Take Your Eyes off the Catsup!

I flounder between fixing things and waiting for the thing that needs to happen.

A classic example?...The bottle of catsup that sat on my kitchen counter for a day...

(I could do without catsup. My food is adequately flavorful sans catsup, thank you very much.)

Being that catsup continues to exist in my household, there's a simple rule here at the house. You get it out? You put it back up. If only it were that simple.

Yesterday someone felt they needed catsup on their chicken strips, which were perfectly good without it. Despite my instructions to put it away, there it sat this morning; a big reminder of my failure to easily bring about desired results.

This isn't a new problem. I've shaken my head at sock-stuffed shoes left by the couch, a backpack dumped two feet away from its designated basket, and a tube of toilet paper pointlessly taken off its metal roll by the toilet. That's the little stuff. There are harder things plaguing our residence that seek to consume me.

I stared down the catsup bottle as I prepared to go to church. It wasn't going to move itself. Despite a seemingly hopeless situation I had a few options.

1. I could call down said kid that left the catsup out and tell them to put it up (making them do it that second and then clapping sarcastically in mock victory at their accomplishment.)

2. I could pick up that hated bottle of Heinz and put it back in the fridge detesting myself for caving in once again; promising next time to just not buy more catsup.)

3. I could leave the catsup bottle there and wait for the accomplice to 1. notice her mess there on the counter, 2. repent of her actions, and then 3. put the catsup back in its place. Might I say I've tried this one numerous times. I dare say Jesus might return before that would happen.

Still, option three is probably best. My hope is that those I love will grow in their awareness of what is right and their desire to do what is right. My making them do right produces immediate obedience but it doesn't always increase their faithfulness. So many times, when I'm not watching, not harping on them, they go back to problem-making; leaving mess right in my midst.

Please don't think I'm still talking about catsup.

In error, I believe I'm the one to fix it all.

No, they're going to continue to do things that make me shrug my shoulders and ball up my fists in frustration. Where I'm really going with all this is that we're going to be witness to situations that our loved ones are in that make us silently shriek in fear and sorrow.

Some messes, even the messiest ones, are meant to be left alone. There's no need for a Houdini to make trouble disappear. The best solution won't always be accomplished through force.

Disappointment and defeat will offer to be our company while we wait for things to get cleaned up.

We've got to take our eyes off the catsup; our bottled up trouble. Give it a glance, but leave it there. Learn to wait. We can affect change but we can't necessarily produce it. Learn to hope for, what we can't produce.

Besides, we've got our own mess we're leaving on the counter while we're distracted.

...we’d better get on with it...no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus...—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross,shame, whatever.

When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message)

6 thoughts on “Take Your Eyes off the Catsup!

  1. Jana

    Love this line... We can affect change but we can't necessarily produce it. Was reading something on this the other day. Such a great reminder. Thanks!

    1. Kristi Burden

      Post author

      I should probably read whatever it was that you read. This is something I know, but I need to get better at practicing!


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