Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Zebra Knows Her Own

Did you know that no two zebras have stripes that are exactly alike?  However, it is still hard to tell one zebra from another, unless, of course, you happen to be a zebra? 

Each night the Rooster reads the kids a devotional and the ending has some sort of little factoid about animals.  That was tonight's, knowing a zebra by its stripes.  These facts loosely relate back to the actual devotional and tonight's was no exception.

However, I am getting ahead of myself.  You see, perhaps, it would be more meaningful to get a better picture of what this time typically looks like.  To be a fly on the wall maybe.  Most nights after both the big kids have used the bathroom and brushed their teeth we all come into the living room to "listen" to the devotional.  Each of us define "listening" a little differently. 

For the Rooster, listening means reading and asking questions where applicable. 

For Bub, listening means sitting in Daddy's lap and asking several questions and usually finding some longwinded story related to the topic leaving the rest of us feeling inadequate in our lack of knowledge on any given topic. 

They are just precious. 

For Baby Moe, listening  means it is time to sing in his loud, one syllable voice or decide he is too tired to fool with all this quite business so he starts to cry. 

For me, listening means trying to hear key words here or there so I can try to contribute some small way while trying to keep the baby quite. 

And for Goose, my precious Goose, listening typically means trying to find out what happens when she pulls the dog's tail, or pokes the baby in the eye, or bites me, or sees how good of a split she can do, or silently mouth her cheers, or kiss the cat, or anything else that really doesn't resemble listening.


Yeah, I'm talking about you Sally Spirit. 

So tonight, the Rooster and Bub crawl into their chair.  Me and Baby Moe get into ours.  Goose plops down beside the dog (sorry Scooby, looks like you drew the short straw tonight). 

Everyone settles in.  The Rooster opens the book and reads the title to tonight's lesson.  "When to Stop Temper Tantrums." 

Both the Rooster and I look at Goose.  Goose looks at us.  Scooby sees his chance and slowly as not to draw attention to himself goes and hides. 

I tell Goose she needs to go sit with her Daddy and listen.  After a little heeing and hawing she gives me a little growl as she walks by.  I'm not even kidding.  Homegirl literally (like literally, literally not like the way most people say literally and really mean figuratively) growls at me!

Now you see, one of the lessons Goose has been working on for awhile now is how to control her temper.  Obviously from her (literal) growl, she has not mastered that lesson yet. 

So, after she gets settled again the Rooster begins reading.  The devotion starts out standard enough.  It begins with the following scripture:

"A hot-tempered person starts fights and gets into all kinds of sins."  Proverbs 29:22 (NLT)

I think to myself, "Hear that sister, fightn' and sin'.  Don't need to be fightn' and sinn'." 

He continues reading.  The first paragraph deals with self-control and how when we lose our temper we often feel worse after it is all over.  Again, to myself, "Yep, self-control.  How many times have we talked about self-control?  This thing was written for you, girlfriend."

Then he went to read the last paragraph: 

"When something robs you of your peace of mind, ask yourself if it is worth the energy you are expending on it.  If not, then put it out of your mind in an act of discipline.  Every time the thought of "it" returns, refuse it.

"Yep, peace of...." Oh, crap.  Double crap.  This can't be right.  How in the world?  How in the world did this devotional that was suppose to be about Goose suddenly become about me?

You see, there has been a few things that have happened in the last couple months.  Now, nothing life changing or even things most people would ever care about.  However, things that have at times been painful.  Things that have robbed me of my peace of mind.  Things which have drained my energy.  Things that I have, quite frankly, thrown a temper tantrum about. 

Now, mind you, my temper tantrums have not involved growling at anyone.  In fact, other than those who know me the most intimately, most people probably have no idea I have even had any temper tantrums because they all occur internally. 

However, there has been constant dialogue which has been stealing my peace of mind and energy.  The countless make believe conversations I have held in my head which result in no resolution and just more big feelings.  The pointless exhaustion. 

Then it dawns on me, a zebra knows her own.   Goose and I are so similar in most ways.  Makes little surprise we would share this as well. 

So, perhaps, tonight's devotional wasn't just for Goose's (and Scooby's) sake, but mine as well.  So my goal is to change my stripes by disciplining myself by putting this out of my mind and every time it returns, refuse it.  And just maybe, Goose's stripes will change as well. 

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