A few weeks ago, I wrote about what I learned from a backed up pipe. Here’s the link to my first lesson.
But that isn’t the only lesson I learned from my experience. This week, I’ve been doing a little house inspecting and my lesson has come back to haunt me. See I live near Dallas where we have very hot summers. I thrive on air conditioning and iced tea. No joke. Only my AC started acting up last month. It wasn’t a big deal. We weren’t exactly sure what happened to it, but it started working again. No problem, right?
Until this week. The hottest week of the summer (well, so far). Now we’re stuck nursing along this baby until the over-busy AC guy can squeeze us in. If we hadn’t waited, we might never have had an issue. But instead, we let the problem sit and grow.
Which is exactly the second lesson I learned from my broken pipe.
When you recognize a mounting issue, stop heaping more onto the problem.
I find this is as true with life as with plumbing (or my AC).
Here’s a scenario:
Andrea has a sweet husband, 3 kids, a successful business, a number of ministries which she leads, and a group of friends with whom she meets regularly. She has it all and a cute new puppy. But she’s always tired. When she’s carting the kids around, she’s often grumpy. She dreads going to some of her ministries and sometimes even going to church at all. So she decides to put everything on hold for a couple of weeks and take a family vacation to Disney World.
Has she solved her problem? I don’t think so. I’ve felt the trappings before. Have you? Adding just one other thing. “I’ve got Tuesday open. No problem.” Until suddenly the calendar looks like a kindergarten class project and important details are falling off the bottom of it.
In this situation, I think Andrea needs to take an eraser to that calendar. Start dropping out of groups and finding new leaders for her ministries. Only when she’s quiet before the Lord will she be able to discern what it is He wants from her.
And having a vacay doesn’t cut it. Stress doesn’t go away just because we ignore it. (Tweet This!) It’s happy to sit and wait for our return and often builds up in our absence.
Here’s another one:
Deena is an emotional eater. When she feels down, she buys a package of chocolate chip cookies. When she’s stressed or worried, she feasts on macaroni and cheese. Celebrating, she always enjoys cake and ice cream. And she eats fries when she’s bored. But the more her weight goes up, the worse she feels about herself. And the worse she feels, the more she eats because food intake is something she can control.
She’s in a spiral that only a serious decision to change will impact. Talk about heaping on more of the problem.
Yet even in this issue, God speaks to us. “O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8 NASB.
The Marji translation understands the last of that verse as saying: “How blessed is the one who comes to Him for comfort!” Not food, or people, or things, or activities, but the Lord who wants nothing more than to dote on us.
The answer for both of the scenarios is found in Hebrews 12:1. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us …” NASB
This makes me think of the scourge of kudzu. We need to be on the lookout for wicked vines that look all pretty on the outside but when left to grow will trip us up. And they seep into our lives when we don’t even see them. Until suddenly, we’re trapped. A problem started, and we let it continue to build – until it bursts.
Or backs up – like my pipe.
Your Turn: Have you encountered a pretty “vine” that looks all shiny and good, but made trouble when it was left to grow?