I once had a pastor say that, if ever he was going to preach on a topic, he could expect to be tested severely on it while he prepared the sermon. Preaching on mercy? He could expect to struggle with feeling unmerciful. Talking about faithfulness? He should expect to find some area in which he was fighting against being faithless.
Don’t worry…if you’re not religious, this still applies, I promise! If I’m going to talk pretty about some virtue or another, I’m going to have to put my money where my mouth is. If I natter on about kindness, and am then oblivious or self-justified when I myself am being impatient or rude to someone, I’m missing my own point.
So recently I have talked a few times about viewing inconvenience as an adventure, and how we should all try to consider small troubles as small adventures. I should have expected to get my comeuppance, right?
I will first acknowledge that none of this was actually that hard, and this is not a complaint, but an explanation.
Here was our recent little “adventure.” My husband, one of my sisters, my two sons and I all drove for nearly a full day (on the amount of sleep one gets with a newborn, remember) to my hometown for the wedding of my second-to-youngest brother. (Luckily the wolf was staying with a friend). We were so excited, but we knew it would be challenging, and a whirlwind, because we were going to have to leave during the reception to travel all through the night to get home in time for my husband’s work in the morning. Also, no guarantees of a good night of sleep…newborn, again.
On the way, we had all the requisite childhood bodily functions, which required changes of diapers and clothes and the use of half our arsenal of wipes. I will spare you further detail.
We spent wonderful time with our families, ate decadently at the rehearsal dinner (which my parents made…my dad in particular loves to cook for events like this) and relished our short time.
Then, on the wedding day, we had to skip kid 1’s nap for wedding photos (he was a champ about it) and then we were joyful at the ceremony. We got to welcome an amazing young woman into our family, and be welcomed into hers, and I am so, so proud of my little brother.
But we had to leave on the early side of the reception, drive through till about 2 am, put the kids to bed, then wake up (on top of nighttime feedings) to get breakfast and for my husband to go to work. Luckily, kid 1 took a LONG nap that day, so I could take care of kid 2 with relative ease.
Wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but I confess I had to brace myself for long drives, scant sleep, and nap-deprived toddler (though, like I mentioned, he was a champ). I didn’t really have quite the right mind–the adventure-seeking mind–until pretty late in the game when we were driving home at midnight and smiling at each other through tiredness.
It was worth it. So, so worth it. And more than that, the moment I thought about considering it an adventure, I realized how blessed we were to actually be able to do any of this at all. We have a car we can drive across several states. We have a joyful family we can celebrate with, and everyone else was able to make it too (I have a big family, so that’s saying something). We had safe travels. No injuries. No epic toddler breakdowns (not until around midnight on the way home, at least) and lots and lots of joy and fellowship.
So the principle is true, I found…I just need to learn to apply it right from the start.