In our house, like many, I am sure, there are a few, I guess you could say “inside jokes”, when something is mentioned our family will all laugh about it because we know the back story. For instance at our house if someone starts to pray and says “Jesus,” then pauses and ever so slowly says ”we love you” our whole family may burst into laughter because it reminds us of a season in Chad’s life when he was about 4 yrs old where his only prayer was “Jesus”, then pause and ever so slowly would say “we love you” then he would speed it up and say “we love you, we love you, Amen” or if someone starts telling a story, we will drag out the word story in just the perfect southern draw, because Jeff is the best storyteller in the world when it comes to Jerry Clower stories and he has his own way of saying “Let me tell you a story” that only he can do.
Well, we have another inside joke in our home. It has to do with a pair of cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. Since probably 1985, every time Jeff sees a pair of cowboy boots or a hat, he will mention how I threw his away and honestly he was a little mad, okay, I think he was a lot mad at first. But I wasn’t and I have no regrets and still to this day don’t.
For years I have been blamed and be the brunt of many jokes in our family for throwing away Jeff’s cowboy boots and hat. All in good fun of course and technically that is what happened,I did throw them away, I admit it, but just saying that statement doesn’t explain everything. For at least 34 yrs I have sat quiet and taken the brunt of the jokes and been teased and even at some points made to feel bad because of the deed I did. But today I am hear to clear my name.
You see when I threw those away, Jeff had not worn them in years and I found them smashed into the back of the closet and if I remember correctly they had mold growing on them or, I might have tried to save them. But the truth is when I married Jeff Miller he had a horrible time with ingrown toenails.
You know what we found out was causing that? Jeff was wearing a size 12 shoe at the time and needed a size 14, and guess what size the boots were? You guessed it! 12.
But nobody hears that part of the story when Jeff tells it, They just all look at me with destain in their eyes as if I am a horrible person and that these items are some sort of religious artifacts that can never be touched, and that hat, it was crumbled up beyond repair since it too had been squashed in the closet and left unused.
Now is it true, that I have never been attracted to a man in cowboy boots and a hat?, (although that seemed to be the only clothes in which Jeff wore to gain my attention before we were married) “yes” and is it true that I began to buy things for Jeff to wear that I liked, like dress clothes and penny loafers? “Yes”.
But none of that is relevant to the fact that I threw the boots and hat out because he could not wear them any longer and they were actually doing harm to his body. Which sent us on many doctors visits and cost us a lot of money.
But Jeff, as you may already know is the most tender hearted sentimental, sweetest man I know. Which is wonderful, but also makes him often cling to certain things that could be thrown away. Jeff enjoys keeping those things around because when he looks at them it brings him joy and reminds him of sweet memories he has.
All this got to thinking ….. Isn’t that a lot like us in our life? We want to cling on to the way things use to be. Whether it be how our town used to look, or where we used to live, or what we once had. Even if the previous situation was bad and not good for us we cling to the memories of what we want to remember and some are not the whole picture of what was really going on.
You know in the bible the children of Israel had the same problem, God delivered them out of the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt, where they had been slaves all their lives (you can read about it in the book of Exodus) and all they did was complain and want to go back to what they were used to, even though they had prayed for years for God to deliver them. They wanted to go back to what was comfortable. They wanted to go back to what was familiar but God had a different and bigger plan for them. He wanted to take them to a land that was plentiful of everything they needed. He wanted to give them more than what they had. He had a better plan but because it was going to take them stepping out of their comfort zone to do that, they griped and complained the whole way.
In Egypt they were slaves, beaten and abused, made to work long hours for little to no rewards. Bound to an owner that did not love them or care about them. We look back on this story in the bible and think they were crazy for wanting to go back to that. But how crazy are we, when we want to lose weight so we can gain our health back, so we aren’t on so many medications, maybe even avoid having to have knee or hip surgery if we can just get our weight off but we still continue to put things in our mouths that cause us to be sick and gain weight because it is comfortable.
Maybe it is an unhealthy relationship that we have we continue to go right back into it. Knowing it isn’t good for us but because we are to scared to make the leap and walk away even though this person abuses you and doesn’t have the capacity to love you like you need to be loved.
We are all slaves to something, whether it is holding on to things that we don’t need or use anymore to people and habits that are not healthy for us.
The thing is, this past Christmas I bought Jeff a new pair of boots to replace the ones he had, and if I do say so myself, they are as nice if not nicer than the ones he had and the kids just bought him a new cowboy hat for Father’s Day that came in the swanky hat box with a mirror in it and apparently a lock on it so I can’t throw this one away. (at least that is what I have been told)
Now could Jeff of replaced them at any time? Sure he could of, long before this. But the truth is he really didn’t need them and just between you and me I think he likes teasing me about the story more than he wanted a new set. But don’t we often do that, for some we hold onto the memories and even sometimes the resentment of things that have happened in the past instead of moving on, instead of walking in the better life God has for us, because that is where we are comfortable.
That is what satan wants us to do, he wants us to keep looking back at where we use to be, longing for that old way of life. When God says “Look to me”, “I have something better for you over here, just trust me” Even in Isaiah He tells us “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19
So when you see Jeff down at the Rodeo or around town in his new boots and hat on, be sure and tell him how nice he looks. Feel free to sympathize with him of how horrible his wife was to throw his old ones away. But at the same time, ask yourself. “Is there something you are holding onto that God wants you to lay down so He can take you to a new and better place in Him?”