Life offers lots of opportunities to learn. Some lessons are liberating, some difficult. There are some that seem small and insignificant at the time but days, months, or years later we encounter a situation and say, ‘Aha, that’s what that was all about!’ God uses others to teach us about ourselves also. My family has been used time and again to highlight good and bad points about my character, shining the light on areas I need to improve in. Usually I notice more ‘teachable moments’ for myself during seasons of stress, and I find myself in those quite often.
These last few weeks we’ve been preparing for an upcoming move, only across town not across the country again, and I’ve started a new job. This move requires preparation and so does the training for my job. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and I feel ‘they’ may be somewhere close to right as I try to retain a large amount of new information. Coming home at the end of the day and looking at piles of boxes and rooms that need to be packed and cleaned, as well as papers that need reading and remembering, and knowing there are homeschool issues that need my attention can leave me feeling overwhelmed to put it mildly.
On my day off, I had plans to tackle as much of it as was humanly possible but I found myself sitting on the couch with a large cup of coffee, and then another, trying to put off what I knew was necessary. Did I mention that I also have issues with delegating? Well, I do! I feel like I need to be the one to do things so that I can micromanage how they’re done. There is no such thing as, ‘As long as it gets done does it matter how it happened?’ in my books. I sometimes remind myself of a math teacher we had in high school. I couldn’t understand why, if I had arrived at the correct answer, he was bent on seeing the work that showed how I had gotten there. And now, here I am.
On that day, my two youngest children wanted to help their mommy out by packing their own things in boxes. I decided to let go of the reigns and let them do it. I even told myself that it didn’t matter what went into the boxes, as long as I didn’t have to put it there. I listened as they threw things in boxes, I cringed as they emptied containers of hair clips and jewellery out into boxes, and then I reminded myself ‘You don’t have to do it!’ and let them embrace independence.
As I sat enjoying my coffee and listening to them talk and work, it occurred to me: God doesn’t care if we do things perfectly, He loves our effort. He’s not watching over us as we carry out assignments lamenting that we aren’t doing it exactly right. After all, how can imperfect people do anything perfectly? Just as He gave power to Moses, courage to Gideon, and grace to Paul, He gives us what we need where we need it and cheers on our efforts the same way we do when our children learn to do things on their own. It may not seem like a big lesson but its encouraged me several times this week as I’ve struggled to learn new things, it’s given me the drive to do my best and try.
When we begin to unpack those boxes, I’m anticipating that the things inside may not all belong together, some sorting will have to take place on the other end, but the kids have gained a sense of accomplishment and I’m proud of them. God is proud of us too when we take a step out of our comfort zone and try to do things for Him that we may feel ill equipped to do. He gives us the direction, and we just need to be obedient and do our best. He honors our effort and our desire to do His will.