Thursdays are the worst days of the week. No argument, it’s just fact. I’m tired from the week, the weekend isn’t close enough, and bad things happen on Thursdays. It’s just the worst.
So last Thursday, it all came to a head at 4 p.m. I had been fighting the interwebs for a half an hour, trying to have a facebook live, when I realized that I had no interwebs. As a matter of fact, we had no interwebs, no landline phone, and no television. It’s twenty-first century suburban life in the Dallas metroplex, and I was completely cut off from civilization.
And it happened at 4 p.m. This is the worst time of day, the hour in which I regularly turn into a vicious Mom Monster and everyone backs away in fear. I’ve tried everything to cure the 4 p.m. nastiness, but no change of routine, diet, or anything will fix it. This is the way it is, so beware.
So of course, it was 4 p.m on a Thursday. I’m in a rush to cook dinner (because perish the mother who doesn’t have dinner ready on time for her large family) and to get out the door for our foster care training class. And the peasants are rising up, crying give us interwebs, lest we die! and the clock is ticking and my blood pressure is rising and right then, my husband calls. With no how-do-you-do or what-have-you, I launch right into him. “Don’t you dare give me a problem to solve right now. I’m done for the day. We’re in survival mode here, get home right now and be nice to me.”
To which he replies, “Sorry you’re having a rough day, but did you know I have this scheduling conflict with a soccer game on Saturday . . . ”
What did I just say? For the love of your life, hang up this phone and stop talking!
I’m now 20 minutes late getting dinner started, which means I will have 15 minutes to slam dinner down my throat (and the throat of the man who didn’t know when to stop talking to me) before we fly out the door to foster care class.
And that, my friend, is when I got the message from my publisher. Do I have a minute to discuss an idea about the book?
“No, it’s not a bad time at all,” I lie. “How can I help you?”
Oh, my word, it’s an awesome idea. I’m so excited by every word that comes out of his mouth, I can’t stand it. We spend another twenty minutes brainstorming and listing and dreaming and I’m thrilled, of course I’ll be happy to make it happen, when do you need it?
Tomorrow. Not a problem. Have a great evening!
Hang up the phone and have a conniption fit.
I’m all praise hands and jumping up and down and squealing and hyperventilating and wondering how in the world can I pull this off and even what in the world am I supposed to do?
And now, dinner is toast. There is literally no time. I fly back into the kitchen, where gracious and beautiful daughter has finished cooking the chicken. Cans fly across the room. Ingredients are dumped and stirred. And right then, doesn’t the Man Who Doesn’t Know When to Stop Talking walk in and say, “Why isn’t dinner ready?”
Because I’m about to throw it at you. Walk away. For the love of your life, save yourself, man.
I was beside myself. If someone would have given me a thick stick, I could just smite everything. Smite my husband, smite the electric skillet, smite the computer, smite the modem, smite the clock.
Frustration hits us hard and often.
We are frustrated because we’re overcommitted, overworked, and over-tired. We try too hard to do too much in too little time. And there’s the pressure of family, time, ministry, and relationships. Sometimes I think motherhood is this pressure cooker with no safety valve.
But one of my favorite Bible characters felt exploding frustration, too. Moses had to drag around a million of the worst people in the world (seemingly) for decades because they couldn’t keep their complaining mouths shut in spite of his frequent pleas. Even God threatened to wipe them off the face of the earth at one point (Exodus 32), but Moses pleaded for God to spare them for His name’s sake.
But finally Moses himself had enough of these obstinate people. On the one hand, they needed water (and water is a need, a more dire need than even the interwebs). But on the other hand, the whining just wouldn’t stop. And I’m pretty sure this all went down at 4 p.m. on a Thursday. Moses had all he could take, so he picked up his big stick and tried to smite the smithereens out of the rock.
Aaaaaand, that was Game Over for Moses. He lost his chance to enter the Promised Land. And it wasn’t because he was frustrated. It wasn’t because he beat up on a boulder. It was because of the same sin I face every day:
He didn’t believe.
But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.
— Numbers 20:12
Last Thursday, I didn’t believe. I didn’t believe God could bless His work and His message without my phone and interwebs (because God needs fiber optic cables to spread His words). I didn’t believe God would provide dinner (because He no longer answers the prayer to give us each day our daily bread). I didn’t believe God would do His work in His own way and His own time (because my frantic, chaotic way was working so well at that moment).
I didn’t treat Him as holy.
God should have been smiting me for my unbelief, my faithless walk before my family and friends. God should have wiped that scowl right off my face while I ungraciously hurled dinner on the table. God should have stricken my praise hands powerless when I hypocritically cried, “I’m so grateful for this opportunity, but what in the world will I do?”
Oh, me of little faith.
I think 4 p.m. will come almost every day, and nearly every week will contain a Thursday. However, I need not use it as an opportunity to sin with my mouth, my hands, or my heart. May I, instead, turn my focus back on the One who promised to deliver me from all my fears.