So we have that door in our house. You know, the one that never closes. Oh, you have one too?
Slam! The sound it makes even we are ever so slightly closing it. I’m not sure how many weeks our door was in this state but it was to the point where our 9-year-old was making comments about it.
“What is wrong with that door?” he would ask.
I knew about it. It bothered me. I told my husband. Then I told him again. And then I finally asked if he was ever going to fix it. Sound familiar? I thought so.
“Yes, of course, I’ll fix it,” he says.
He said he would fix it, but it was left in a state of broken for far too long if you ask me.
A few days had passed and as I was putting some trash in the garage when a brisk wind blew and the door slammed. I was filled with fury. Why hasn’t he fixed this? He said he would. Do I have to do everything around here? All these thoughts (and more) were about to leave my head and enter his iPhone.
But, in an ever so gentle whisper, the Lord stopped me.
“Look at it Ashley,” He whispers. So I paused and thought it wise to listen to the still small voice and I did just that—I looked at the door.
And wouldn’t you know? There were four loose screws preventing the door from closing, causing it to slam against the trim of the doorway with every attempt to close it.
Four loose screws. You may be thinking that I am going forward with that text message right about now. Something so simple to fix and he didn’t even do it.
But I’m not. Here’s why.
I asked if he could fix the door. He said, “Yes.” Conversation over.
I never gave him a date and he didn’t promise to have it fixed by a certain date. However, I had decided on a timeline that he knew nothing about. That internal timeline I had created an unmet expectation that I placed on him.
He didn’t know.
Let me go one step further and say this—I told my husband about it and then asked him to fix it. He is not the one who noticed the problem, I did. Not only did I place an unmet expectation on him (that he knew nothing about) I wrote this problem off as his, not mine, even though I was the one it bothered. He’s the husband, this is our home, his tools–this is his area. I put him in the husband box. He was boxed in, and so was I for that matter.
Have you ever done that? Put someone in a box? Or, kept yourself in a box to avoid responsibility?
Instead of blowing his phone up with a reactive text message, I grabbed a screwdriver and tightened those four loose screws. No stinking joke–that fixed it and it took under two minutes.
Weeks of misplaced frustration, undeserved bitterness, and a slamming door all because I created a husband box and wife box in my mind.
I am so thankful for that ever small whisper from the Lord to just look at the door.
Later that same day I apologized to him for even asking him to fix it, for being frustrated with him when he didn’t even know it, and for keeping him boxed in.
People aren’t meant to be boxed in. And, when we see a problem, my guess is we can also solve it too.
Reflect & Apply
1. Where are you setting expectations in your heart that no one else knows about?
2. When those expectations aren’t met, do you react or do you respond? Do you look at your own heart or criticize their actions?
3. Who have you put in a box? Who has put you in a box?