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Self Control Lesson from a Ready-to-Explode Vacuum Cleaner

Self Control Lesson from a Ready-to-Explode Vacuum Cleaner

exploding-vaccummEver Had One of Those Days?

You know the type situation I am talking about. You were up all night with a vomiting child, the phone rings at 7:00 a.m. it’s the Realtor with a potential buyer that has to see the house at 10:00 a.m. You scramble out of bed, throw the pile of soiled sheeting, wash cloths, towels from last night’s projectile vomiting episode into the wash, and rouse hungry children while hubby is in the shower.

In the dining room you encounter a large puddle reminding of your dog’s weak bladder–lovely. Go to the kitchen for paper towels and a quick survey of the house tells you it is physically impossible to have this home show ready by 10:00 a.m. without a bulldozer. You clean up dog urine, wash hands, pour bowls of cereal, skip your much needed coffee and give yourself a much needed pep talk. You can do this. You have to do this. Flashback to the previous night’s movie in which Spiderman’s uncle said, “With great power comes great responsibility!”

You courageously charge through the house, laundry basket in hand, snatching toys, newspapers, school books, magazines, etc. You ignore the childrenarguing over the toy in the cereal box because you are on a mission. You remove enough clutter to see the carpet only to see it is covered with smashed orange Doritos. You reach for the vacuum only to discover the bag is full, not just slightly full but about-ready-to-explode full. And surprise, it was the last vacuum cleaner bag.

Your children’s verbal argument escalates into a physical battle of flying wet cheerios. You stop the war, demand everyone drop the weapons, I mean cheerios, and instruct them to pick up the plethora of Legos and G.I. Joes under the dining table– skipping the urge to explain what plethora means – this is no time for vocabulary lessons.

You move outside to fight your own battle to empty the overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag in to overstuffed garbage can. Your pretty pink bathrobe acts like Velcro attracting pieces from the disgusting dust cloud ofdirt, dog hair, food items, and dust of revolting who-knows-what.

Back inside with a less full vacuum bag you (somewhat loudly) instruct the rowdy and still arguing children to get dressed and not to pull all the clothes out of the drawers. The Legos and G.I. Joes remain untouched under the table.

About this time, your sweet hubby appears freshly showered, dressed and ready for his day and yes, he is actually humming. . His smile quickly disappears as he hears your dark mumblings as you stuff cereal bowls into the dishwasher. He quips, “Why are you in such a foul mood? That’s it–the last proverbial straw; the camel’s back has just snapped. You are 100% in the flesh ready, willing, and able to dispense a savage tongue lashing to your one true love.There is absolutely nothing, nada, zero, zip inside of you prompting you to walk in God’s Spirit of self control, love, or kindness.

Ok, you probably already guessed, this was not some imaginary housewife. This happened to me yesterday. My poor hubby got an earful and I woke up this morning on a guilt trip (not even a shiny clean house has helped my mood).

Where is the Fruit?!

I recently did a study on the branch abiding in the vine. How do I so quickly rip myself away from the vine? How is it I am so quick to jump into the flesh? Where was my self-control? Where was the love? Where was my witness? Where was my firm foundation? What kind of spiritual fruit was I showing?What is the secret to walking and remaining in the Spirit? Where is the list of steps to follow? This morning I poured all this out to my friend on the phone. She was in her car and didn’t have a lot of time for a lengthy response. But before we hung up she left me with something profound. She said, “The key is preparedness.”So I began thinking, how can I be spiritually prepared for the next mishap or disaster? How do cities prepare for crises such as hurricanes, tornados or a tsunami?

hurricane_prepare_self_Control

Hurricane Preparedness / Self Control Preparedness

I am originally from Florida. A lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.

Preparing in advance is the key to avoiding catastrophe. Most who die in hurricanes could have been saved – if they prepared and followed the instructions and directions given to them.

Shelter from the Storm

The first thing on the hurricane preparation list is getting to a solid strong shelter (home or school); you need to be inside during the storm or you need to evacuate to a safe shelter.First on the spiritual preparedness list is also a firm foundation –a relationship with God through Christ. Without this, disaster is certain.

Hearing the Warning Signs

warning sign of bad weather ahead

To prepare, you must recognize warning signs. A hurricane watch means conditions are possible. A hurricane warning means conditions are expected. Did I have any warning signs?You have to have communication to hear the warnings; i.e. radio, phone, TV, Internet, friend.

God gave us warning system to prepare people in the Bible. He gives us these stories to prepare ourselves. God gives us the Holy Spirit to warn us of possible danger.There is one thing that stops us from hearing the Holy Spirit—sin. Rejecting sin in our lives is a process of moment by moment saying no to the flesh and praying to God for strength to resist temptation. taking every thought captive, and not giving Satan a foothold.

Stocking Supplies

Bottled water and batteries are the main preparation supplies for hurricanes. Prayer and Bible study are the main preparation supplies to prepare for life’s problems (well, actually, for life). I became somewhat defensive at this point. I argued, “Wait a minute, I pray daily; I’m in the Word daily! Just how much do I need to die to self and walk in the Spirit?” Obviously the answer was more prayer and Bible study than I was doing —because I was not prepared.

For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Reaping flesh means I was sowing flesh. I need more prayer and Bible study. As I began writing about this experience I realized the overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag in my story symbolized me! (Wow, writing to learn really works.) Was this one of my warning signs? While I was emptying the bag I was mad. Maybe if I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself I would have seen the lesson. Did a repentant heart this morning allow me to see a lesson from the Holy Spirit?

My Warning Sign

I was just like the vacuum cleaner bag – full of yucky stuff ready to explode if one more tiny thing was added. It had not just been a stressful night but a stressful month. My husband had a heart attack, we had several family overnight guests, my business had several technical problems this week (email, shopping carts and web design disasters), sick children, etc.It was one hectic month.

Overall, I was already bursting at the seams from an imbalance between demands and resources. Don’t misunderstand, these are not excuses. But they are warning signs. I (and/or my dh) should have recognized the warning signs.

Bagged vacuum cleaners require that you change the bag when it becomes full. Some vacuum cleaner models have an indicator light that will let you know when the bag needs to be changed.

Imagine a large red indicator light on your forehead indicating your stress level.

mom-warning

Wouldn’t that be neat?Imagine a large red indicator light on your forehead indicating your stress level. Hubby and the children would have a warning.“Mom’s light is glowing again, stand back!” Fixing the problem would be replacing the bag before it is full.

How does that relate to a mom full of stress? If the dirt is stress, is the bag our brain? Our emotions? Our spirit? How do we empty self of stress? (by the way, stress can also be good—but that’s another article). Preparing involves mostly prayer and Bible study to strengthen our relationship with God. We also need the relationship of people, fellowship—to strengthen us to be able to withstand storms. While reading a book on marketing, Icame across a surprising study.

When women’s brains were scanned during various experiments, their dopamine rose five times the normal levels when talking to other women. Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter that affects pleasure and motivation. Conversations with a friend can help dump a lot of accumulated dirt from our quickly filling bags.

People Need People

The Bible instructs us to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2); encourage one another (Heb. 10:25); minister to one another (1 Peter 4:10–11). Christ sent the disciples out two by two, knowing that “it is not good for a man to be alone” (cf. Gen 2:18).

Lonely Christians are often defeated Christians. Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 states that “two are better than one.” When Elijah thought he was the only one faithful to God, he began to backslide. Jonah ministered alone and developed a bitter spirit. When we share, we are getting rid of some of the build up. That is why there Bible often talks of brotherly love (Heb 13:1; Rom 12:10;1; Jn 4:20–21; 1 Pet 1:22).

Throughout history people have lived in close knit groups with extended families in the same homes. The last few generations of Americans have been much more independent. It’s my guess that this is this why homeschool support groups, blogs, message boards and egroups are so popular. People need people!I am emptying my bag now telling you this story. I plan on a conversation tonight with my hubby (yes, I already apologized) about overstuffed vacuum cleaner bags. Together –with God–we will brainstorm a way to prepare for future storms. Now I leave my list for you.

Spiritual Preparation List for Disaster (or life in general)

  1. A shelter: You must have a firm foundation; a relationship with God through Christ.
  2. Prayer: Ask for help from your loving Father who is waiting to help you.Don’t wait for your bag to be full to start praying. Ask God before the crisis to give you the strength, energy, and kindness to deal with stressful situations. Confess sin; ask not to be led into temptation; enter His gates with praise and thanksgiving.
  3. Bible: Start each day in God’s Word. You can’t build without the blueprint. Immerse yourself and your children with God’s stories. See how others were able to handle crises because they trusted Him—even when things looked bleak.
  4. Walk in obedience to be able to hear the Holy Spirit. Resist sin; take every thought captive. Don’t give the devil a foothold.
  5. Love one another: bear one another’s burdens. Be there for someone and ask them to be there for you.

 

 

 

About Robin Sampson

42 comments

  1. What a wonderful, thought-provoking , gut-wrenchingly honest portrayal of a woman’s life on overload.
    I can relate, and I have been there, in the lst month also-and though I have missed the exploding part on dh, I am seething inside, and need to let it out somewhere safe.
    It is exactly what we have been talking about-this isolation christianity we have been living the last 18 months since our move, and wow, does that hit a person harder than expected.
    God Bless

  2. Wow, Robin!
    As usual, you blow me away with your candor and insight.
    Thanks for your gifts of service to us all who sit at your feet. Here and on the elist.

  3. I don’t know but for some reason, this post in particular struck me as different to your usual writing. But that different is GREAT! FANTASTIC!!!!!

    I plan to reread it a few times and allow the truths of it to simmer in my heart.

    Bless ya,
    Susan

  4. Thanks! I needed that!

  5. My friend emailed me this link yesterday after she and I had discussed a similar situation in my life. Even more cool, I had an even more similar discussion with God in the car the other day. “Lord, I feel like it is somehow possible to walk in your Spirit all the time – even in those extremely challenging and stressful moments – but how?!” I think you answer confirms what He told me. More of His Word, more constant communication with Him, and saying no to sin *every* time. It inches its way in and gets between us and Him, and the more that’s between us, the harder it is to listen, especially in those “ready-to-freak-out” moments. Thank you, and God bless!

  6. didn’t know there was a blog for one of my favorite curriculums, yeah!!

  7. Very thought provoking. Thank you.

  8. Dear Robin,
    Just stopped by to say Hi.
    Thank you for these precious thoughts. I have enjoyed reading your blog. You are a blessing!
    In Him,

  9. I found your blog by accident. My son and I used the Heart of Wisdom study Ancient History Adam to Messiah several years ago. My 11 year old is especially interested in history now so who knows we may try it again. Nice to see you blogging and I really enjoyed reading through some of your entries.

  10. sillysue

    Thank you for this post. It is full of wonderful information and encouragement. With humor!

  11. Sandra

    I’m so glad to find your blog; I really got a lot out of your Heart of Wisdom book a couple of years ago, and began applying it immediately that year in regards to DOING something with the Bible story we just read. I appreciate your “Bible First” focus.

    Your website is so rich with resources; I just want to thank you so much for all the time and effort you have expended thus far, and I want to encourage you to press on to use your gifts for the edification and education of us all. Thank you again!

  12. Michael Morgan

    Thank you for this super post. Deeply moving and humorous! I have enjoyed reading your blog.

  13. Rachael Perry

    Super post. Thank you!

  14. Sabrina Thompson

    Well said. Very encouraging. I’d like to see more post like this.

  15. I loved this post. I can really relate to it! Thanks for your words of wisdom.

  16. S Chin

    Dear Robin,

    I happen to find your blog posting through a link from another website and I must say it feels like it’s the message God is trying to get across to me.

    Thanks so much and God bless.

  17. Its just piousness of your mind. There are very few who have good thoughts. The only solution to any problem is to surrender yourself completely to the god and then see how your god start solving and giving you which you never thought in your life.

    And believe me if out of total population if only 1% of people think and act like you then it is impossible that either human or nature can act anything wrong.

    Thanks Amiee

  18. wow, this is such a vivid portrayal of how hectic ones day can be.

  19. This post totally hits home. I love it!

    Courtneys last blog post..Slow-Cooker Sweet And Sour Brisket

  20. I’ve read this before, but the Lord knew that I needed your words to remind me that I am not prepared. Thank you Robin!

  21. I couldn’t help but start to laugh when I read this post. Being prepared and staying connected to the Lord is the best way to work your way through. Thanks, Robin, for the gentle reminder as to where our focus needs to be.

    In Christ,
    Kris

  22. This is SO GOOD Robin.
    Thank you.

    Blessings and Shalom~
    J

  23. May God Bless you Christian women.

    I hereby set you all FREE IN THE MIGHTY NAME OF THE LORD JESUS!

    You are no longer slaves to the old covenant. I am not really doing anything, other than pointing out that God loves all of us unconditionally, and please do not enslave yourselves with old Jewish law.

    The Jewish Religious leaders killed Jesus. A man here to set us free with love. Sons of Satan. Free yourselves today.

    May the Almightly Lord Bless and keep you,

    The War Tiger

  24. Oh, by the way, you cannot “self-control”. God has to do it for you.

    I know. I’m a man. Men are crazy.

  25. Thanks for the excellent post.I really like your blog.

  26. Rosario

    Great post. Looks like I am not the only one going through a similar situation. This has help me. God know just how to speak to me through others.

  27. Vicky D. Smith

    Robin
    Thank you! This is inspiring,I am going to consider these things in my walk.I need to pray and cast down so many thoughts.I need to open the Bible and read more of God,s word.You have shared so much in this blog. God bless you:)

  28. I SO needed to read this today. The last several weeks have been very difficult for us – with good and bad stress, but mostly bad. Death, illness, financial disaster. But a new pregnancy too! I have gone from feeling incredibly blessed, to seething with anger and becoming paralyzed with defeat. I DID do one thing right this time after multiple failures at this in the past. I talked to a friend before I unloaded on my hubby, and got the brunt of my frustrations out in a ‘safe’ place, with someone who totally gets it right now. Then I sat down and had a conversation with my hubby, and while still difficult, I was able to talk to him very honestly, and with much less anger. And I was able to have my thoughts in order when I did so. Plus, when he gives me the predicted line “what do you want from me?” I was able to tell him what I wanted, gently, reasonably, and matter-of-factly. Things aren’t perfect and I will still be that exploding vacuum cleaner again I guarantee, but it is SO true – when we pray and ask G-d for the strength to get thru – He delivers!

  29. Peter (in Australia)

    Hi Robin,
    I have been searching the Net to find “real” answers to my desperate search for tips that will increase my hearing of the Holy Spirit. There’s not alot of information (or its been very hard to find) about how to increase my level of hearing the Holy Spirit.
    The Holy Spirit highlighted to me your point of to not to be alone in pursuing this quest. I want to talk “only” about the hearing of the HS. I know its pretty selfish but I feel that seeking God first will pay off in the long run. I love talking to others about their testimonies & their Spiritual walk (it normally surprises them that I’m so intensely interested). I do this because I’m being selfish – I try (being polite& without them knowing it) to gleam any information that could increase my level of understanding of the Holy Spirit & how he works.
    I know all, that I will ever need for myself & to serve others in life is completely know the Holy Spirit.
    —–I wish there was a site that “just” concentrated on how to intimately & deeply get to know the Holy Spirit better.—– With peoples testimonies & points on how to achieve this. If you know of one please let me know. I’ve been searching off & on for years now.
    Its so hard to find. There plenty of information about beginning to have a relationship with Him (HS), but not much in-depth information.
    I believe apart from winning over sin, the major reason Jesus died was to release the Holy Spirit to all, to empower us. To let us have an intimate close personal relationship with Him (the HS).
    Thanks so much for your tips. I’ll continue the search :)
    Peter

  30. I was wondering what the possibility is of you putting this into video format for my MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group for our dec. 7 2011 meeting on self control?
    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.
    Please get back to me and let me know!
    Kayli

  31. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative.
    I am going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if
    you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from
    your writing. Cheers!

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