Imperfect Progress

I am a door-slammer.  Big doors, small doors, car doors, cabinet doors (a personal favorite).  It is my favorite way to say “Back. Off.” or “I’m MAD” without actually having to say it.  Very little room for misinterpretation.

I just returned home from Kroger where I bumped into a dear friend who asked me how I managed to be there alone.  I said that I just kind of ran screaming from the house.  I think maybe she thought I was joking. I wasn’t.

Retracing the events of the day to see where I began coming unglued, my thoughts zeroed in on the first door slam.  It happened after my son’s baseball game, where I had done my very best to maintain control of two very busy preschoolers, which is about the equivalent of trying to contain two squirrels.  A little stressful.  I walked into the house to find my husband and 2 boys laying around, watching tv, and relaxing.  Which was not a problem until I walked into the kitchen to find the mess they had left, presumably for me to clean up. Empty juice bottles, pan on the stove, dishes on the counter and sink, and then (gasp) trash on the floor???  I held up the piece of trash to my husband like he had somehow desecrated a holy temple by allowing this to happen.  I proceed to rinse out the empty juice bottle, march to the door to take it to the recycling bin, and that’s when it happened.  SLAM.  I wish I could say that I stopped, took my thoughts captive, and allowed the peace of God to rule in my heart and home.  I did not.

I made the twins a snack, and began washing the dishes and wiping the counter tops when I heard the splash of juice hit the floor. It was V8 Splash, to be specific.  A very aptly named beverage.  And this was the kind of spill that defies gravity and goes up the wall as well as all over the floor.   As I am getting towels out of the cabinet to clean up the sticky mess, another kid shoves a pair of athletic shorts at me and says “Can you wash these tonight?”  Friends, it is 8:30pm. Those are dangerous words to say to a mama at 8:30pm.  And so it happens again.  SLAM #2. Timing can mean the difference between life and death, people. Seriously.

Juice is cleaned up, with a little help from the dog, and I go back to the dishes.  Glad, really, to have something to do with all the negative energy.  But I can feel the pressure and heat rising.  And I know I am about to blow.  So, I decide that now is the perfect time to go Krogering.  And I might have made it out the door without slamming it if my dear husband had not chosen that moment to call me out.  Again, TIMING.  Never mind that he may have been totally right.  I was over-reacting.  We both knew it.  But that is WHY I needed to get out of here.  To calm down, gain some perspective, and really take my thoughts captive.  It is hard to think straight with so many demands being thrown at you at the speed of light.  But, that is life for moms.  It is messy and relentless.

So now I am back at home, calm(er) now that kids are tucked in bed and the kitchen is somewhat clean.  But still there is the regret… I might not have done any screaming out loud, but all those slamming doors can be pretty noisy.

In her book, Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst says that “Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace… imperfect progress.”  And the only way to make progress at all is to retrain myself to think differently… to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

I actually won a bracelet at a women’s event last weekend that is engraved with the words “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.”  (Coincidence?  I think not.)  And I am discovering that it’s not enough to just try to not dwell on things that do not meet these qualifications…. I must think on things that do measure up to this standard.  Lysa says it this way, “We won’t develop new responses until we develop new thoughts.  That’s why renewing our minds with new thoughts is crucial.  New thoughts come from new perspectives.”  I need a new perspective.  How about you?

Progress, not perfection.  I have said it to myself so many times.  I don’t have to get it right every time.  You don’t have to get it right every time.  But we can train our minds to respond and not react.  We can allow Christ to transform our thinking.  It is a process, not a one-time fix.

I’m gonna watch out for that urge to slam doors.  That is an “unglued” indicator, for sure!  I’m sure I have others, but I like to start out nice and slow.  Imperfect progress, remember?

I’d love it if you would share your “unglued indicators” with me! Leave a comment here, or on facebook and we can encourage one another. Good night, girlfriends. You are loved.

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