Today, I’ve been ironing. Itty bitty frilly dresses and some big people clothing for our family photo shoot tomorrow.
I hate ironing. I do it so seldom that I always need to read the instructions on my iron, to figure out how to use it.
Aside from buying all wrinkle free clothing, I also have a clothes washing technique that helps me avoid the dreaded iron. I carefully hang up everything that might wrinkle, immediately after I pull it from the wash. It hangs to dry for as long as it takes to get smooth. That’s how I can stand being married to a doctor who wears dress shirts and slacks every day to work.
I think it’s the tediousness of the job that gets to me. Either that, or the picky little detail orientation that it requires.
But as I was pushing around the very hot, very heavy iron, trying to get out some stubborn wrinkles, I realized that it takes a lot of pressure and heat to get out the worst wrinkles, just like it takes a lot of pressure and heat to take out my own worst wrinkles. And no, I’m not talking about some new beauty cream technique.
This morning, Lizzy and I were reading in her children’s bible about Saul, the mean man God called to spread his good news to all the nations. That guy had some serious wrinkles to iron out. He was killing people, for heavens sake.
God saved him, but it took something dramatic, a lot of heat and pressure, to change his heart. He lost his vision for three days. But then, he became a believer, and God wasn’t done ironing him yet. I read to Lizzy the list of all the terrible things that befell him after his conversion, including shipwrecks (three of them), getting bit by a venomous snake, and getting thrown in prison. Plus, he was persecuted, big time.
And I found myself telling Lizzy that being a Christian didn’t mean things were going to get easier. Hard lesson for a 9 month old, but I think she understood (as she chewed on the bookmark).
So while hanging clothes up to dry will eventually get rid of all the wrinkles, the fastest, most effective way to get rid of them is with a lot of heat and pressure.
And just like I hate ironing, the tedious and tough job of getting clothing smooth, and I much prefer hanging things up for as long as necessary, I also would rather wait around for sanctification to take place. I’m happy with God taking his time, little by little, to straighten me out.
It’s those tedious, hot, hard, pressurized times that I hate.
But those are also the times I look back on as the times where I can see the most change, the most I’ve become like Christlike, largely because I’m stuck relying completely on him.
I’m never going to like ironing clothing. But maybe someday, I’ll welcome the ironing out of my character.