Last night before bed, I discovered that my son’s closet was full of clothes—dirty, clean and still unpacked from our move four weeks ago! All mingled with wet towels from a week’s worth of showering. I was rendered speechless. What do I say? On the one hand, he’s a boy. Why should I expect anything different? On the other, why are my daily requests for dirty clothes falling on deaf ears?
I told him things needed to be fixed tomorrow, but for now to just go to bed. I walked out, shaking my head. By the time I got to my own bedroom door, I stopped. I went back to my son. I sat on his bed and told him that this really doesn’t matter. I want him to be responsible and honest, but in the big scheme of things, keeping up his room is just not that important. I told him that when he lives on his own and wants to do laundry only when he has nothing clean to wear, or buy new clothes when the clean ones run out, it won’t even be my business. You know what his response was? Tears.
Max shared with me that he gets overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. He said he sometimes feels he is a mistake. My heart broke. Just a week ago I was crying myself to sleep, sobbing these same sentiments to my husband. I have really been struggling these last couple of weeks with the magnitude of my weaknesses. My mouth gets me into such trouble. And as a family-woman, this doesn’t just affect me. I bring pain and loss to my husband and kids whenever my mouth holds more feet than I have at the end of my legs. The pressure to hold my tongue and control myself is sometimes more than I can bear. To be perfectly honest, when I assess myself, the single word that sums me up is wretched.
While self-flagellation is so simple to mire me, seeing my precious son flooded me with truth, praise be to God! I let Max know the gist of my night last week. Then I asked if he knew of anyone else struggled with feelings of frustration and failure. Paul! You know, the one who wrote a substantial amount of the New Testament? He knew what was right and did wrong. He wanted to do good, and chose bad. So, we know we are in fairly good company.
We discussed the value of sitting together speaking these types of negative things about others. I repeated the sentences he’d said about himself, but substituted his name for another’s. His eyebrows shot up. It is so obvious that that kind of talk is unacceptable. How can we justify thinking it about ourselves?
I reminded him that Jesus saw us at our worst and judged us as worth dying for while we were in that state. It is a special kind of pride to decide that my badness is bigger than His goodness. If He chooses to love me, how can I not?
Finally, we talked about the insidious trap Satan uses when a fluttering of realization hits a believer. When we see how and where we have fallen, instead of getting up to move forward, we sit and scold ourselves, tally our failures, cry and slap our faces. It seems the right thing to do—maybe under the heading of confession or repentance? But, really, we are still just sitting, not doing the thing He has called us to do—because I am sure none of us is called to hate ourselves!
I am thankful for last night. Like I said, I have really been living in a funk the last few weeks. Seeing someone else in that state shook me out of it. It is so easy to fall back to it, especially when I face consequences for another offence my ‘mouth’ caused. I just spiral back to that circular thought. The motivation to stay on track for the sake of this precious young man is just what I needed.