Dare Sixteen could have happened at my house.
Except that I don’t have a chandelier.
Nor can I remember the last time I slept straight through till 9:30 (but I do go back to bed most weekends).
Nor do my husband and I need a ladder for almost any chore (he’s 6’5″ for crying out loud!).
But the part that could have happened…does happen….is being in a sea of good things and picking out the bad.
And just like Travis in the book, I see my husband shrink before my eyes.
Sometimes I internalize this and beat myself up. “Leah can’t you do anything right? You could have said nothing and it would be better than this. How hard is it to pick one good thing?”
Sometimes I externalize this and over compensate. “O, husband, your dirty shirt smells soooo good. And the way you use your fork…incredible! And your beard is looking exceptionally dashing today.” (Ok, except for the beard one which I completely meant, I’ve never said the other two, but you get the idea.)
Either way, after all this time it FINALLY occurred to me apologize. Mean it. Look him in the eye. Say sorry. Say what I did wrong. Say I will try harder next time. Ask for forgiveness. Then move on with my day.
This hours, sometimes days of beating myself up over one bad interaction removes the joy for the progress I make otherwise.
Do you feel that way?
Great day with the kids and then you snap at them for something and instead of going back to your great day, you get mopey thinking of how you should be a better mom, more like so-and-so, or how you’ve probably ruined this memory for your kids.
Husband works a 13 hour day. He gets home, shares about his day, and all you can see is that he forgot to pick up the milk on the way home. You interrupt his sharing to ask where the milk is and he’s deflated. You try to recover but forget to apologize and you go to bed tense and hurt.
And a million other examples.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
The way I see it, the best way to keep making progress, to just keep swimming, to keep going, to get better, and to get more practice, is to apologize when you mess up and try again next time. Because you will probably mess up again. And the opportunity to learn how to process that screw up with humility will become invaluable.
And if it helps, there’s this video to remind you to “keep moving forward” because forward is progress, even if it’s messy, hard progress. It’s beautiful. And it’s worth it.
Be sure to check out The Respect Dare blogging team – Nina, author of The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband and Debbie, especially for parents of teens, tweens, and twenty-somethings, and you can subscribe to me in the sidebar. And connect with me on twitter @LeahHeffner and on faceboook on The Respect Dare community page.
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