Everyone loses it now and then.
That much is normal, right? But unfortunately, when I snapped, it took the form of a knife-wielding slasher attack… Yeah, I know. Not so normal.
I’m usually a non-violent person, but lately I’ve been under a lot of pressure. Everything in my life seemed to be going wrong. Then finally, I was sorely provoked. Suddenly, I snapped… and that’s when the knife came out.
I’m not trying to justify the extreme nature of my actions, but in my defense, the victim had it coming. No, really. The stabbing was over due, and the victim was asking for it, literally. There was actually a sign that said, “Vent here.”
No, I’m not actually a murderer, but for an instant I felt like I was. In that moment of insane fury, I grabbed my knife and deeply, maliciously, stabbed my victim three or four times. I mercilessly twisted the dull blade after embedding it to the hilt so as to do maximum damage. Never mind that my stabbing victim was actually a large jug of water.
So why do battle with a water jug? It’s pretty simply, really. My mom is allergic to, well, everything, including many of the chemicals found in our city’s tap water. Rather than buying endless cases of bottled water, I thought I’d purchase a specially designed refrigerator pack of spring water.
I thought the pack was the perfect solution to my dilemma of how to keep Mom hydrated. The water jug is shaped sort of like a cinderblock and holds 2.5 gallons of water. It even comes compete with a little spout toward the bottom that can be easily opened and closed.
The idea behind the design is that you can place this jug on a shelf in the refrigerator and simply pull the spout open to allow the water to flow into your glass. No hassle. No Mess. It’s easy, or at least that’s how it was advertised.
At first, the jug worked great, and I congratulated myself for having made such a wise purchase… But then things started getting a little tricky. The water started coming out more slowly. Periodically the flow would stop altogether as the jug gasped, sucking air into the imploding container.
I knew I had to do something. I even saw a little circle toward the top of the container with writing urging me to “vent here.” The jug needed an air intake hole, but I was too busy to do anything about it.
What did I do instead? I squeezed the bottle to push out more water. Then, I squeezed it even harder. After a couple days of this treatment, the jug was an angular crushed mess. Still, it had another gallon or so left to go.
I needed some of that elusive water to give my mom her medication at 3 a.m. one morning. I was tired and sore, yet suddenly only the tiniest trickle of water would come out. It didn’t matter how hard I squeezed or pushed or crushed. Nothing else was coming out of that jug.
Then I lost it. Suddenly, I was yelling, “Vent here? You want me to vent here?! I’ll show you VENT HERE!!” Yeah, that’s when the knife came out.
Looking back on it, I realize now that I was a lot like that jug.
I’d been pushing myself. I’d squeezed every last once of care, love, and concern out of me until I was a grumpy ball of agitation and raw nerves. I was gasping for air internally. I needed an intake vent.
We’re told to love one another, because love comes from God (1 John 4:7). But what I didn’t fully realize until that night was that we can’t continue to give love if we don’t take time to receive it.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been preached to on the importance of spending daily time with God. Spiritual leaders are always saying that “Prayer and Bible reading are important.” Well, so are clean dishes, clothes that don’t smell like low tide, and food, not to mention doctors appointments, medication for my mom, and the list goes on. Non-essentials, like the dust bunnies that keep multiplying like rabbits, get moved to the bottom of my to-do list. Sometimes I just don’t have time to worry about them.
I thought I didn’t have time to worry about devotional time with God either. I was wrong.
I love my mom. I consider it a privilege to have her in my life and to be able to care for her in my home, but I can’t continue to love her and care for her if I don’t make time to take love in.
My time with God is my “intake vent.” The time I spend praying and reading his Word is my time to take in the love and strength I need to continue giving it to others. As the old saying goes, “You can’t give what you ain’t got.”
My life is a crazy busy mess sometimes, but after that knife attack in the kitchen, I go on slasher rampages of a different kind. No matter how jammed my schedule may be, I find ways to make a hole large enough to fit in time with God. I’ll look at my day, pick a time, and, if necessary, actually write down in the schedule, “vent here.” No matter how busy life may get, I need my “slasher time” with God.
Thanks for reading. This week, remember to do yourself a favor. Make a hole in your schedule to let some of God’s love into your life. You’ll be glad you did. God bless you.