With six kids under my roof, we tackle our fair share of messes. We wipe up milk and sweep dirt into piles daily. The next day plays the same tune … and though it sounds fairly simple, don’t be fooled!
Serious messes call for careful measures.
Take the day the boys tried to turn the bathroom into a swimming pool. Notice, I did not say the bathtub. No, the bathroom, the entire room, set the stage for this event.
Somehow, the faucet over the sink was moved to the “on” position, while the stopper in the sink was pushed down into the “closed” position.
Everyone blames the youngest son. He turned on the faucet! But even if he did, no one thought to stop him or let Mom in on the plan until the water cascaded over the edge of the sink soaking the counter and flooding the floor beneath.
Then, and only then, did someone think twice and holler, MOOOOOOMMMMMM!
I raced around the corner to find our new indoor pool and immediately understood every ticking second inched us closer to a deep end. Natural instinct drove my attention to the rising water level under my feet, but past experiences taught me –
Stop the spill before you mop up the mess.
I fought my urge and went straight to the source.
I reached for a towel to the sweet sound of water draining down the pipes, but I still couldn’t tackle the floor. Until I lapped up the kiddie pool on the countertop, my efforts to return the floor to normal would prove futile. Once I dried the dripping counter, I turned my attention to the floor, and after a whole load of towels the bathroom became functional again.
I laugh about this now, but I see a relationship between this fiasco and the way I handle my own life’s messes.
When I find myself amidst a flood of emotions, sometimes the one that grabs my attention isn’t really the mess at all.
It’s only the result of a running faucet.
The problem grows when the leak lurks someplace far less obvious. Instead of an easy-to-spot spout on the sink, the flood of emotions I drown in traces its way back to something more subtle, more like a hairline crack on the pipe tucked under the sink.
So I mop up the mess – the tears, the outbursts – but in a short while I wade through the same old puddle again.
Apparently, one of God’s chosen men felt this pain.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
King David prayed these words. David, God’s chosen and anointed, called a man after God’s own heart. This man knew the depths of his heart and determined only One is able to peel back the layers and reveal the truth.
If David needed God’s hand to unravel his innermost thoughts, I think I do, too.
Search me, God. Tell me the depths of my own heart. Shed light on my anxious thoughts. Point out where I went wrong. Lead me!
When you find yourself in a pool of emotions and can’t find a life preserver, resist the urge to grab a mop. Let God lead you to the source of the flood first. Shut down the source and feel the exhale. Then get to work on the droplets left behind.
If you’re praying this prayer with me today, Leave a Comment! I’d love to hear from you.