Don’t all the best realizations come when you’re doing the strangest things? When you’re in the shower, on the toilet, making your bed. While working in the kitchen this weekend, I had a realization while scrubbing a pan.
I had been working on this particular pan with a purple scrubby for probably 5 minutes. It was covered in sticky goo that unfortunately was slooooowly coming off as I scrubbed. (If it had just stopped coming off I could have called it a stain and stopped working. But alas, no.) I was drenched in sweat and my knuckles and fingers were raw from the various methods of scrubbing I had tried. I was feeling abandoned to my fate and kind of grumpy that night. In a moment of weakness, I proclaimed to a girl who stopped by to rinse out a coffee maker, “THIS PAN IS FROM THE DEVIL!!!” We laughed about it, and she went on her merry way.
I stayed, continued scrubbing, and went, “Woah. What if I treated this pan like it actually was from the devil?” If, for example, someone had handed me the pan and told me, “The devil himself caked the grease onto this pan to make you miserable,” then I would take that pan with fire in my eyes and determination in my heart and scrub it until it shone like chrome. I would refuse to complain about it, because I would know it was a trap to make me do just that. I would refuse to let it ruin my mood and how I was thinking about and treating others, because I would know he would love to cause a rift with this task. I would sing praises while I worked because I would never want to let the devil get to me with something as silly as a pan!
Yet how often do we let the devil get to us with something as silly as a pan?
What if we, as Christians, treated every affront, every trial, every slight, every misunderstanding as if it was sent directly from the pit of hell to bring us down? How much more would we command our rebellious and offended hearts to forgive, love, and rest in God’s peace? Wouldn’t we set about working through each struggle with a determined joy, just to spite the one who sent it? Wouldn’t we forgive each misguided messenger and turn our anger toward the one who actually deserves it? Wouldn’t we gather our spiritual family around us to help us persevere instead of isolating ourselves in self-pity? Can we all just do that? Can we treat each struggle that comes along as if the devil himself sent it? Because, whether he orchestrated it directly or not, he sure would love to reap the poisonous fruit that we might produce if we handle it badly.
I’ve actually seen this work a couple times, even just in the past three days. My attitude about the pan from hell (I can say that when I mean it literally, right???) immediately shifted, and I finished it up pretty happily. Then just last night I was praying about some self-pity and insignificance I had been feeling. I was feeling kind of powerless against it. I have this weird thing where I seem to have to wait to really get rid of something until I’m feeling completely overwhelmed by it. (Am I the only one who deals with that? Can I get an “amen” somebody?) Like I have to let a seed grow for weeks and weeks til it’s become a full-sized weed and made me well and truly miserable before it’s finally big enough for me to grasp and pull out. I’ve tried to figure out how I can uproot things before they grow, cut off the process at the beginning, but haven’t gotten very far with that. Well, last night I had some very fledgeling self-pity developing. I could sense it and knew it was there and would grow, but I couldn’t really muster up any powerful prayer about it. But then I remembered my new tool, and the perspective shift changed everything. I couldn’t manage to see it as a big deal before, but realizing that the devil would love for me to stew in it for two or three weeks as it grew and let it slowly isolate me and draw me back from those around me made it a big deal. He would love for it it to be a downward spiral and take up as much of my time and attention as possible. But I determined that that WOULD NOT HAPPEN. I told the devil that he wouldn’t steal my next two weeks, he wouldn’t eat into my relationships, he wouldn’t make me slowly miserable. NOT TODAY, SATAN! And it worked. Self-pity disappeared. I’m walking today with love and affection for the people around me, un-offended. Yaasss!
I love when God drops some wisdom. When I come up with things on my own, they might be decent realizations, they might be useful. But God tools have the ability to shift things powerfully, immediately, and permanently. Hurray for being His family! Hurray for being His partner in this world! Hurray for being His friend! I love this learning process with Him.