My wife basically keeps our house running. Yes, I do help out, but she really is the all-star in our house. But, when it comes to laundry, I tackle most of it. I learned that from my mom.
She wasn’t the biggest fan of me playing football in high school, so she had this rule: If you’re going to play, you’re going to wash your own uniform. So, I learned to do laundry…and how to handle grass stains!
Each Saturday I’ll dive in. I separate the lights and the darks along with other laundry basics. The washer and dryer start cranking away, and we are able to end the day with closets full of all the clean clothes. Or almost full.
When I make one final trip back to the dirty laundry, there it is, staring at me…the red load.
If you’ve done laundry, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the load that you’re terrified of because of the time that it turned that one sock pink, bringing great shame and scorn upon you. You set those “reds” aside, knowing that you don’t dare mix them in with any other clothes.
So, it’s the last load to get done. But it usually doesn’t get done. Other than around Christmas, there are usually just a few red items to be washed, so I wait to deal with it. And wait. And wait. As I wait, it gets covered over again, only to be revealed during the next wash cycle, when all of the other clothes are pulled away once more.
I was staring at the pile of reds recently, and it hit me – I’ve got those red loads in my life, too. It’s those areas of weakness that I don’t like to face. The areas where I need the most growth, but I don’t want to deal with the growing pains.
The red load – the parts of my life most don’t usually see, but finally surface when everything else is stripped away.
I try to be the best dad I can be, but there are those “red load” moments when I get too impatient or overreact to something. I want to be the best husband I can be, but then the time comes when the “red load” is uncovered through laziness or a selfish attitude. And there’s my health. I try to avoid my weight by focusing on the generally healthy parts of my life, or shifting blame for how I eat.
Am I alone in these areas we try to keep hidden? Of course not. We all have them, and we also know the freedom we’d find if we would just deal with them and get them cleaned up once and for all.
I learned a long time ago the best way to deal with these areas, even though I don’t always do it. The best thing I can do is to talk to the One who made me…the One who knows every corner and detail of my life. God knows I’ve messed up. The Bible says, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). But, God also promises that He will help me deal with those messes – “I can do everything through Jesus Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13).
I couldn’t REALLY deal with the things I need to if it weren’t for having my best friend, Jesus, by my side.
And so, I’m working on getting those areas cleaned up more and more. I’m working on having more patience, on helping more around the house, and on losing weight. It’s going well so far. And it will keep going well, as long as I keep trusting my Creator’s strength and not my own. Bring on the red load!