Saturday, August 7, 2010

Counting doors

“Be careful how you walk, making the most of your time…” –Eph. 5:16

I have struggled my whole life to slow down. I’m not sure why exactly. I know the “sweat of the brow” curse in Genesis works on all of us guys, but I am glad we don't have to experience labor pains. But hey, that only happens to most women a few times. The “work curse” plagues us men all our days on this earth.

And the curse can wreck havoc on families. A dad (or mom) that is always busy is a parent not focused on the kids. Kids and teens need focused time on them and them alone. What we might see as worthless, meaningless time is valuable to them. Why? Because deep inside they know how valuable time is. When you slow down to focus on them, they feel important and loved.

It’s has been project time around the Staples’ home for the past month. Our home is about 30 years old and so there are usually multiple projects scheduled at any given moment. Truthfully, there have been for the 30 years we’ve lived here.

This time it involved hanging new interior doors. No big deal, right? Take the old doors off. Measure. Buy the new ones. Take hinges off old doors and put on the new. Take handle off the old door and put on the new. Put up the new door and your done. 10-minute job. Right? Wrong.

If you’ve ever tried to hang interior doors in an already existing doorframe, you know how difficult it is to get it all lined up and swinging correctly. It takes hours.

So, the two hours I allocated for door hanging turned into two days. And I was an absolute grouch through it all. Feel free to call Jeanie to confirm. I needed to install 5 doors and I wasn’t going to be happy until the project was finished.

I wasn’t much fun to be with over the weekend and I look back at the nice doors but regret the time wasted. I was certainly not careful how I walked and I wasted my time.

There’s nothing wrong with projects around the house, but my problem was that it consumed me. I’m fairly worthless as a parent when I put the project ahead of the person.

I’m thinking, “When I finish this project, then I can have peace.” Jesus says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
If my peace has to wait until all the doors are hung, then it’s not true peace. Why? Because there’s always another project waiting as soon as the doors are finished.

Oswald Chambers reminds us that, “Jesus delivers us in trouble not from trouble.”
Be a parent that is content and at peace through the project. Be a parent that even includes the kids in the project.

If we’re counting down the doors…5,4,3,2,1, now peace, then we’re missing the opportunity. Someone said, “don't get projects done with people. Rather, get people done with projects.”

So, get the projects done, but remember to enjoy the journey, the peace, and the person in the midst of the chore. Then, you’ll be the mom and dad your kids need over the weekend.

And, you’ll find that the doors go up a lot easier.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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