Our dryer is broken.  It's been making an awful sound for several months now.  It began with an occasional squeak and I pretended I didn't hear it. Then it got louder.  It moved from a little whine to a squeal that could be heard downstairs and in the basement...probably even in the garage.
I pretended it wasn't that loud.  I turned up the music and sat on the patio and kept using it.  Now it's getting worse.  The squeaking has stopped and it's starting to damage our clothes.  We're noticing little holes in T-shirts and shorts and things are getting stuck in the rim just inside the dryer door.  It's time for a new dryer.

I have other squeaks in my life too.  I can let relationships drift and slide off my radar.  My house can get messier and more cluttered by the day, no matter how many cleaning ideas I 'pin' to make the tasks easier to tackle.  I can get lazy with my parenting.  What used to be unacceptable slowly creeps in and my passivity is perceived as acceptance.  What I accept in moderation they accept in excess.

Is there hope for change for me at 40-years-old or am I destined to continue my catapult into this 'blind eye' approach to living? 

In Tim Kimmel's book, Grace Based Parenting, he asserts that as parents our job is to act as a lighthouse for our kids to keep shining the light of Christ into their lives to help them avoid hitting the rocks.  Who doesn't love the image of a serene coastline with a stately lighthouse? It makes sense and is nostalgic. 

I can be a light, I am actually pretty good at it.  When the light is shining I can rise to the occasion.  Put me in a crisis and I'll be standing strong and steady.  My problem is not with the light, my issue is with the darkness.  It's in those 45 seconds of darkness when the light is busy shining in the other direction that I lose my way.

I can time it perfectly to take full advantage of the darkness too.  I have an uncanny sense of knowing exactly how to make the shadows work in my favor.  Avoid confrontation?  I'm a pro.  Pretend my shadowy vision in my left eye is really no big deal? Easy.  Circumvent a fight with my son by not insisting he clean his room? Done.  Lift the boundaries on movie viewing and allow a few PG-13 movies to keep the peace with my tween.  You bet.

When will the compromise end?  I even have special phrases to squelch the doubt that may creep into my head.  My favorite is "I have to pick my battles!" whew - that's better - suddenly I can justify anything that feels uncomfortable or hard.

The reality is...I need to suck it up.
Maybe you do to? The critical part of the light in the lighthouse is the magnifying glass.  Without the glass the light would have very little refraction and it would simply be a spinning bulb.  The life saving ability of the light is the power of the light to shine over wide distances coupled with the speed of the bulb to turn. 

When I shrink back in the darkness I have no power.  No power to shine for God.  No power to parent with grace and not fear. No power to care for my health or my house or my relationships.
I must be able to stand firm in the light and be agile enough to spin quickly to illuminate the shadows.

It won't be easy, but recognizing my habits is the first step.  I think I'll start by shopping for a new dryer.