Wednesday, March 13, 2013

relinquishing control

I don't have a dishwasher. I pretty much have a hate-hate relationship with doing the dishes. The downsides include: dry hands, sore back from bending over, and way too much time spent doing something I really don't enjoy. The two upsides of dishes are I play music while I do them, and it usually gives me a time to pray/think.

Generally I try to do the dishes as quickly as I can. No need to prolong the painful task.

This week as I was putting away the clean dishes so I could wash the dirty ones when I heard a little voice behind me, "Mommy, can I do the dishes?" My first response was to say "no, go play". But I decided to be a good mom in that moment and went with it. I pulled up his step ladder and put some dirty dishes in his side of the sink and said, "go for it, buggy."

After a couple of minutes of me mindlessly putting dishes away I look over and see that Cooper has ignored the dirty dishes and has gone for the clean ones. He was taking the clean dishes out of the drying rack and washing them again. That was when I decided he needed a specific, easy task with me next to him. So, I washed the dishes while he rinsed and placed them in the drying rack.

To some of you this may sound like no big deal. But it was so hard for me to let go of control. Hard to let him try it. Hard to let the task take a good 10 minutes longer than normal. Hard to truly enjoy that moment with my son.

He would spend about a minute rinsing just a spoon. But I know that allowing Cooper do do these tasks and learn new things on his own, with my guidance, not control, is essential to his growth. For him to become independent in tasks, I have to allow him to try it. Basically, I have to allow him to fail a few times until he get

In that moment of talking myself out of the reigns of control I realized how hard it must be for God to give us free will. How we take simple tasks and make them harder. How we do it wrong. How he could do it better, easier than us. But just as it is essential for Cooper's growth to try and fail, it is essential to our growth, too. And even though it might be hard for God to sit back and watch the mess we create, I know how awesome it must be to him when he sees us finally figure it out. When we learn and grow.

After this thought process, I was reminded that Jesus washes our messes away. Just as we were washing the dishes. Which then turned into a teachable moment for Cooper. We talked about how when we make back choices, our hearts get dirty. And Jesus died on the cross so our hearts can be washed clean. That conversation has taken place again the past two days as a not-so-loving Cooper has showed up. He and I have both had to ask for forgiveness in this relationship. And God washed our hearts clean.

If the only good from not having a dishwasher was this moment, it's worth it.