It’s late, 9:38pm to be exact. Yes, that’s late for me. My body starts to power down pretty quick after 9:30pm. I wander into the kitchen and let out a huge sigh, loud enough for my husband to hear in the adjoining room. The dishes are piled high beside the sink, crumbs cover the counter, and the garbage is full to the brim. I think about loading the dishes and open the washer to find it full of clean dishes.
Thoughts of resentment form at the back of my mind, like the condensation on the frosted window looking out to the -45 degree night.
“Why didn’t he at least unload the dishes?” I think self-righteously. “I shouldn’t have to do everything!”
I open the dishwasher and start loudly stacking dishes into their places, letting them fall just a little harder than necessary. Negative thoughts flow freely as I finish unloading and begin putting dirty dishes in their places. He comes into the the kitchen and wraps his arms around me from behind. I tense up like I’ve felt a cold gust of winter wind. He lets go and begins to help me load the dishes. I wipe the counters impatiently.
“It’s garbage day tomorrow” I say, “and there’s a full bag in the garbage can and one sitting on the back steps.”
“Okay” he replies patiently. “Are you alright?”
He hugs me again and pride melts into shame and pools on the sill of my heart. How can I still be so selfish? Why can’t I joyfully clean the kitchen while he relaxes after a long day of work? Why do I still think of myself more highly than I ought to?
Is this love? A list of to do’s and a scale constantly weighing who’s contributed more?
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
I think I’m better than him.
It’s a painful confession, but I know its been dropped into my heart from heavenly places. I don’t want to love this way.
I turn into his embrace and return it with an apology.
I want to love better, without selfish ambition or vain conceit.
To serve, to give, to unload and load the dishwasher a thousand times in a row. To empty the garbage at 9:38pm without a negative thought. To get up to lock the doors or turn down the thermostat. To sweep and dust and as I work, allow myself to be renewed and refined and put back into my rightful place – below the ones I love.
I want to love like Christ.
By: Heather Boersma, Speaker.Author.DreamerLeave a Comment
Mel @ Trailing After God says
I can relate. So very frustrating and then we realize we should be frustrated with ourselves. At least you have a dishwasher! Six people and hand washing gets old fast. 🙂
Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God
Oooo, I can relate! God help us!
Had this same self-conversation last week! You are not alone.
Isn’t it astounding what ill-effects negative self-talk has. I’m really having to learn to “take every thought captive” and remember that Christ says I can come to him, weary, and he will give me a burden that is LIGHT! Hard to remember that even if my husband did all the dishes, laundry, vaccuning, scrubbing, dusting, etc., I’ll still be dissatisfied if I’m not looking to Him to fill me.
Christie Jarvis says
Oh I can totally relate! I seem to get more upset when I have been gone to a meeting or something & come home to the mess. I wonder why nobody cleaned it up and TRY to keep a good attitude but often I end up slamming cabinet doors and mumbling about the lack of help…oh Lord help me!
Thanks for sharing so we know we are not alone in our struggles. God bless!
You are definitely not alone. This post spoke right to my heart!!! Will be praying for you!
I feel like I just read my own thoughts 🙂 I feel this way all the time and I always get that tense feeling when he comes to give me a hug, having no idea how annoyed I am at him. I HATE that feeling and KNOW it is my responsibility to banish that attitude…he does so much…
I love your conclusion that your feeling stem from pride, that you “feel you are better than him”. What an insight. Simple, but so honest and true. That totally spoke to me – THANK YOU!
Thank you so much for sharing. Exactly what I needed to read today.
Danelle Townsend says
“. . to be put back into my rightful place, below the ones I love.”
I am taking that with me today as I unload the dishwasher (just about to) and do all the other little chores that may seem small but glorify Him when we choose to do it in the spirit of His love.
Thanks for sharing this.
rebecca rouse says
‘I want to love like Christ’ Best line – I want to like like Christ too. . Thank you for being open and honest. I feel the same way, and I would love to have a more positive loving attitude w/ him, and my kids. thanks for the reminder : )
Dana J says
I find myself feeling this way all the time but lately I’ve been just doing the chores and not sighing about them or banging plates around and I find my husband has begun to help more and has acknowledged more how much I do to keep the household running. It seems when I let the anger go he notices what I do more than when I let my anger take over and I bang the plates around. I need to remember this.
Rhonda J. Smith says
Heather, you have capsulized my greatest love struggle. Thanks for your honesty and for providing me courage today to love the right way, to love like Christ.
Right there with you, Sister!
Philippians 2:3 won’t leave me alone right now. 🙂 Thanks for shedding more light on the verse and bringing it home in the arena of our marriages. With Joy, Carey
Well said, for LOTS of us, it seems! I have to go do the dishes right now . . . guess what I’ll be thinking about;)
Thank you for putting it into words. ..
Well written. And so true. I have been married for almost 40 years and I can so relate to those feelings. Only recently have I been able to really see me as God sees me (and my husband sees me .. lol:)). I wrote about it today on Under the Cover of Prayer – http://underthecoverofprayer.wordpress.com.
I so remember a few years ago slamming doors when I felt that “I” had been misunderstood or I didn’t get my own way. Pride – that’s all it was. The sin of pride can come upon us so quickly that we don’t see it for what it is – and our emotions cloud it so that we feel right in our feelings. And really men don’t see things the way we do – we do have to tell them and respect who they are. Blessings, Jan
Thank you for your honesty.
Too many times that has been the script of evenings in our home.
*without* the apology…*sigh*
“I want to love better, without selfish ambition or vain conceit.”
Shelly W. says
Wow! You described me to a “T”!! How often am I filled with resentment? Frustration? Bitterness? I want to love better than that too.
Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama says
Oh, ouch! Heather, how did you happen to sneak inside my head and write down everything I’m thinking, eh? This is good and strong and true – thank you so much for sharing it with us!
‘I think I’m better than him.’
Oof… colour me convicted. Feeling the pinch of the truth here, and grateful for the reminder.
Beautifully written and oh so true! I needed to hear that. I want to love like Christ too.
Kara Nutt says
I was having those very same thoughts last night. Hubby went to his bible study and after getting The Boy in bed I began picking up from the day, thinking as I did that on Tuesdays, when I have my bible study, he puts The Boy to bed and then plays on his computer. He doesn’t even see the toys, detritus, dishes that need to be taken care of.
Thank You for the much needed attitude adjustment. Even though it hurts to hear, I really needed it. I never thought of it as “thinking more highly of myself than I ought.”
So beautifully put. For me its keeping clean kitchen because I love my mom and not complaining that my younger brothers didn’t do it. It’s washing my brother’s pants even when I’m sick and don’t feel like moving.
This exact same scene plays out in my house on a regular basis . . . hard lessons for me to learn! Love your beautiful perspective.
Oh wow. This really hit me because I feel the same way–way too often.
Days with 5 children tend to be very long [most days] and when my husband gets home from work, I have…expectations. I love how you worded this:
“Is this love? A list of to do’s and a scale constantly weighing who’s contributed more?”
Oh wow. Yea. I need to stop that.
“To sweep and dust and as I work, allow myself to be renewed and refined and put back into my rightful place – below the ones I love.”
Mmmm hmmmm…I must go lower.
Thank you so much for this.
Hey, how did you do that? 😉 I just lived that experience again a week ago. Why don’t I learn from it and remember where it comes from, the selfishness? A reminder that I’m a work in progress and in need of my Savior. And my husband’s tireless patience with me. Fantastic post, Heather!
Great post, Heather! So true. Thanks for sharing in such an honest and vulnerable way! It’s been on my mind all day…
Katie @ Imperfect People says
I feel like I am shoveling snow in a blizzard sometimes! Great post
Amy Sullivan says
I think you may have been watching us in our house tonight! Yes, your first three paragraphs took place here.
Thank you for this beautifully written, powerful post. I love Philippians 2:3 – with (or likely because of) its convicting strength.
I hit this same note earlier this week when I was cleaning the kids room (as they went behind me taking everything back out) and started to get angry that THIS JOB was ALWAYS MY responsibility. Funny, how when the truth hits you between your eyes suddenly all that anger dissolves. Thanks for your post so full of clarity. ~Jessica
Ouch! That hit so very close to home! And what you had to confess and knew came from heavenly places? Well, that’s what I have had to confess as well!! The deep, ugly parts of my heart are not the parts I like to talk about or think about. But, when I do, I am so thankful for a gracious and merciful God!!!
Thank you for this “in”couraging post!
Anne Marie says
It is almost like you were writing just what goes through my head some, check that, most days. Thanking for waking me up (again) to the reality of my weakness to help me find a healthier clarity and happy, grateful heart.
Living the Balanced Life says
This is a hard one! I dealt with this issue for a long time until I finally realized I was doing my part and he was doing his (providing for us). As we got older, and matured a *little* bit, he began to help me and I began to relax more. Now, we have a pretty good rhythm of the way things work around, here, but it has been almost 30 years! Bernice
Have you made mistakes?
Saturday Stumbles from Incourage « Joyfully Thriving says
[…] Heather shared some of my thoughts with A Pile of Dirty Dishes. […]
Heather Boersma says
This is so late in coming, but thank you ALL for your kind and encouraging comments! I appreciate them so much – even now months later.
Scrub, Srcub & Repeat. | 306Design • CrystalChan says
[…] Boersma, Heather. A Pile of Dirty Dishes. 2011. Web https://aws.incourage.me/2011/04/a-pile-of-dirty-dishes.html […]