Putting My Foot Down

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;  I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. – Psalm 32:8 NIV

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. – Psalm 3:5 ESV

 On the Fourth of July, I put my foot down.

“You aren’t doing any work outside today,” I told my husband, whom I affectionately refer to as “DH” – which stands for Dear Husband or his name, Dean Huey.

The weather had been hot and humid for days, and the Fourth was even more so. Dean works 11-hours days in a shop with no air conditioning. Evenings, Saturdays, and holidays are the only time he gets to do work around here. His vacation days are usually spent traveling, camping, or visiting our out-of-state children and their families.

This Independence Day he’d planned to mow our two acres of lawn, which usually takes more than two hours. Working in the garden and planting a flowering shrub were also on his to-do list. But when I took something to the camper and felt the oppressive heat, I put my foot down.

DH loves having projects to work on, and I held little hope he’d take my advice. Imagine my surprise when he did and spent the day on the back deck, just a few feet from the woods on the hillside behind the house, where it’s much cooler than anywhere else.

Unlike me, DH doesn’t spend hours in a book or magazine. I figured he’d get bored and head out in the heat to do something. But he didn’t. It seemed every time I looked at him, he was slumped in his chair, snoozing.

A well-deserved snooze

The Sunday before the Fourth we’d returned from a 10-day camping trip to Michigan, where we spent every day exploring the area. Mid-way through the vacation, I took a day to relax and read, but DH, camera in hand, headed for a hiking trail a few miles up the road.

The drive out and back took nearly 12 hours each way, for a total of 1,133 miles pulling a 33-foot, fifth-wheel camper. Our exploring took up 736 miles. DH drove every mile. We got home Sunday evening after 11 hours on the road and 570 miles of mostly interstate driving. Then Monday it was back to work for Dean for 11 hours. Monday evening he drove to Johnstown and back (another two and a half hours on the road) to pick up our son’s dog, which we were to doggie-sit for the week.

In between his snoozes on the Fourth, I joked that he was practicing for retirement. But as I put all the numbers together, I realized the poor man was plumb tuckered out. I was glad I put my foot down.

Sometimes the circumstances of life get unbearably hot and oppressive. Our first instinct is plow through, thinking we’re to persevere and persist. But that’s not always what’s best.

Sometimes we need to get out of the heat, step back, and get perspective. But if you’re like me, you’ll persist until you realize you’re repeatedly butting your head against a solid wall. Something’s got to give, and it isn’t going to be the wall.

That’s when God puts His foot down.

“You need to back off,” He tells us. “Give it a rest.”

Sometimes He simply needs us to get out of His way so He can work. Sometimes, like my husband, we need to rest our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Whatever the reason, when God puts His foot down, it will always be for the best.

Thank You, Lord, for putting Your foot down when I need redirection. Amen.

Read and meditate on Isaiah 40:29–31.

 © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

 

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