Jenga

Have you ever played Jenga? You know, the game where you stack rectangular blocks to form a tower, then players take turns carefully sliding blocks out. You lose the game if you slide a block out and the tower falls. I’ve played this game many times as a kid and as an adult. It’s fun if not stressful trying to remove the blocks without making the tower collapse.

It occurred to me this morning that my days are like a Jenga tower. I set it up in my head at the beginning of the day and the rest of the day feels like blocks are being removed until I’m teetering and doing everything I can not to come crashing down. The blocks being removed from my tower usually look like a change to the schedule, something not going as planned, lateness, negative interactions with Kyle or my kids, a rough day at work, remembering something I forgot to do. I could go on but you get the idea. Every time these things occur, it chips away at my resolve. My balance and control begin to sway. And by the end of the day, I’m about to crumble to the ground. Of course not every day is like this. Some days move along seamlessly with very few of my blocks removed. Other days I feel like all the outer blocks have been taken away and I’m left to balance on a skinny middle block.

Monday was one of these days. The details of the day would bore you to tears but just know that one if not all of the things mentioned above happened. The end result was me crying hysterically because the macaroni and cheese I was making spilled all over the floor and cabinets. I may have thrown a plastic bowl on the floor to get out my rage. Maybe. I know it was probably silly to blubber over macaroni and cheese even if it was homemade (Like Pioneer Woman homemade. Sigh.) And if anyone had been watching me in the window they would have called the officials to have me fitted for a straight jacket.

My tower had come crashing down. I did have the wherewithal to send the kids outside so I wouldn’t scar them with my grown up tantrum. Cursing, throwing things, uncontrollable crying. It’s the stuff Lifetime movies are made of and I added hormones.

When I was thinking back on it this morning, God blew up my brain. The circumstances are always different but the sin remains the same.

Control.

I always want control. What’s funny is if you asked my friends they probably wouldn’t say I’m a controlling person. In relationships, I try not to be a manipulative person who centers the relationship on herself. If I’ve done that to you, I apologize and hope you know that was never my intention. Most people would say I’m a pretty go with the flow kind of girl. But when it comes to my own life and my family I feel a sense of responsibility because I think I know how to make it the best it can be. So I build my tower, stacking carefully the blocks that will lead to perfection IF everything goes according to my plan. I don’t know if I think God is the One removing my blocks but I do know one thing. He uses those circumstances to teach me something of the Divine. If everything had gone the way I wanted it to, I feel 100% sure I would have given God NO credit for it. It’s only when things go to crap that I’m reminded of my utter lack of control. When I realize God is actually in charge I wish I could tell you I do the Christian thing and give thanks to God then sing the 1st and 4th stanzas of “I Surrender All.” Nope. Not even close. I get irritated at Him because I know He knew how everything was going to go down and He did nothing to stop it. Why God? Why did you let me have a crappy day? Why did You make it rain so our practice schedule was rearranged? Why didn’t You keep the cheese sauce from spilling EVERYWHERE??? Basically I get mad that God didn’t let me have my way. I’m kind of a snotty brat now that I think about it. Last time I checked, God doesn’t answer to me I answer to Him. After my tears and anger were done, I cleaned up my kitchen and quit feeling sorry for myself. Then I pulled myself together enough to go to the neighbors’ house for dinner with store-bought mac and cheese. Thanks, Honey. And guess what? Everything was fine. It was actually better than fine because I got to share my breakdown with my neighbors and laugh at my own idiocy. If everything had gone how I planned, there would be no story to tell. The stories are in our imperfections and our plans gone awry. That’s when God’s grace shines and those are the stories worth telling. I pray God keeps releasing me from my control so I will continue having stories to tell.

Side note: While writing this post I stopped in the middle to go to Beatbox. At the end of the class, the instructor was praying and do you know what she said? She thanked God for ORCHESTRATING OUR DAYS. I couldn’t believe she had used those words. I think my brain exploded a little. Yes, He orchestrates our days like a symphony. I should pipe down and just let Him conduct the music. Obviously I’m just clanging pots together over here.

Anyone else have a bit of a control problem? You’re secret’s safe with me!

Also, if ya’ll want to follow me on Instagram I’m @cpallen216!

-Courtney

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