If you missed my last post (part 2 of “surviving 6 under 6”), I wrote about some stuff I’ve learned from my kids by asking myself the following question: “What can I learn about myself in this situation?” Apparently, this is my week of deep, introspective blog posts; so, here’s part 2b: another lesson I’ve learned from my kids.

Lesson #2: don’t expect a ton of sympathy when you run into a wall with a box on your head

As all kids do, my kids love playing with empty boxes. A couple years ago one of my daughters was playing with a box that, when she stood in it, came up to just above her knees. For some reason she decided to put the box on her head and run around in circles. All of a sudden she stopped and turned to face a wall that was 10 feet in front of her. Then, blinded by the box on her head, proceeded to run full-speed into the wall. SMACK. I wasn’t fast enough to stop her.

There she lay, moaning and sprawled out on the floor, with the box still somehow covering her head and shoulders. I hear a muffled and tearful “Daddy, I’ve got an owie.” from inside the box. Part of me was  concerned about whether or not she was injured (She wasn’t. She was fine…just a bruise.). The other part of me was thinking, “Well, of course you’ve got an owie. You just stuck a box over your head and ran full-speed into a wall. How was this possibly going to end well?!”

So, later on I asked myself the question “What can I learn about myself from this situation.”

At the time I was incredibly stressed and exhausted. All the time. Most of my prayers went something like this: “God, please take away my stress. I’m so unbearably tired. Please grant me some rest.” In other words, “Daddy, I’ve got an owie.”

Then, I surveyed my life. Between my day job, side businesses, boards, church, family, home renovation projects, etc., I was absurdly over-committed. I’d said “Sure, I can help you with that.” to pretty much anyone who asked. Tip: saying “Sure, I can help you with that.” isn’t a blessing to anyone if you don’t have the time to do [insert name of task] well. In fact, you’re actually (while well-meaningly) becoming a road block to whomever you agreed to help.

Basically, I was doing exactly what my daughter had done. I’d put a box on my head, ran into a wall, then whined about having an owie. I wasn’t hurting because God wasn’t granting me peace or rest or sleep or stress relief. I was hurting because I foolishly ran myself full-speed into a wall. I kind of feel like God was just shaking his head at my prayers. “Well, of course you’re stressed and tired. You committed to 37 hours/day worth of work. How was this possibly going to end well? Try taking the box off of your head and not running around like a crazy person.”

Lesson learned.