Broken Toilets & Sanctification

After laboring through a treacherous four mile run in the peak temperatures on late June afternoon, the last thing I wanted to do was deal with a broken toilet.

The flusher on the toilet had been a little out of sorts for the previous few days. But today it finally broke. The water inside the toilet is rising, as I frantically try to figure out how to turn the water off. I immediately call Dale and get no answer. He’s at worship practice.

Oh my life!

Of course this would happen on the day my husband is working until after 9pm.

I’m tired. Hungry, too. I have other things to do tonight. Better things. Besides, what in the world do I know about toilets?

Ugh!

How I would much rather leave this problem for Dale to deal with when he gets home. But even in my anger and frustration that doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. I have to at least attempt to get this toilet fixed.

After three hours, two trips to Home Depot, water on the floor, several FaceTime calls with my brother (who is a plumbing technician), it is fixed. Dale walks in the door just as I put the bathroom cleaning supplies back in the cabinet. All signs of an evening of turmoil and irritability wiped away.

I truly wish I could say I was that wonderful of a wife. Or person for that matter. I mean yes, I did fix the toilet. But not without my ugly exploding everywhere.

Here are a few things a broken toilet showed me about my journey of sanctification.

I have not arrived.

It’s far too easy for me to look back at where I was a year ago and feel too proud. To reflect on the sins that used to conquer me day after day and realize they no longer have hold of me. Rather than boast in the work of Christ my soul is prone to boast in the progress I’ve made. I tend to focus on how far I’ve come.

I fool myself into thinking I’ve arrived.

And then a broken toilet seizes the most inopportune moment, and I see a clear image of what still lies within me. A million and one selfish thoughts flooded my head as my bathroom floor was almost underwater.

Where is my husband when I need him? Of course, he’s off working. Oh don’t worry I will gladly take care of myself.

The thoughts go on and on. I was mad that I had to fix the problem, because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced. Really, I was far too focused on how this altered my day and that someone wasn’t there to take care of it for me. What a small moment in life to remind me to walk in humility. To remind me how desperately I need the Holy Spirit to make me more like Jesus.

The words of Paul rang true as I indignantly attacked my husband through the thoughts in my head.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfectBUT I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Philippians 3:12)

Little sin can cause a lot of damage.

Little sins never stay little. If I’m being honest, I felt justified in my frustration towards my husband, who was at work utterly clueless of my anger. As each minute passed, I quickly realized this was not going to be an easy fix. And my irritation grew.

Before you know it, I had a full conversation built in my head of what I was going to tell him when he got home. I’m truly so grateful I was home alone without anyone to vent to, because that would have only fanned the flame of my anger.

In the whole 9 months we have been married, tasks have never been divided up based on gender. If I’m capable of doing something then I do it and vice versa. Growing up with a single mom who handled everything in the house, I was perfectly comfortable with this arrangement…until it was something I didn’t want to do.

In my head, Dale should have been fixing the toilet. He’s the man. And I’d rather pick and choose when I want to be a strong, independent woman.

Such a little sense of entitlement and selfishness grew into something so much bigger. I just wouldn’t shake the frustration until I was able to explain how unfair this situation was to my husband when he got home. I wasted a few hours of my life being upset over something so trivial.

Looking back, it seems so ridiculous that I would be so upset about fixing a toilet. That I would spend so much time, energy, thought space, and emotions building a case for why this wasn’t fair.

It’s always the little sins in our hearts that grow into something bigger and bring about destruction. It may seem like a minor thing, but my attitude and perspective in this situation showed much about what lies deep within my heart.

It is the small things that we brush aside that can form into something so much greater if we don’t address them and see them for what they are.

Becoming more like Jesus happens in the everyday, mundane things of life.

I planned to share how upset I was when my husband walked through the door. I’m so very grateful that I didn’t.

I started to explain how the toilet broke and how I fixed it and Dale responded with, “How great does it feel knowing you can now fix a toilet?” I wanted to snap back with, “Not great! You should have been here to fix it.”

But the words never came out.

I looked at my husband’s exhausted face as he began to share about his day and all of my anger melted away. My heart softened and I could no longer remember all the things I had been holding in to tell him. I’m sure the last thing he wanted to come home to was an upset wife reliving the frustration of the last few hours. When at the end of the day the toilet was fixed, and with the help of my  brother, for only about $30 in parts.

That conversation could have easily gone a different direction. Our night would have turned out much differently. I’m so grateful for God holding my tongue and changing my heart in that moment.

Becoming more like Christ is not only reflected in the big life events, but in the small everyday moments. Sanctification is a daily journey. It takes place in the mundane and trivial things of life.

The Holy Spirit is constantly at work in what we consider the “small” sins. Those are really the most difficult ones, because they sneak up on us. We can hide them easier. We find a million and one ways to justify them. But these areas of our life are just as important to God as the larger issues. He desires to make all of who we are like Christ.

I’m so grateful that the Holy Spirit is always at work in my life even in the mundane things like a broken toilet. Not a moment of our lives is wasted. He works through all things.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (Romans 8:29)

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