Sunday, April 26, 2009

a little spilled juice

I didn't expect to be up right now, since just a few minutes ago I had curled up on the couch, ready to enjoy the sometimes weekly treat of a Sunday afternoon nap.  Today we put on The Tale of Desperaux and hoped that Marianna would join us in a little snooze, but as she's really turned into an every other day napper and she had a nap yesterday, she was wide awake.  I stayed up with her through the movie while Nathan rested, and then, just as the credits were rolling, Marianna jumped up, ready to play with Daddy, and I decided it was my turn for a nap.  I closed my eyes, reveling in that just about to take a nap feeling, when suddenly there was a crash in the kitchen.

At first I didn't move, waiting to hear a reaction, and then I heard Nathan's "Uh oh" and realized that my nap was not to be.  

My immediate reaction to this interruption was relief that I was there to be able to help Nathan with whatever had just happened in the kitchen.  I hopped up, ran into the kitchen where I saw half a jug's worth of cranberry juice on the floor, and flew into action, cleaning it while at the same time reassuring Nathan that I was just glad that the jug had been plastic instead of glass, thus preventing someone from getting hurt.  I then walked out of the kitchen with the juice-sopped towels, thankful that instead of wasting an hour napping, I would now be able to mop the floor and do some other chores around the house.

Well...not exactly.

The real life scenario looked a little more like this.  I heard the crash.  I didn't want to move.  I heard Nathan, and I still didn't want to move, but realizing it would be impossible to get to sleep at this point, I dragged myself up.  I slowly walked into the kitchen, where I stood staring at the pools of juice on the floor, and I concentrated on keeping my mouth shut, so as to prevent something less than uplifting from coming up.  I turned, slowly again, to go get another towel.  I slowly, slow enough to even stop and look at an email on my computer, returned to the kitchen and helped clean the remainder of the juice.  I then thought about mopping, but instead made myself a chai, and sat down on a chair to commiserate my lost nap.

And that, my friends, is what my gut level reaction to an interrupted nap really looks like.  It's not pretty.  In fact, as I sat here, I began to think about how far removed I am from true unselfishness.  Sure, I love to help my kids and my husband, and I enjoy doing things for them, but only as long as it doesn't interfere with what I had in mind for myself.  Which of course, falls a little short of the definition of truly considering others before myself.

That got me thinking about what true unselfishness would really look like.  It's so foreign to me, that it's difficult to truly comprehend the idea of people caring more for others than for themselves.  I can imagine it happening for a few hours of volunteer work, or for special occasions like birthdays or mother's day, but every day, all of the time?  That's another story.

Jesus talked so much about this idea.  He knew that it doesn't come naturally, yet being fully human, He did it.  He is our only model of living a truly unselfish life.  And what did He tell us?  He said to love others as we love ourselves.  Give to those who are in need.  Spend time caring for orphans, widows, and the poor.  Forgive.  Do everything with a cheerful heart.  All of these things speak of what an unselfish nature would look like. 

What's even harder for me to believe, is that through Jesus and the power of the Spirit, all of these things, eventually, can become my first nature.  As evidenced by the spilled juice incident, I'm not quite there =).  But I believe God's word when it tells me that through Jesus, we can live the life He wants for us.  I believe, as hard as it is to fathom, that someday, that imaginary reaction I described could very well be my own, and if it is, it will be nothing but a testimony to how great God's power is to change those who believe in Him from the inside out.  

Believe me, that's what I want.  Am I beating myself up about it?  No.  I realize that I make mistakes, and many of them, every day.  I also realize that God forgives me every time I ask Him, no matter how repetitive and frequent that asking might be. But what I'm saying is that God's word tells us that the longer we walk through this process of sanctification, the more we look like Jesus.  And the more I look like Jesus, the less the spilled juices of the world will be able to throw me into a disgruntled funk.  I know it's a process that happens over a lifetime, not overnight, so one day at a time, hopefully getting closer each day to looking more like Jesus and less like me. 


Anonymous said...

Ok, so when I was reading your post and the first version of your response to the crash I was seriously thinking, "yeah, right...WHO responds THAT way?? This girl is like superwoman!" Then, as I read on I started laughing hysterically...I'm glad to know you are human. And even as we strive to be more and more unselfish, I'm glad that God and the people we love understand that we are still attached to these tents of flesh.

Thanks for the laugh!

sarahdodson said...

This is a terrific post. I find myself so often being very selfish, and it truly does sadden me. In Christ and his power alone, we can overcome these natural tendancies. Thanks for sharing this:)

Dee Dee said...

Good post, Angie. Thanks for sharing something I needed to hear. Even today I had a "Nap interrupted thus I am a BEAR" experience.
Point well taken : )

Emily said...

Great insight. Thanks for sharing.

Jess said...

Thank You for this post. I needed a reminder.

Emily said...

I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog. I check it at least once a day for updates!! I started reading it right before sweet Poppy was born & I've followed your walk through that & through Adrienne's adoption. I love your attitude & I really love your writing!!!
I tagged you in a blog entry called 8 things. It was just a little exercise.I thought it was interesting.
Thanks for sharing all that you do. I find you uplifting & an inspiration!!
Emily in Mississippi

Allison said...

I love this post! I have really been wrestling with my selfishness lately. Which is moment by moment;) But, I am stopping and trying to think about it in the same way you wrote. I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit has been convicting me of my selfishness. Calling it out and asking for forgiveness. Also, realizing that this is part of sanctification has been such an encouragement to me...instead of a disappointment. Not to say I don't get frustrated by not getting my way......ahhhhh!

1 Corinthians 10:13 has been such a comfort to me and I really need to cling to Him and His word:) He will provide a way out!

patty said...

Oh, Angie, I thought at first I was going to have to stop reading your blog. I felt so unworthy! haha I'm so glad you responded in a not so perfect way...makes me feel better! Isn't God wonderful that He loves us no matter what and even on days when our selfishness gets the best of us?