As I grew up and went on to college, I was never one who fretted or was overly concerned about much. I usually went with the flow. I never in a million years would have ever dreamed I would become a control freak. But, as I have gotten older, I seem to be more concerned about being in control of things; things that really don't matter.
For example, I could have cared less early in my marriage as to how the dishes were arranged in the dishwasher. Now, almost 30 years later, I'm obsessed with the position of the dishes and especially the spoons in the utensil basket.
We turn our eating utensil handles down so the water can easily clean the portion we eat off of. There is a larger section in the basket where, if you put spoons in handle down, they slip, becoming wedged under the other section of the basket. It is very difficult to retrieve them and it really gets under my skin. How crazy is that?
Just the other night as I was unloading the dishes, the spoon scenario occurred and I went into an under-my-breath rant about who and why would anyone put them in that section of the basket. My go-to voice when I'm irritated is "the growl". You know, the "URGGHHH", mom-is-irritated-voice?
I've also discovered I'm obsessed with my never-before-cared-about, 5 step process of washing clothes. First, I pour the aroma beads in, then turn on the water, pour in the detergent, put the softener in the dispenser, and THEN put the clothes in. If I'm around when another person in my family is washing clothes and they put the clothes in first (before the beads or turning on the water), I have to walk away or I'll have a spasm. What is wrong with me?
I should be grateful that somebody, anybody in my household would load the dishwasher, or do the laundry for goodness sake. I feel like I've stepped into the old black and white movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Who or what has invaded my skin?
And the worst is how I've become a terrible back seat driver, although I'm seated in the front seat. Just ask my husband. Bless him! (Wait! On second thought, don't.) It's like sitting on pins and needles every time we go somewhere just because I'm not the one at the wheel. Good grief! What is up with that?
Okay, I know what some of you are thinking. It's just part of the maturing process of a hormonally challenged woman. Well, it may be. But, we are not going there today, or any other day.
So how did this fearless, fun-loving little girl who grew into a carefree, never-sweat-the-small-stuff kind of wife and mother morph into an anxious, need-to-be-in-control, control freak?
Here's my take:
As the grown-ups in our lives, the people we've always gone to for a sense of security, advice and wisdom, begin to slowly slip away, I think we become anxious. We look around and realize that we are now the grown-ups in the room; the ones looked to for guidance, security, advice, etc. It's a very sobering thought.
I've always thought of grown-ups as being those adults at least 20-30 years ahead of me; full of wisdom; the ones who keep me from acknowledging that I'm getting older. Grown-ups are the ones in control. Right?
Wrong! Especially if I'm becoming the grown up in the room. None of us are really in control and we definitely don't have all the answers.
At all stages in our spiritual life, we are children learning how to grow into the mature image of Jesus Christ; daily practicing how to let go of things that don't matter, and how to handle with grace the things that do, as well as, learning to be grateful for the unexpected, out of our control, sometimes messy moments of life.
Growing up begins with an attitude of gratitude; a heart of thanksgiving-for ALL things. I think I'm beginning to get it.
As I become intentionally grateful for the dishwasher and the people who help me with the chores, I spend less time having "rant-fests". Instead, I spend more time having "praise-fests", giving God glory for the family He has given me a lifetime to love and serve.
My grown-up attitude is always being tweaked. Through trials of trust and surrender, my faith is stretched. It can be messy and uncomfortable, but it's all slathered in God's amazing grace.
I'm still growing and learning to recognize and admit my ungrateful heart moments, and in the strength of the Holy Spirit, reel in the moodiness, the occasional, unexplainable rant, and even my anxious thoughts.
When ungratefulness invades our hearts, our homes, and our relationships, it interrupts the flow of grace in and out of our lives which stunts our spiritual growth. We need to bow the knee, ask for forgiveness from God and the people who experience our irrational behavior, forgive ourselves, and let it go. Then, as we move forward, if we have truly learned from our past failures, we make the necessary changes which reflect the character of Christ. This is a clue that we are finally growing up.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23 NIV)