My point in sharing this with you is this: I’m finding comfort in these things. Not at first, but now after the umpteenth household thing has joined the opposing side (remember the conspiracy), I’m starting to wake up. These imperfect, uncomfortable circumstances that create minor stress and frustration in the moment have combined to become the tools God is using to change my heart.
Occasionally I over-analyze and over-spiritualize things. And generally when I detect myself doing this, I quickly talk myself out of the possibility for deeper meaning in the seemingly insignificant. But today I am choosing to see the potential in these frustrating circumstances. I’m choosing to look for the ways I need this frustration to reflect something about the way I’m living. I’m choosing to believe God cares enough to keep bugging me about something I need to change, and it just so happens that it’s maybe by breaking my stuff. Why not? Who am I to say God would or wouldn’t do something?
Remember when I mentioned the skin-crawling noises coming from our dryer? Well, last night my husband and I decided to see if we could fix the dryer ourselves. We’ve never fixed a large appliance and have no idea how to do that, but we have something almost as good as experience. We have internet access and a little something I like to call ‘YouTube tutorials’. We dismantled the machine–removing the front, back and top panels. We unplugged wires, unwound the belt, removed the drum, and obviously finished with a chest bump and then wiped the non-existent sweat from our brows. I noticed one small section of the coil at the back was dislodged from it’s little plastic pincher holder thing (technical term–ish). We wiped out the years of lint and dust buildup on the bottom of the machine and stuck the 1.5 inches of dislodged coil back into the pincher holder thing, and reassembled.
And that was it. Fixed. Boom.
Ungodly noise gone. Need to despise and procrastinate with the laundry for a third month because of the hassle of hanging wet clothes over every possible place in the house for days on end–gone. We saved ourselves lots of dollars and learned we can make simple repairs to appliances. If you’re keeping score, that’s a WIN-WIN.
And I was grateful. So grateful and proud and relieved. It was fun teaming up to attempt something neither of us had much business attempting and learning we do have business attempting it. It was certainly nice to save money. And it was great to work at something and see it turn out as we hoped it would.
So now I’m wondering, where else am I putting things off because I only see one unavailable solution (i.e. I spent a lot of days over the last couple of months wishing we had more money to just get the dryer fixed because I thought it was the only solution and poor me for having crusty air-dried clothes, sheets and towels–I mean, really, try not to cry, right?). Where else am I missing gifts because I’m so focused on the problem and what I can’t do to solve it?
I don’t believe in praying for things to drop into my lap…that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally pray in that way, buuuut, what I do believe is that God expects me to engage with Him in my own life. He gave me a brain and nearly unlimited access to a world of information (and tutorials on fixing dryers via the internet). Taking advantage of that made me grow a little, made me exercise my resourcefulness and made me more grateful. I’ll gladly take that gift over a few hundred extra dollars on hand to pay someone else to fix our dryer.
My faith, weak as it may be at times, is leading me to believe that God has been breaking my stuff to help break me from the traps of ingratitude — and wanting more stuff to fix the problems I have with my current stuff. If God isn’t “fixing” it, I’m betting there is a bigger problem he’s working to solve, and working on getting me to notice.
It’s easy to be aware of our need for God, to be aware of how good we had it, and how ungrateful we’ve been when things become really difficult. Terminal illness, chronic pain, the loss of a loved one; the big stuff. What’s harder for me is noticing my need, my ungratefulness, my blessings when my biggest problem is a noisy dryer and a torn bed sheet. Most of the time that’s my life. The sources of my normal day’s stresses and frustrations are so insignificant. Unfortunately, I’m pretty good at the woe is me mindset, when really, woe isn’t me.
So God keeps breaking my stuff. Or maybe he doesn’t, but he is using my broken stuff to teach me more about the roots of my problems. Hint: It doesn’t have anything to do with the noise he forsook that’s coming from my car. Bonus hint: It has everything to do with the condition of my heart and the lack of gratitude I fall into waaaay too easily most days.
I believe God uses us to create solutions to heart-, soul-, and humanity-level problems. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have and can’t do, and the ways other things and people are getting in our way, may we train our attention on the places God is drawing us to notice–the ways and places we can allow God to mold us. The ways and places we can team-up with God to create good through frustration, stress, and even pain. We can let stuff and circumstances change us or we can let God change us through stuff and circumstances. It’s one of those places where it’s up to us.
Brooke blogs at Bye, Comparison as an unveiled attempt to make the world into a better place for her two daughters. She’s not sure it’s working yet, but she vows to keep trying. She loves creativity in any form, day-dreaming, being made to laugh (which her husband and children ensure on a daily basis), doing yard-work and eating radishes. Brooke is an art teacher (formerly in public school, now privately out of her home), Christian life coach, wife, mom, and blogger. See more of what she’s got going at Bye, Comparison.