Last night, I went to kiss my oldest before I headed to bed. I expected her to be asleep, but she wasn’t. She groggily asked me to reheat her rice sock.* “Of course! I’d love to do that for you.” I went to the kitchen, nuked it for a couple of minutes, and returned it to her.
Me: “Goodnight, sweetie. I love you.”
Her: “Can you put some ice in my water?”
Suddenly I cannot even.
I didn’t go all Hulk on her at that moment, but the anger and resentment were overwhelming. I was JUST in the opposite corner of the house to kindly get her something to improve her comfort. WHY COULD SHE NOT HAVE ASKED FOR ICE THEN?!?
So I sighed. (Huffed.) “Babe, next time mention that when I go to the kitchen the first time.” Off I grouched to the kitchen to get her some freaking ice.
When I headed to my bedroom, I was trying to be curious about my crazy response, but I was still a little too pissed to think very clearly. Over ice cubes.
I talked to my husband, told him I felt resentful. Taken for granted. “I feel like a servant. And not like a beloved servant, but like a nameless one.”
I was lost in all the overwhelming mad emotions because my six-year-old asked me for a pair of favors and didn’t think to consolidate them.
Friends, the inside of my heart is ugly sometimes.
I had two options to show Jenna the love of Jesus in that moment. One would have been to get the ice water with a glad heart. The other would have been to tell her no with a compassionate heart.
Instead, I chose to do the serving thing with the demeanor of a martyr. I showed her poor personal boundaries and a bad attitude.
And it’s not like this is an isolated occurrence.
How many times a week (or day? hour?) do I do what is asked because it’s the path of least resistance (rather than because it’s best), and do it with a heart that resents the request?
It occurs to me that I’m a 2 on the enneagram, which means I’m a helper, which is great. But it also means that many of the things I think I’m doing for others, I am actually doing for social currency and self-respect. Or something. So when my people act like they’re entitled to any of my services they want, when they want them, I kind of freak out. Awesome.
So basically, I like serving. Jesus was a servant and had things to say about servants and greatness in the Kingdom. I like seeing myself as “like Jesus” and “great in the kingdom.” But, in my pride (incidentally, the sin associated with enneagram 2s), I want people to know how great and like Jesus I am. It’s a mess. And it makes me grumpy in my everyday life as a stay-at-home mom of littles, because nobody sees.
So I told you I was going to show you grace in my failures this month. But I’m still in it, so I don’t know exactly how His grace is going to unfold in my sinful heart.
Here’s what I know: It’s grace that I noticed it. Most of the time, I just huff off and continue with whatever I was going to do, but with slightly elevated stress levels. It’s extravagant grace that I feel safe to talk about the in-process and ugly parts of me with my husband. This hasn’t always been the case, so it’s beautiful to see it now. It’s grace that it was Jenna, who is the most like me. This means she triggers my crazy faster than the others, but it also means that she has and understands all the words, so when I talk to her about it this afternoon, she and I will likely be able to understand each other well.
That’s what I have, you guys. An unfinished story of failure that reveals my sin nature and the shadow side of my personality and a bunch of little crumbs of grace to help me find my way back.
*The rice sock is a sock who has lost its mate, gets filled with a few cups of rice (or other whole grain- Jenna’s is currently whole oats because we had them and they’re old), and tied closed. We heat it in the microwave for a few minutes—it depends on the rice volume. It’s great for sore muscles or chilly nights and is good until the sock develops a hole. You’re welcome.
This post is part of a 31-day series called “Grace in Failure.” Other posts from the series can be found here.