I have one small quirk. (Eh, maybe I have more than one ,but those aren’t for sharing right now.) I can’t completely explain it without some admittance to an insane level of “First World Privilege”. My time living with this quirk has all blended together. Maybe I would’ve let it go on, unnoticed, unobtrusive, if I hadn’t married Thomas. His humor and incredulity surrounding my quirk spurred many a late night conversation about how to change the habit.
Here it is.
I hate replacing the toilet paper roll in the bathroom.
I know that it is a silly, mundane task, yet every time I must do it, I cringe. Something about having to dig out a soft roll from the cardboard box, remove the cylinder from the holder, and squeezing the hinge together to re-attach the pole to the holder is….just….too….hard.
If you haven’t closed this web page yet because this post is ridiculous, bear with me.
I excuse myself from little “to-do’s” or tasks every day because they are too hard, or too time-consuming, or require too much commitment. I line my life up for comfort and ease because it feels good. Admittedly, I’m not saying any of the extras I enjoy are “bad” or “sinful”. I’m just struck by the fluff. I wonder at my capacity to endure anything tough.
I ask myself these questions:
If I’m constantly cushioning myself against the pricks of life, how will I gain a thicker skin?
How I will I learn anything new?
How will I increase my fortitude and endurance?
If I only choose the easy things, what kind of person will I become?
There is a chilling passage in the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, where the writer John shares the words he heard from Jesus about the Christians of the day.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Lukewarm. Complacent. Lackadaisical. Soft.
Basically, Jesus thinks that attitude is nauseating. He isn’t interested in making my life easy; He’s interested in growing my spirit to flourish, no matter what the circumstances. He’s interested in refining me through hard times, so that I can be stronger, braver, bolder.
So, He orchestrates circumstances, moments, pieces of my life, to challenge my status quo.
To make my mind engage.
To force me out of my comfort zone.
For lack of a better analogy, the toilet paper roll always needs to be changed, somewhere, in my life.
I am currently going through a rough patch at my job. Eight months ago, I took on a new position with wildly high hopes of creating sweeping change to the culture and the performance of my company.
To say I’ve fallen flat on my face would be an understatement. While I may be an upbeat, believe-in-yourself leader, I also lack certain knowledge and expertise that has cost both me and my team greatly. Those costs, to be clear, are solid metrics, solid sleep for all of us, and a solid foundation for us to stand on.
Which has led to some really solid tears on my end.
What I thought I could do easily, I have found to be doubly harder than anticipated. What I thought I could fix solo, I have discovered I need some help. My ego has taken a blow.
I’m face with a choice: I can either accept or resist. I can lean in or pull away. Now, in this career move, and onward, in the next steps of this grand life.
Where we are uncomfortable, is where we have opportunity to grow. Submitting to the moment, realizing where we are at, makes us stronger. Our small brains want us to run for cover. Our instinct says, “Duck down – danger ahead! Go back to safety!”
But some discomfort in my very privileged, abundantly blessed, outlandishly rich life is actually good for me. Through the discomfort, grace expands its influence.
Wherever grace is, that’s where I want to be.
So, I’m practicing living with discomfort over ease. To know that I’m going to be okay on the other side. More than okay, I’m going to be so much better because I’m learning to do hard things. Hard, good, challenging, exciting things….
-Listening to other opinions aside from my own
-Giving to others of my precious time and limited resources
-Sitting in silence while a friend talks
-Supporting my spouse when I don’t have the answers
-Asking detailed questions when I would rather spout solutions
-Hearing tough feedback and turning it into action plans
-Getting up early to workout for a healthier body
-Making healthier choices in my eating patterns
-Keeping a tighter budget to pay off debt
It’s not always fun. Nor is it always what I want to do.
But it’s worth it.
The more strength I gain, the more capacity I have for greater things. Who knows what will be around the bend?
Maybe the next challenge will be increasing my giving, opening up my home to others, or running for public office. Maybe it will be speaking up for the voiceless, raising awareness for more causes, or helping out in my community. Whatever that challenge is, it will require courage, strength, and grace.
That’s the point of growth. Not only to make myself better, but to make the world better.
And, all the while, at my house, in my bathroom, when you come to visit…
The toilet paper roll will always be replaced.
Epilogue: My sweet husband Thomas swapped the springy toilet paper holder with a simple, slide on version. Because, sometimes love covers a multitude of weird quirks and envelopes even the oddest of souls.