Super Ball Spirituality
A few years ago, my boys had a fascination with super balls. In school, they were able to pick prizes for reaching reading goals. They both would come home with super balls. We had a shoe box filled with them. Daddy’s shoe box. I can’t tell you how many were in that box, but it was a fairly big collection. They varied in size from the tiny which were about ½” to the huge which were 2” in diameter.
We found them everywhere. In their pants’ pockets, in the bathtub, in their beds and once when I was driving them somewhere I stopped fast and one rolled from the backseat up to me. Their favorite thing to do with them was to climb up as high as they could get and flip the box over just to watch them fall. They liked hearing the different sounds they made as they hit the hardwood floor. In that respect, I thought they were a useful tool in their creative learning process. At least when you were in the room watching their delighted faces. When you were downstairs just below the flip site it sounded like a herd of tiny animals running across the floor.
The super balls began to annoy me. One morning when they were both at school, I found the puppy happily chewing on something on the living room floor. To my dismay, she had gotten ahold of one of the bigger super balls and had succeeded in chewing it into tiny bits. I was angry because I had warned them about leaving their stuff lay around. So I got down on my hands and knees and began to talk to the pile of rubber bits.
“That’s all we need in the backyard….bouncing poo”
“Oh, they are in so much trouble…”
“That’s it. No more super balls in THIS house”
Another reason why I am not a brain surgeon
I stormed into the kitchen with my handful of trash. Wisdom would have said to gently set them on the top of the garbage. However, I gathered up the energy of an NBA player and slammed it into the top of the already full garbage can. At this point, I guess I should divulge to you why there are more reasons than one that I am not a rocket scientist or brain surgeon. Ha-ha.
In my anger, it did not occur to me that each and every one of those chewed bits was a miniature super ball. To my shock, I suddenly had hundreds of tiny super balls flinging themselves all over my kitchen. They bounced off the wall behind the garbage can, me, and the ceiling fan in the kitchen.
Suddenly the “mess” on the living room floor became a much smaller problem. I had bouncy ball parts all over my kitchen, dining room and even pieces back in the living room and laundry area! It literally took me hours. Maybe days, until I found all the places where those little particles bounced. We found them under our microwave oven, in our shoes by the back door. It was crazy.
As a result, the Lord revealed to me that our careless words are like those little bouncy ball bits. We may say something slightly hurtful, sarcastic or mean but we don’t think much of it. We don’t realize how our words just keep bouncing around everyone we speak with. For me, this is especially true about how I speak with those I love the most. Familiarity breeds contempt. That’s how the saying goes and I think it’s true that we allow those with whom we have the most contact and those who know us the best to get under our skin. My family is the brunt of my frustrations so much more often than I’d like to admit. Sometimes it’s me just having a moment and I choose not to filter my words or tone, and sometimes it’s them. They know the buttons to push to make Mom come unglued!
The words are like all those different sized bouncy balls. The big ones, I imagine, are like the meltdown words. The smaller ones for the minor infractions. The really tiny bits are more like the times we say things to our kids like, “You are being lazy. “ We don’t truly mean it as a character flaw. Maybe we’re just trying to motivate them to get moving on a task. The funny thing is, maybe they hear that as a confirmation of a flaw and their spirits sag.
Finally, be aware that your words are bouncing. And once you release them, you can’t ever totally take them back. Not even when you apologize to someone for speaking out of turn. Consequently, once they’ve heard and internalized your words they will have that on “permanent record”. Maybe when you’ve asked for forgiveness they won’t associate the hurt with you, but the enemy does have a way of reminding us. He whispers in our ears things that have hurt us in the past. There is no condemnation for those in Christ and we need to remember that those whispers are his weapon. We just need to take a moment and quit loading the gun for him!
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