As parents of young children we get lots of practice with time-out, don’t we?
Oh, just to clarify…the person in time-out here is the parent, not the kiddo. Who’s gotten to put themselves in time-out? Maybe a story will help jog your memory of a parent time-out you’ve experienced?
Picture a sunny almost- spring day…the kind where you just couldn’t help yourself from buying all the pretty flowers to nestle into planters on the back patio. The crispness of winter air still lingers, but you’ve been energized by the garden center’s brilliant display and you are going for it. You have two little helpers by your side as you plant tiny annuals bursting with the hope of lush spring blossoms.
Your preschool helpers help dig. They pat-pat the soil gently around each plant. They trickle water ever so carefully to give their new plant buddies a drink. A layer of dirt clings to grubby little hands and covers pale knees that have come out of winter hiding for the occasion. It’s all so pleasant and cheerful. You gaze with satisfaction at all the colorful flowers just-so in their new ceramic home. Ahh, the heady hope of spring has landed at your feet.
Then you decide to step into the house to get your little gardeners a well-earned snack. In the span of a few minutes, you’ve gathered up treats and drinks, balancing everything a bit precariously to open up the sliding door onto the patio. You step down, turn around and see what your “helpers” have been doing. Yep, they have unearthed each and every flower they had just helped nurture into a new home…and they have thrown each one with its helpless little rootball of dirt across the pool cover, leaving a stream of damp soil streaks over the entire cover. The last couple hours of companionable gardening has been transformed into a pathetic array of clumpy plantlife…and two guilty faces averting your gaze.
The Mommy in this story was not happy. She directed her grubby imps to sit down right where they were, then high-tailed it into her own space to cool down.
Sometimes we need a little self-talk in the heat of the moment to settle our initial reactions. We need a brief time-out to regroup.
We need to still and quiet ourselves.
Day 4 – #31daysofquiet
What I like about this verse is the gentle reminder that WE CAN have some control over our reactions even in the out-of-control moments in our lives. It’s certainly not easy, but it’s amazing that God equipped us with the capacity to self-regulate. What an even bigger mess all of our relationships would be in if we couldn’t rein ourselves in.
Flowers can be replanted. Apologies can be said. We all learned something in the planting and un-planting that spring day.
Maybe a personal time-out is just the thing our soul needs today…even before we’re in a messy spot?