Sal and I had a fight last weekend. It was a decent size argument. We had planned a date afternoon/night and what started as a conversation over drinks at one of Sal’s favorite places went to parenting conversations, chatting about our finances, a few passive aggressive statements from both sides, some sideways interpretations, some shutting down, some teary eyes, a few more sassy comments, and eventually resolution, explanations, apologies and a great evening.
Let me ask you this, do you know what type of kitchen appliance you tend to be like?
Years ago I was starting a new small group and someone suggested starting with a question:
If you had to describe your life and how you feel about yourself currently, using a kitchen appliance or tool, what would you pick?
It was an amazing question. We had ice machines, blenders, knives, juices, and a George Foreman Grill too. What started as a fun and seemingly silly question had us both laughing and sharing honestly about how we felt about our purpose, our position in life, our value, our current capacity.
When Sal and I fought it came down to the classic issue of he is just an entirely different kitchen appliance than I am.
Without disclosing the details of our argument let me use a benign example of how these fusses typically evolve for us:
We have carpet in our house. One of us makes a comment, “We are going to need to have this carpet replaced.” Weeks pass. We are at Lowe’s and Sal mentions, “We will need to get that carpet replaced one day. I wonder when they will put carpet on sale.”
At this point, this is when my personality begins to impact our marriage. What I heard was, “We need to get new carpet.” So I add it to the list and get to work. I get quotes. I create a Pinterest board of carpet ideas. I mention to friends we need new carpet, do a little crown sourcing. Then I bring to Sal all my findings.
At this point, this is when Sal’s personally begins to enter the dynamic. What he thinks is, “Wow. Jenn is serious about this new carpet. I guess we need to get serious about it. I’ll check out our financial status and start looking at how to budget for new carpet.”
I see Sal looking at carpet. Sal shows me pricing for carpet. I’m already ready for the carpet. I don’t really care how much it costs or what we pick, it’s simply time for new carpet in my head, but I’m happy cause Sal’s excited about new carpet too, as evidenced by his own research and conversations regarding new carpet.
This can go on for a while, but one day I say, “It’s time to order the carpet.” Or, I include Sal in a group text or email with a carpet person. Sal is confused.
“What?! We are getting new carpet?!”
I’m confused. We have talked about this. Sal gets frustrated. I am frustrated. I roll my eyes and reference something about waffling. Sal makes a cute comment about how I must not care about retirement. It evolves from there. With way too much time wasted we finally arrive at:
“But you said you wanted new carpet.”
“I said I wanted to THINK about new carpet and you just took off.”
It would be an oversimplification to say, “Sal is a croc pot and Jenn is a microwave.” This whole idea of how we communicate and operate, about our general temperament, and how we process information applies way beyond my relationship with Sal. I have always had a personality that would jump the gun. If you tell me you want something, then I’m just wondering why we haven’t already gone after it. One co-worker called me “quick-draw”, another said, “I need to realize that you salute and go, so it’s important to make sure you know when I’m just brainstorming versus when I need you to do something.”
When we don’t realize how we operate we often end up frustrated. And we for sure often end up frustrating others.
We are how we are, and for a myriad of reasons. There are about a gazillion (slight exaggeration) things that have shaped you, made an impact, and formed the habit of how you operate. Life has crafted a specific set of lenses framing how you see the world. And none of this is new or shocking to God. God is fully aware.
1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
The question becomes, how aware are you? Do you know what kind of kitchen appliance best describes your current affect? Do you know how you operate in the kitchen of work? of church? at home?
Just knowing a funny way to explain how you currently function in your world is such a great place to start. Submitting the application of your-appliance-self to God is a whole other thing.
If you are interested in taking a deeper look at Psalm 139, connecting with a few other people and jumping in an honest conversation about how we are wired and how to stay plugged in, join us on Wednesdays or Mondays. Register for an online study, “Full Well”.
In the meantime, shout out your current kitchen gadget name below.