, I want to be bad, just because it’s easier than being good. Being good is hard. It’s a choice. But it’s also work.
Let me tell you how I came to the realization that I’m not any good. I used to dread my daily chores. Because cleaning had to be done every day. Every day. Toilets, floors, clothes, dishes, paperwork, emails, clutter. Cleaning the kitchen was my nemesis. No matter how many times I cleaned up that counter, I’d turn around to put something into the fridge and, low and behold, the counter miraculously was dirty. AGAIN! Then one day, I decided I’d just not clean it. I’d wait to see how long it took somebody else to pick up the dirty dishes. To put away the jelly jar. To empty the trash. To clean up the evening meal.
Never ending chores every day.
I’m not kidding when I tell you that it took 4 whole days before one of my family (I won’t mention names) actually complained to me about how lazy I was getting. Wasn’t it my job to clean up after them? My husband had his work every day. The kids had school, sports, and clubs. It was my job to clean the house. It was my job to cook meals. It was my job to buy the groceries. It was my job pay the bills. It was my job to take out the trash. It was my job to wash, dry, fold, and put away the laundry. It was my job to find those lost items around the house. It was my job to drive them to their commitments. It was my job to… and the list went on and on.
I stood there, dumbfounded that I was getting lectured for not carrying my weight around the house. I should have been pleased that someone actually recognized what I did around the house day after day. But I was hurt. I felt betrayed. If they noticed that the kitchen wasn’t clean (which, by the way, is the only thing I stopped doing) why didn’t they step up and clean it? Why didn’t they make an effort to help me out? They didn’t ask if I was sick. They didn’t inquire if anything else was wrong. They didn’t even ask why I stopped cleaning. They stood there, accusing me of being selfish and lazy. Me? Selfish? Lazy?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
Sure, there were weeks where the laundry got away from me and they had to ask where a uniform or shirt was. But most weeks, I have laundry washed and put away before they even realized that I’d done it. There were nights where I’d been busy all day and forgotten about dinner, or other nights where the day got away from me (stupid craft projects!). But my family doesn’t suffer from starvation. My pantry, fridge, and freezer always have something edible inside. And while there was a time when a bill or two was paid late, now, with all these wonderfully automated bill pay programs, I haven’t had a late bill in over 5 years. Cleaning house has been broken down to daily jobs, instead a one day mad rush to get it done.
I drive around the world and back in a week delivering kids to sports, activities, and clubs. Sitting patiently in my car while whoever it is finishes whatever practice happens that night. I even work grocery shopping into some of those nightly outings, too, so food is almost always available in our house.
So, who, exactly, are you calling selfish? Who, exactly, do you mean is lazy? Huh?
I actually cried while cleaning that dreadful kitchen. Wallowing in my self-pity. Crying out to God to deliver me from this ill-advised family that only saw what I couldn’t do for them. Who only recognized my short comings, instead of the gallant actions I performed every day to make their lives run so smoothly.
In the middle of one of the biggest messes I had made in a while, I can imagine God laughed at me. He didn’t step in and clean it for me. He showed me I was privileged to have a mess made by a family I was blessed to be a part of.
It was after I had finished with the kitchen that I realized I had hit rock bottom. Only this time it was basic. I had hit the bottom of my selfishness. I had hit the bottom of my laziness. And instead of digging me out, instead of saving me from myself, God handed me a ladder. He brought me up slowly from my disgrace so that I could see where I strayed. To show me where I took a wrong turn.
Be grateful, even for the little things!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m no longer selfish and lazy. I’m still human! However, the beauty in hitting the bottom of my selfishness and laziness is that I now know how to recognize what they are. I know when I grumble about another dirty dish that miraculously appears on the counter, I should stop and praise God that someone has food in their belly. When I want to leave it and hope that someone else will do it for me, I remember to thank God that there is someone else to pick up after.
Because in the middle of my rant, God quietly whispered to me, reminding me just how blessed I was to have that ‘ill-advised’ family. How blessed I am to have a husband with a job that allows me to be home to homeschool our kids. To have money in the bank to set up auto pay and not think about it. To be able to replenish groceries when needed. To have healthy, happy children that can participate in sports, clubs, and activities.
He reminded me that I am blessed. Period. With or without all of those things. I am blessed because He has forgiven me. He has redeemed me. He chose me and buried me with grace, mercy, and forgiveness. He is still there. He still wants me. Always.