“Mommy, I just took my socks off ’cause they got wet from the paint.”
He said it as he was whizzing past–sockless–on his way up from the basement to go outside. “What paint?” I called after him.
“That paint on the floor,” he called back over his shoulder.
Instead of interrogating, I decided to investigate.
My first clue were the discarded socks in the basement hallway which did, in fact, have paint soaked into them. They were lying right next to the huge puddle of paint which had oozed under the closet door–the same closet where I had stacked our cans of excess paint. Apparently it hadn’t remained neatly stacked, as I had supposed it would. And I’m thinking that my son (who may or may not have been in that closet, trying to find something) might have had something to do with it.
What. A. Mess.
I spent the next several hours scooping up puddles of paint from the closet floor and trying to wet vac paint out of the carpet. To this day, that area of carpeting is a different shade. (Sorry, new owners!)
The funny part of the story is my son’s perspective. The gallons of spilled paint oozing under the door were inconsequential to him. The real problem was his socks. And so that’s what he took care of–he peeled them off and moved on.
But I can’t criticize my boy, because in my simple-mindedness, I often approach problems in a similar, detached manner. Suppose my husband forgets something really important. Or my friend is late… again. Or my child does something really disappointing. These things are so annoying! And so, I quickly try to rectify things. I might bite my husband’s head off or withdraw from a friendship or shame my child. I’m like a kid, impulsively trying to peel off messy socks so I can move on.
God, however, wisely plants these problems in my life, not as frustrations to be peeled away, but as indicators of my sinful heart. My sin never stays stacked neatly behind any closet door. It always oozes out into my life and soaks into the way I respond to other people and circumstances–especially the things that irritate me.
God uses these messes to slow me down and reveal the true problem–ME! He wants me to stand still as he opens the closet door. He wants me to understand how my sin is contributing to the problem. And he wants me to yield to his work as he cleans me up.