I like a good object lesson. I like to observe something and then allow my over-active imagination and my sometimes-silly brain to interpret a message about it. I'm not one who believes there is a lesson in everything, but I do know that sometimes I see things that make me think.
It happened in the bathroom the other day.
Yes, the bathroom.
Toilet paper. Everyone knows about it. Uses it. Needs it. It's one of the items we purchase on a regular basis yet we hope it will not require an announced price check at the register. The first TV ads for toilet paper that I remember were of Mr Whiffle and "Please don't squeeze the Charmin." Those ads were a huge hit and one of the phrases that was added to our household lexicon. There are tons of brands and types. When I was a kid, toilet paper came in all kinds of colors to match your bathroom decor. Remember that? You'd go to someone's house and, if you needed to..."go," there would be the bathroom done in seahorses and lo and behold, their paper would be blue. Growing up my mom's best friend and neighbor had her bathroom all in pink-- complete with pink paper. (And, on the back of the toilet, sat a little plastic doll with a crocheted skirt and under it was, you guessed it, a spare roll of pink toilet paper) For a while it was also scented, but I think that proved to be a bad idea. Now we're all white but with lots of claims of being the softest and the most...comfortable and efficient.
Another claim that the manufacturers of toilet paper make is that it's strong. All of them say that their's is the best- the strongest, the most on a roll, the one that works better than all of the others. They've used all kinds of examples in showing us the power of this paper, this tissue, and it's all kind of ridiculous.
So recently I had an experience with a roll of tp that left me thinking. You see, it was in a public restroom. The company obviously didn't want to have to change rolls very often so they were using the giant-sized roll; I mean this roll of paper had to be over a foot in diameter. I'm sure, in theory, that was a great idea - fewer employee hours spent changing rolls equals more time doing other important tasks. Except for one flaw: cheap paper. The paper was so thin and weak that it would tear off in tiny bits and wasn't anywhere near effective. Paper was all over the floor and someone was going to have to come in and clean it all up. It simply wasn't strong enough to support moving the roll along. Had the paper been thicker, and the seams between the squares a little closer, the roll would turn efficiently and the problem would be solved. As it was, I needed to help it along and that defeated the purpose of their attempt at saving paper.
In contrast, (I know a few of you are cringing by now. Stay with me.) I was pleasantly surprised while on a trip a few weeks ago. A visit to a rest area impressed me by the strong, efficient paper in their toilet. That paper was just the right size and strength for the roll. You didn't get any waste or any little pieces of it tearing randomly from the rest of the paper. Harmony.
By now you're either seeing how I am applying this to life or you are getting very uncomfortable. Either way, at least you're still reading. Here's my point:
Are you strong enough for your roll (role)? Are you ready for the role that you play in life? In service? Because it isn't playing-- it's work. And because it's going to take some strength for the Big Role. If you are so weak that all people are getting are the bits, then you are not ready to be effective and you need to be made stronger. How do we do that? Just like the paper on the roll, we need more substance. We need, in our case. more of Jesus. We must spend time investing in ourselves by reading God's Word and praying for Him to grow and mature us. We need to study and to be still and listen to Him as He speaks. We need to surround ourselves with godly women who will speak Truth to us on a regular basis. All these things develop who we are spiritually. In addition to our inward work, we must also grow outwardly. We have to develop healthy friendships and bonds that will strengthen us and provide us with the accountability that we require.
We all have roles in this life. We all need to be strong in the Lord and strong for each other. This kingdom work isn't easy and the enemy is just waiting for us to allow him into our lives and into our work. We need to be thick enough that he cannot pierce us. We need to have our arms locked so that when we are needed, we're strong enough to support our role. Get me? I hope you do, because you don't even want me to get started about 1-ply versus 2!