I tend to take myself far too seriously. But I am learning.
For the past decade (or more), the Lord has been teaching me to laugh at myself. Believe me, I provide him with ample opportunities to administer the lessons. Several chapters in my book Growing Room attest to this fact. Underwire bras, saddle horns, getting stuck in back seats, and text messaging faux pas—sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.
I tend to take myself far too seriously. But I am learning. Slowly.
While on our farm retreat, we got up one morning to take care of the chores. I put on my these-can-get-filthy clothes and my knock-off barn crocs (too hot for bright red boots). You know, just my early morning farm finery.
Shining bright yellow, the sun set the farm afire with light. My husband went to fill the tin pans with grain for the goats, ducks, and chickens. They all require different food, and it was a juggling act to keep the nimble little goats from getting to the chicken feed, but I wasn’t too concerned because that was my husband’s job that morning.
The barn chores moved along like clockwork. We circumvented the goats, flushed the ducks in all their flapping glory to the outside enclosure, and shooed the chickens along to snatch their eggs.
Because it was my turn to be the water girl, I pulled the hose across the driveway, water cold and flowing. My crocs squeaked. I snaked the hose through the wire fence, the nozzle pointed into the water tubs. I slid through the gate. No escapees.
There were several buckets and tubs to fill, and between them, I kinked the hose to cut wasted water and reduce the mud. When I bent down to the second tub, my hair got into my face, and I lost control of the hose. It twisted and dipped like a cobra rising out of a basket. With my hair matted to my face and my eyes squeezed shut, I grappled with the whipping hose.
The chickens clucked madly as they escaped the cold spray, the ducks waddled wildly away, and the goats—well, I hoped and prayed Ellie or Oreo didn’t decide to use my backside for head-butting practice. By this time, I was wheezing, couldn’t stand upright, and my mouth filled with water. I teetered forward. I just knew I was going to go headfirst into the goat water. I kinked the hose, but the slippery bright green snake just slid right out of my hand and started its dance again. I sputtered and tried to shout for help.
Finally, it dawned on me that I could just drop the hose and step away as fast as possible (which I should have done initially). Water dripped from my hair and from the end of my nose. My feet slid inside my crocs, and I wobbled precariously. I scanned the goat yard to see if my husband had been privy to my fiasco. At first, he wasn’t in sight. Then he turned the corner and saw the narrow river coursing through the barnyard and heard animals quarreling about the whole mishap. My plastered hair and my soaked clothes didn’t go unnoticed.
“What happened?” he asked.
I tried to explain.
He asked me why I didn’t just drop the hose. I just looked at him. And laughed.
Now, I believe God has a sense of humor. And that morning, as He sat in glory watching this comedic reel, I wonder, did he shake his head and shout, “Tamera, just drop the hose. Just let go of it and step back.”
He’s the only one who saw the whole thing. There was no harm done, nothing lost, and no crucial lesson to be learned. But one day, I am going to be grappling with a snake, and God’s going to say to me, “Tamera, just drop it. Just let go and step back.”
I’ll be much better off if I listen to Him.
And so will you.