I took my youngest son to the doctor today suspecting an ear infection. Sure enough, such was the case. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic and off we went to the pharmacy.
My youngest and medicine don’t mix well. We’ve had a few battles over the years.
Today was no exception. The medicine sat untouched. After cajoling, threatening, and bribing he took one sip which he proceeded to not spit it out, but throw it up. On me. Fun times.
We went into the bathroom for a “take two.” Eventually he crawled into a corner under the sink and put the step stool on its end in front of him. “This store is closed!” he proclaimed.
I couldn’t help but laugh and proceeded to do what any desperate mama does these days. I went to Google. After giving him several possible options, he chose putting it in yogurt. That did the trick and both mama and son are now happy campers. The promise of a milkshake from McDonald’s didn’t hurt either. I’m sorry, friends, I had reached my wit’s end!
How often do we do the same thing when we know we need to make a change that will be good for us? We curl up in a fetal position, place walls around our heart, and hang out a closed sign. Somehow the thought of the process of the change and the temporary pain it may bring far outweighs the joy that lies within our grasp.
I read a story several years ago that continues to haunt me in a book called Story by Stephen James. There was a king whose brother tried to assassinate him and failed. The king decided to imprison his brother in a room that faced the sea. The room had a window and a door that a normal-sized person could walk through. I’m not sure how they got the brother in the room, because, you see, he was extremely overweight.
The brother could earn his freedom in only one way. Every day the servants set platters of delectable food in the window. The brother simply had to conquer his addiction, lose the weight, and walk out the door freed from captivity. But the man perished in that cell, just as the kind predicted he would.
How many of us say, “I’ll deal with that problem tomorrow.” But tomorrow never comes. We gaze longingly out the window to a future available to us, but instead we wallow in our misery. I’ve been there. I know that feeling and I think that is why this story resonates with me. And also terrifies me that I will once again put myself in a cell constructed by my own hands.
Take just one step towards freedom today. Whether your hang-up is food like in the story, or another addiction, lack of exercise, or a bad habit, make a decision to make one small change. Turn the closed sign over to open and allow the healing to begin. The ultimate gain far surpasses the temporary discomfort.
What is something you have overcome and how does that feel? I’d love to hear your stories.