By Dawn Jacobson-Venn
Have you had the kind of day where you just wanted to stop and have a do-over? I have certainly experienced a few of those during this pandemic. Even though some restrictions have been lifted, we have pretty much been in lockdown for more than three months now. I have found that getting projects done and having a new gadget can certainly make this time more enjoyable. For example, my family bought me a Vitamix, and I was so excited to use this powerful machine. I was making a healthy carrot-apple-beet smoothie and it was looking good! I was admiring my work and getting ready for a taste test to make sure nothing else was needed. Then, while moving things around on the counter, my hand hit the power button. Before I knew it, that delicious smoothie was splattered all over my kitchen! (Note to self: never leave the power on high when you turn off your Vitamix). That was not a fun mess to clean up.
Sometimes, I find myself making messes in other places besides the kitchen. I make messes in my relationships with the people I live with; my husband, my children and my 90-year-old mother. Most days, things go pretty smoothly. We get along, we follow the schedule, we are productive and pleasant to be around. Other days, however, nothing seems to go as planned and we just seem to get on each other’s nerves. Have you had days like this? Some days I just feel like arguing about petty little things that happen around the house, which puts everyone in a bad mood. Other days I just don’t seem to have any patience. These are usually the days that I did not start my day with Jesus, and I need a do-over. I need a time out, so I try to go for a walk alone and have a good talk with the Lord. He helps me realize that, like the smoothie disaster, relationship messes can be cleaned up when I let God take control, and I put self aside.
Willie and Elaine Oliver talk about the PPC method. When you find yourself facing a potential confrontation, you discipline yourself to Pause, Pray and Choose your response carefully. I have found this very helpful in our own household. Too often I react and blurt out responses that hurt others. But, when I pause, pray, and then respond, the outcome is much better.
I want to encourage you, that when you have a rough day, to hit that reset button whenever you need to, by practicing the PPC method. And if you think it is too hard, remember friends, that God promises that, with Him, ALL things are possible! Philippians 4:13.
Dawn Jacobson-Venn, M.A.T. And educator, and administrative assistant for the department of Family Ministries at the General Conference.