Thursday, June 24, 2010

You Can't Just Slap on a Bandaid

Today on the way home from a friend's house my daughter said she needed a bandaid. She meant she wanted a band aid "right now." I was driving at the time, so I asked her why she needed one, and she said her foot was hurting. I had noticed her walking funny on the way to the van, but she often walks a little funny just because. I knew pretty quickly what was wrong. She had been wearing flip-flops around our friend's yard, and they have boysenberry vines with lots of big thorns. I figured she had a thorn in her foot. I also knew that just putting on a band aid wouldn't help...short term or long term. Short term the pain would still be there...long term it would fester, get infected, and take a lot longer to heal. What we really needed to do was dig out the thorn, then put on disinfectant and finally a band aid. I told my daughter, who was now in tears because I wasn't stopping the van right then to get out a band aid, that I would have to look at her foot first. When we got home she went into the house ahead of me and by the time I had her siblings unstrapped and herded into the house she had already appropriated a band aid, but was still limping around the house. Unfortunately it was already late for dinner, so I threw one container of leftovers in the microwave, grabbed the bottle of disinfectant and convinced my daughter to follow me back into the bathroom where there was enough light, tweezers, and more band aids. By this time even she had figured out that just slapping the band aid on wasn't working, but she still wasn't too keen on the tweezers idea, or the disinfectant for that matter. Luckily the thorn was sticking out quite a bit and it was relatively easy to remove once I had all the tools at my disposal. After it was out we examined it, and tossed it in the garbage.

As I returned to the kitchen to continue my haphazard dinner prep the spiritual application of what had just transpired would not leave me. So many times when I witness something unpleasant in my character, or when another person offends me I would just love a quick fix. Slap a band aid on please.
Getting angry too often? Try counting to ten, deep breaths...if all else fails scream into a pillow until the moment passes. Do these techniques really get to the heart of the matter though - my heart? My anger most often comes from fatigue and fear. The former because I'm always taking on that one extra project...the latter because I like to be in control, and deep down I know I'm not. So counting to ten is good and all, but unless I address the tired and timid spirit in me I'm going to be stuck in a loop of anger. Eventually counting to ten won't work anymore. What I really need is to ask my Loving Father to use His Tweezers (His Word, the Holy Spirit, wise counsel...) and remove these sinful habits from me. I need the spiritual bactine of worship and prayer applied liberally to the affected area several times daily. Then I can rest in the soothing protection of His love, which binds up all wounds (Psalm 147:3).
What about when it's someone else's sin that offends? Shouldn't I just be the bigger person and brush it off, walk away, move on? That's just slapping a different brand of band aid on. I do believe we should work on our character so that we aren't offended by every little thing: a misdirected arched eyebrow...a gaze that lingers a little too long...a tube of toothpaste that is all squished in the middle instead of being rolled up neatly from the end. However, if we are genuinely offended, we can't just ignore it. These things have a way of revisiting us days, weeks, months, and even years later. It's not comfortable to sit with someone and say, "I was hurt by what you did..." but it is so necessary.
God has taught me this lesson so many ways, and at so many different times, but it became clear in a fresh way today. Being the one in charge of removing the thorn gave me a different perspective. My daughter didn't want me to look at her foot, or touch it in any way. The slightest brush of the tweezers sent her into panic mode. I finally told her to lay on her tummy, close her eyes, and hold her breath. That kept her still enough to give me good purchase on the thorn with the tweezers and in short order we were able to examine the trouble in an objective manner and move on. I knew that what I was doing for her was to her benefit, even if she didn't like it, but I needed her to trust me and be still. Oh, to be brave enough to submit to my Father's Hands in the same way.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him... Psalm 37:7 (NIV)

1 comment:

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

Oh, how incredibly true. A lesson that is ongoing I think!


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