Spout ‘N’ Pout

Image by Francine Sreca from Pixabay

            The fruit of the Spirit is … self-control. – Galatians 5:22–23 (NIV)

At the beginning of every year, I write out my goals for the coming year. In January, I noticed that “lose weight,” “manage time better” and “get out of debt” were three recurring ones, going back years and years and years—and ones on which I’d made little, if any progress.

“Hmmm,” I thought in a moment of brilliant self-revelation. “Looks like I have a little problem with self-control.”

I’ve lost and gained the same 15 pounds several times now.

Time management is almost as difficult. One of my recent weekly goals was “be more realistic in setting goals.”

As far as the finances, well, we all know how impossible it seems to get out of the hole once you’re in.

But I’d been making progress—slow, but inching ahead—until I overdrew the checking account. I’d scheduled a credit card payment to be made on the due date, figuring one of my writing checks would cover it. Normally it would have, but the check was late—a week late. And I’d forgotten about the payment.

When I went online to balance the account and noticed the $25 overdraft charge, I was sick—especially when I noticed that it had been deducted within the past hour.

I was mad. Mad at myself. But madder at God.

“I’ve been trying so hard, Lord,” I complained. “And I’ve been doing so well. How could You do this to me?”

And I’d had such a good attitude earlier that same week when an order for 100 of my books fell through. “Oh, well,” I said at the time. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

Then came the overdraft—and this cookie crumbled.

“It isn’t my fault the check was late,” I whined. “And, in regard to that canceled book order, I didn’t count my chickens before they were hatched. The guy said in the spring he wanted the books. It was only last week that I noticed the money would have nicely taken care of the fall taxes, the heating oil, and the car insurance. How could You do this to me?”

I spouted. I pouted. I spouted some more. I still maintained my peace about the book order, but I stewed and spewed about the overdraft.

It took several days of complaining to the Almighty that it wasn’t my fault, I had no control over when the check came in, but He did. Yada, yada, yada.

Somewhere during one of my non-spewing moments, it occurred to me that if I’d put some money aside as a cushion, to cover the payment should a check come late, instead of living from paycheck to paycheck, I’d have avoided the overdraft.

OK, so I knew that all long. I just wouldn’t admit it.

So now I’m trying to squirrel away a little bit every payday in a “cushion fund.”

Live and learn. Even in your senior years.

I don’t know if you’d noticed, but the past several columns have covered the Fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and faith. But I struggled with the last one—self control.

Sigh. I still do.

Dear God, I tend to forget that everything You allow in my life has a purpose. Thank You for reminding me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Galatians 5:2223 and Psalm 40

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Cat Caper

Provie

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. –Ephesians 6:12 ESV

 That morning I woke up eager to jump right into my day. With nothing pressing on the schedule, I was going to get so much done! I neglected, however, to don my spiritual armor. I just didn’t want to take the time.

My enthusiasm deflated before I even got out of the bedroom when my nostrils caught a whiff of something that belonged in the litter box.

That darn cat! Not mine. I was kitty-sitting my grandkids’ two furry beasts while they were in transition between houses. The past two weeks had not been the picture of feline domestic harmony in the Huey house. Bella, one of the two guest cats, tormented my little Provie (short for Providence), who’s called this place home for 12 years. She’d corner Provie at least once a day, and they’d get into it, hissing and growling and all. Poor Provie was so traumatized she wouldn’t even go downstairs to use her litter box.

So I put a litter box in the upstairs bathroom for her. But wouldn’t you know that darn guest cat filled it. So out it went (the litter box, not the cat) because I couldn’t stand the stench whenever I went into the bathroom. I think that’s why Bella left me a present on the bedroom carpet.

Then there was the hair – light, fluffy gobs refusing to succumb to the vacuum cleaner’s suction but immensely attracted to the seat of my pants. I ran the vacuum every morning after I cleaned the you-know-what from the floor in the laundry room because Ben, the other guest cat, had an aversion to litter boxes.

But I digress. Back to my “I’m going to get a lot done” day.

After removing the mess from the bedroom carpet and treating the spot with stain remover and odor eliminator, I gathered up not one, but three more piles in the laundry room. Then vacuumed the floor and the furniture. And barricaded the beasts in the furnace room­ – with a fresh litter box and plenty of food and water.

Then I took a shower. Cleaning up after cats will do that to you.

Things went kerflooey from there. Nothing went according to plan. I kept picturing fiery darts flying at me all day.

The challenge was not to lose my temper (it just raises my blood pressure and doesn’t do a bit of good), to keep corrupt communication from spewing out of my mouth, and to maintain a calm spirit in the midst of domestic chaos.

The day ended much better than it started. After water aerobics, I spent the rest of the evening with my grandkids decorating Easter eggs at a pysanky workshop.

The next day my feline guests were gone, collected by their people at my request. My Provie came out of hiding.

But other battles will come. Such is life. Another day, another skirmish. If I’ve learned anything from this cat caper, it’s that I’d better put on that armor before I get out of bed.

Thank You, Lord, that You not only provide armor for the battles I face from day to day, but You are right there in the thick of things, on my side, by my side. You are a shield around me. (Psalm 3:3). Amen.

Read and meditate on Ephesians 6:10–20.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.