So, interesting weekend here at Casa de Stern. We didn’t have any pressing plans, so this was the weekend that Steve and Josiah embarked on the adventure known as: Some Assembly Required.
I don’t know how it is in your home, but in ours the pattern for birthday gift-buying is always the same. Unless it’s my birthday, I – after discussing it with Steve – do all the shopping. This year, however, we discussed and then I went off the gift map and bought him this very cool ball-catching net thing. Steve seemed a little skeptical when I told him about it, but when he saw it he agreed that it would be fun and Josiah was thrilled when he opened it. Gift win!
That was then. When it was neatly packaged in a box. Today they took it out of the box and…gift fail!
This is easily an hour into the process. Please note how it’s still lying on the ground. Please also note that my husband does not enjoy projects like this a whole big lot.
I watched the action from my kitchen window and here are the thoughts that spun through my brain:
- THOUGHT 1: What a stupid gift. Why did I think that thing would ever work for Josiah? Why didn’t I call Steve and ask him to look at it first? Where did I put the dumb receipt?
- Sub-thought forming: Why do I have to do all the shopping anyway? It’s not like I’m the only one who can operate in the retail world.
- THOUGHT 2: Oh man, this is supposed to be a fun thing for Steve and Josiah to do together and now it’s going to turn into something frustrating.
- Sub-thought: Why am I responsible for everyone’s relational success?
- THOUGHT 3: Steve isn’t feeling well and this is going to wear him out. Josiah will feel badly that he wore Steve out and it will create a mindset that playing video games is better than anything else just by reason of the low relational risk factor.
- Sub-thought: Josiah will become a video gameaholic who lives in our basement until he’s 42. He will never have a girlfriend which means I will never have a daughter-in-law. Shoot. I really wanted a daughter-in-law.
- Sub-thought #2: It’s so unfair that these things wear Steve out. It’s unfair that he’s sick. It’s unfair that I picked out the gift that will remind Steve that life is not like it used to be. Life is so unfair! (Truth be told, this one hangs in the air a lot right now and I have to get really muscle-y with it or it will take over and this particular line of thinking is toxic. I’m certain of it.)
Just in time, I felt a good fresh breeze-of-a-thought from the Holy Spirit. “Do you really want to be in charge of these two men or would you like Me to take a shot at it?”
Hmmm. While the right answer is obvious, I find it’s not always easy to say and it’s even harder to do. The thing is that I hate to be in control. And I love to be in control. And I hate that I love to be in control. It’s so tempting to smack ourselves around when something we do or don’t do seems to have consequences that we didn’t want it to have. It’s easy to feel guilty or frustrated or fearful or unfairly treated. But that kind of life is self-obsessed and exhausting and it creates a breeding ground for wrong thinking.
I looked out a few minutes later and it was still on the ground. I said out loud in my kitchen, “I am not in control of this and so I will let them figure it out.”
I looked out just a minute or two later and…
Voila! Done. And they’re so proud (if you could actually see faces in my blurry cell phone pic, you would see that they are proud and happy.) You see, there’s something about facing resistance together and overcoming it that’s way cooler than smooth sailing. My tendency would be to buy a gift that makes me look like a hero, but instead I bought a gift that made my men feel like heroes.
God knows His stuff, I tell you, and on the days when I can pry my eyeballs off my own self, I have a clear view into His wonderful work.
Gotta go throw a spitball,