Venting Problems

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. —James 1:19 NIV

When we bought our camper, an RV refrigerator didn’t come with it. The sellers had installed a refrigerator that ran only on electricity. Since we planned to do a lot of traveling, we needed one that ran on either electricity or propane gas. We found a used one at an RV place near Raystown Lake, only a two-hour drive, for a reasonable price. 

But when we brought it home and installed it, the freezer worked, but the refrigerator compartment didn’t. My husband, fix-it guy extraordinaire, reasoned the problem was the refrigerator wasn’t getting enough ventilation. Which was why the previous owner had installed a 4-inch fan on the back, which we took off because we didn’t think we needed it. 

We tested Dean’s ventilation theory the first weekend we camped out in the yard. Dean hung a 20-inch box fan on the outside of the camper where the access door for the refrigerator compartment was. 

It worked! 

But when he slid the refrigerator out for the umpteenth time and re-attached the fan, it kept blowing fuses. After a week of frustration, he removed the fan and tested it with his volt-meter tester thing.

“It’s junk,” he said, tossing the fan on the table. Back he went to the camper.

Now, my husband refuses to let a stubborn problem get the best of him. He searches for a solution long after I would have said, “Nuts with it.” 

It wasn’t long before he returned to the house, grinning. 

“I found the problem,” he said, dropping a thick slab of Styrofoam on the table beside the useless fan. “This was in the roof vent over the refrigerator compartment.”

Apparently when the camper’s previous owners had the electric refrigerator installed, the Styrofoam was inserted in the vent for whatever reason. 

The refrigerator’s working great now. It just needed to vent.

Like me. 

At times, I need to vent, too, or I’ll get too hot and say or do something I later regret.

I remember a woman whose anger was directed at me one time, saying in lieu of an apology, “Once I vent and get it all out, I’m just fine.”

“So does a volcano,” I said, “but look at the damage it causes.”

We all need to vent. We’re flawed human beings with emotions that can get out of control at times. Tears are one way to vent. I call them the release valve the Creator installed to relieve built-up pressure. Physical activity, such as running or, for me, cleaning, is another. 

But we have to be careful of how we vent, when and where we vent, and to whom we vent. 

I used to have a terrible temper. Throwing things, slamming doors and drawers, and screaming were my methods of venting. Not very pretty. I’m ashamed of how I behaved.

But God has taught me a better way to vent: prayer – and lots of it. 

I’ve learned there isn’t a thing in our lives that He doesn’t care about — from the big, life-changing events to the small stuff, like an RV refrigerator that just needs to vent. 

Thank You, Lord, for being there when I need to vent. Amen.

Read and reflect on James 1:19–25.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Give Me No Bananas

Image by Juan Zelaya from Pixabay

Every day I will praise You. —Psalm 145:2 NIV

When I taught fulltime and wrote in the early morning or evening hours, I had little time and energy to do special things for my husband, such as slip a banana in his lunch box or wash the plastic container he used for cake. I was lucky to get supper on the table before 7 p.m. and the dishes stacked in the dishwasher before I went to bed or ran out of my second wind. Often he made supper and cleaned up afterward to give me time to write.

But one summer day, I decided to show my gratitude for all his hard work by slipping a banana into his lunch box. But did he appreciate my thoughtfulness? Oh, no. He complained the banana was too ripe.

“I like them almost green,” he said.

Couldn’t he have lied just a little bit? I wanted to hear “Boy, that banana hit the spot! Thanks!”

Biting back a sharp retort and stuffing the hurt, I pulled out the plastic cake container from his bucket and stacked it with the dirty dishes.

“You don’t have to wash that thing every day,” he said in a tone that made me feel like a reprimanded child. I knew he was trying to save me extra work, but I’d wanted to make him feel appreciated. Instead I got negative, negative, negative.

“Thanks for reminding me of why I stop doing little things to please you,” I muttered when he left the room.

The next day, after I’d filled my journal with two pages of anger, I opened my Bible to the day’s reading. 

“Every day I will bless thee,” I read, “and praise thy name” (Psalm 145:2). 

A heart full of anger has no room for praise.

God has a funny way of nudging me when my attitude isn’t what it should be.

I opened my journal to the entry I’d made just two days prior to my whining session when I’d filled four pages listing things I love—laundry blowing in the wind, white cotton ball clouds skimming across a summer blue sky, a soft breeze caressing my cheek, a quiet snowfall, a neon rainbow arched across a storm-studded sky, a misty morning, a blazing sunset, the blush of dawn, a field of pristine, unbroken snow….

The old hymn “Count Your Blessings” reverberated in my mind, and the anger dissipated from my heart. In light of all these priceless blessings right in front of my nose every day that don’t cost me a cent—gifts from God for me to enjoy—how trivial my reasons for being angry were!

A heart full of anger has no room for praise, but a heart full of praise has no room for anger.

With what, then, will you fill your heart? The choice is yours. Only one will bring the satisfaction and joy you crave.

When I think of all the wonders You created in the world around me and the awesome deeds You have wrought in my life, Lord God, I am humbled by Your greatness. Sometimes I forget who You are and act like a spoiled child. Forgive me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 145.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.