Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)
TITLE: Sticky Floors
By Kristi Ketz
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As I think about these questions, the counters are covered in crumbs, papers, and clutter. My foot sticks to the floor as I walk over the area where a drink was spilled this morning at breakfast and it wasn't completely cleaned up. Children's books and toys scatter the floors. Discarded children's clothes and shoes are here and there. The store-bought lasagna box from last night is still on the counter. I have not had "time" to prepare a good, home-cooked meal for a couple of weeks because of busyness. If making a peaceful home and refuge from the world for my family is what God has called me to do then I'm sure not doing an excellent job of it.
Later in the week, I sit in my chair and listen to the person on the couch open up her raw wounds to me. Sometimes I squirm and feign interest or care. Yes, I am interested and yes I do care but sometimes it's too much to take on with what I am personally taking on. I review my grocery list in my head. My eyes wander to the sticky spot on the floor where chocolate milk was spilled when I attempted to bring my daughter with me to finish some paperwork. I nod empathically. I worry about an imagined scenario regarding my family. I then explain strategies to reduce worry. I internally boil up in anger because my schedule is jam-packed, I don't have a lunch break and I am drowning in paperwork. Then I teach a mindfulness meditation group about staying in the moment when I've lost so many moments on that very morning. It doesn't seem that my role as a psychologist, a helper of hurting people, is being performed with excellence. Is this what I have been called to do?
I pray out loud as I drive to my girls' schools to pick them up after my workday. I ask for patience and compassion. I attempt to relinquish my will for His and use my time with them wisely. I pray to have the mind and heart of Christ. Once we are home, though, I snap at them with impatience. I give in to their demands for the short-term peace and give up long-term rewards that come from consistent and loving discipline. I check Facebook on my phone to distract me from the chaos. I grab a rag and quickly wipe up my daughter's juice spill leaving a sticky spot to step in later and be reminded of the mess that is my life. Surely one of my purposes is to parent these girls and my parenting is far from excellent.
I don't have a clear vision of what God's purpose is for me in this place and time in my life. Clearly, though, as hard as I try with my human effort most areas of my life are still falling very short of being described as excellent or outstanding. My relief is found when I remember that I can't be excellent on my own. Even with prayer, reliance on the Holy Spirit, and sincere intention to give up my will I fail and there are sticky reminders all around me that there is nothing excellent or outstanding in me or my world apart from Jesus. Jesus is what makes ends meet and reconciles my attempts and turn them into excellence in the eyes of my God. The death and resurrection of Jesus that we just celebrated is my only hope for excellence.
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