Sometimes things happen that we wish hadn’t. Big or small, we just want them fixed, and fixed the way we think they should be. But that often isn’t what happens. What should we do then?
It used to be the dog that ate homework…
The semester was wrapping up. My son had worked on his history paper for weeks. It’s his second year of taking online classes as part of his homeschooling. For most of the first year, he didn’t much care about his grades. But it started to matter to him by the end of the year. And this year, he is invested.
The final class for the semester was Tuesday. He finished his end-of-semester paper Thursday, and planned to let it sit over the weekend so he could proofread it with fresh eyes on Monday. In plenty of time to make any necessary tweaks to turn it in on Tuesday. But when he went to open it… it was gone. He couldn’t find it anywhere on his computer.
I didn’t know all this. I just knew that it was a Monday, and my oldest child was in a bad mood. I had plenty keeping me busy, and I put up with the moping and attitude for quite a while before making it clear I was fed up. He lost it; his frustration and overwhelm spilled out.
Although all sorts of digital information we don’t need sticks around in unexpected places, the culmination of weeks of work was just gone. It was too much work to do in one day. So he hadn’t tried.
He’d messaged his instructor, but hadn’t heard back.
It was my job to be calm. I use Office 360, and share it with his computer. Maybe something was in the cloud. We checked. Nope. The only thing to do was start over. He found a few of the few notes he’d hand-written, but that was it. Late in the day, on the day before it was due, my son got back to work on something he thought was done. It wasn’t the time to confront and ask why he hadn’t done that earlier, or at least told us what was wrong instead of acting like a cranky teenager.
I’d prayed as we tried to find the missing file. I’d asked the people in my Listen When He Speaks Facebook group to pray; we have a weekly prayer thread. But, the paper was just gone, and God wasn’t bringing it back.
My prayer changed. What is he supposed to learn? Help him learn it…
Is there something I should learn?
Don’t wait for someone to rescue you.
I can do this myself! But that…
I’m stubborn. And there are some things I get determined to do, even if they’re not the wisest. These things often involve physical strength. One that stands out in my memory at the moment is wrestling a mattress up a stairway; which I did, thank you very much.
But there are many things that come along in life that I just don’t want to deal with. They seem too hard, like they’ll take too much effort, or cause stress or emotional discomfort. They trigger my anxiety.
People have different strengths and weaknesses. What’s hard for me may not be hard for you, and vice versa. Sometimes it’s okay to let others do the heavy lifting. For example, in my family, my husband has always done most of the grocery shopping. It just works for us. I can if I have to, but it can be really difficult. It’s not always difficult, and it’s embarrassing to admit. But it’s amazing how tall those shelves can loom, and how large and maze-like the aisles can become. What did I even come in here for? Sometimes I just have to bite the bullet and hope for the best. But that’s a different blog post.
I’m not doing the greatest job putting on my big-girl pants and dealing with a few things, but there’s one particular area God pointed out.
The details aren’t important, at least not for the blog. In part due to that whole thing about where our stories overlap others’, but mostly because so many of us have areas in our life where we run from the battle. We ignore the fact that it is a battle, even as we feel defeated by the Goliath taunting us, mocking us, pointing our inadequacy and fear.
God has given me some stones. They seem way too small, and my sling is moldering with disuse. But I need to use it. Or find a better one.
Just because my efforts haven’t seemed like enough in the past doesn’t mean they were fruitless.
I can’t do it on my own, but…
Honestly, it looks like more than I can manage, more than I can bear. I resent feeling like I have to do more than my fair share of the work.
Really, it is too much for me to manage, to bear. But, as I’ve written so many times before, knowing that I can’t is good. If I don’t remember I need God, I won’t rely on Him. Anything I seem to succeed at won’t be its best, and I may refuse to take on what I’m really supposed to. If it seems to be more than my fair share of the work, well… it has to be done, and it’s sitting in front of me. Resentment is my enemy, more dangerous that the problem that spawned it.
I can’t make others do what I think they should do. I shouldn’t wait for someone to fix this for me. I won’t walk away.
So… picking up a new sling. And taking out a stone. It feels cold in my hand. Heavy, but inconsequential in the face of my giant. Unlike David’s stone, the giant I can see won’t be slain with one swing.
But that little stone can take out the giant inside me – the mass of fear, resentment, overwhelm, anger, sadness – that’s holding me back from victory.
And my son? He finished his essay. It wasn’t ready by the next morning. But it got turned in and accepted. And he received a pretty good grade.
I hope he has learned to take on his giants and not wait for someone to rescue him. I hope I have, for that matter. It seems to be a lesson I have to be regularly retaught, even if it had never been put in such clear, blunt words before.
How about you? Are you facing a giant you’re rather would just fall asleep and leave you alone? Take some time to pray. Let God point out the stone He wants you to pick up, and let it fly.