Stop the Beeping!

beep 2The beeping started at 4AM. Where is it coming from? Get the ladder & a new battery. Who put a dead battery with the new ones? Get another battery. Seriously, that one is dead too? Stop the beeping!

Not exactly proud of this, but I’ve watched every episode of Friends. Twice. It makes me laugh. (There’s one aspect of it that I wish was different, but that’s another topic for another discussion.) So, when the beeping started at 4AM and continued every minute for a half hour (seeming like an eternity), I kept thinking about the episode where Phoebe couldn’t stop her fire alarm from going off.

She took the battery out. She ripped the alarm off the ceiling. She smashed it with a shoe. Then, she wrapped it in a blanket and sent it down the garbage shoot only to have it returned to her by a fireman, the alarm still beeping.

So glad my husband handled the situation when the beeping began at 4AM, and he did so with patience even as I lay in bed chuckling every time a “new” battery failed to work. (It seems appropriate at this point to acknowledge that my husband is an insanely and frustratingly patient person. I would have went Phoebe if it was just me.)

As I lay there between bouts of chuckling & frustration, all I knew is that I just wanted the beeping to stop. And in my desperation, I was willing to do almost anything for that to happen. Where was my shoe anyway?

Then I realized how often in life I just wanted something to stop – pain, disappointment, fear, etc. – and was willing to do just about anything to make that happen. That never turns out well.

Stop the pain through substance abuse or self-mutilation. Stop the loneliness with inappropriate physical contact. Stop the chaos by finding comfort in food. Do anything and everything to stop the pain and discomfort. (These aren’t all mine. I just wanted to share the space a bit.)

A Better Way

beep 3I don’t fully understand how it works, but I can tell you that the love of God stops the beeping.

His love stopped depression from ruining my relationships. It stopped my self-hatred. His love gives me hope for a future and joy right now, yes, today. Focusing on His love removes guilt and brings new beginnings.

No, it doesn’t make sense. What the Bible says may seem crazy at times, and perhaps other paths seem more plausible. At least from a human point of view (Proverbs 21:2)

I simply can’t deny that my life was miserable and Jesus brought me out of the pit. Nothing else worked. Self-help and material gain only dug the pit deeper thus creating a harder fall when I got back around to jumping in again. The beeping only got louder.

Desperation

Out of desperation to just stop the beeping, we rush to temporary fixes, to Band-Aids that gush red. We just rip the alarm off the wall, forgetting that it’s there for our safety. Instead of patiently assessing and properly addressing the problem, we do whatever we can to quickly stop the beeping.

But our problems just keep returning. Until we have full batteries, the beeping won’t stop. We must address the source of the problem. And the only way I’ve found for that to happen in a lasting way is through the love of Jesus that covers all my mistakes on the cross.

DISCUSSION: How has the love of God stopped the beeping in your life?

16 thoughts on “Stop the Beeping!

  1. You have an amazingly patient husband. If that had been me, I may have gone "postal" on it. 🙂 As for your question: God has quieted the raging spirit of performance and hyper-competitveness (or however that word is spelled) within.

    • Yeah, I know. In my feisty days, I used to like to see if I could get him riled up. Not easy, but I did not once or twice. Of course, I never do that anymore 🙂 Oh yeah, that need to perform and compete can be such a negative force but an equally strong one as well. The difference, of course, is focus.

  2. We do a poor job of dealing with pain. We want to medicate it somehow as if that is the proper response to pain. In physical pain the real objective is to find the root cause of the pain and deal with that; in our emotional and spiritual life that should be the response too. Instead we often medicate our pain in the ways you mention and when the meds wear off whatever we used then the pain is still there. It is hard to deal with pain appropriately at times but long term I know it serves us well.

    • At times, yes we do. That's especially true if we focus on our culture's answer to pain. Culture said to put a band aid on and to treat symptoms. True victory comes with getting at the root cause. We definitely have to focus on the long-term benefits of eradicating pain instead of the short-term relief of it.

  3. It's okay – I've watched all of Friends through once. My wife told me I should, so we sat down and watch from beginning-to-end over the course of several months. It's a hilarious series that has some positive lessons about building community.

    This post reminds me of how we often try to put aside inward pain by staying busy. When we are busy, we don't have to sit still and get uncomfortable with our pain. Yet, silence allows God to speak to us and comfort us. Without Him, the pain will follow us around until we finally say "I can't do this on my own" and find true forgiveness in Christ.

    • My husband and I like to watch it together. You're right about the building of community. I also love the honesty they have with each other. The friendships I value most are the ones that have transparency and honesty sort of like that. I also value knowing someone well and having them know me well. I find confidence in life with friends who are there for me no matter what. You're so right about how we use busyness to push away and ignore pain. Unfortunately, we cannot ignore it forever. I have learned that it's better to deal with "stuff" as close to when it happens as possible and as much on my own terms as possible. I will deal with it somehow at some point, and it's much better on my own terms than on the terms the pain will eventually deal out. When I say on my own terms, I personally mean as the Holy Spirit guides me. This is where we find the forgiveness we need to truly deal with it and move on. Great additional thoughts, Chris.

  4. I think your husband and mine are cut from the same fabric! Thank goodness for that, how else, at least for me, would he live with me! Love the post! thanks. Yes, only God can stop the beeping. This is a season when there is so much beeping going on and people will try everything to stop it, spending money, drinking, eating and more, when what they really need is the Savior who came to give them PEACE ON EARTH. God Bless!

    • Hadn't thought of this in conjunction with the coming holiday season. Good point, Mary! It's a rough time of year for many people along with the conflicting feelings of joy & happiness. Makes sense.

    • His love helps us control our emotions and our reactions. So good, Caleb! I am trying to teach my 12-year-old this, but he's struggling. Thanks for the reminder of where to refocus my efforts with him.

  5. Oh Kari, This really hit home for me today. I've done many foolish Phoebe like things to stop the beeping. The holidays can be a difficult time for me; so, your words were God-timed. Jesus is always faithful to patiently calm me until the beeping is silenced yet again. Thanks so much!

    • So glad these words were what you needed, Deb. That blesses me. The holidays are so tough for many people. I personally have a love/hate relationship with them. So much of what I am reading and hearing lately is focused on God's faithfulness, as are the words in your comment. His faithfulness stops the beeping!

  6. I like that episode of Friends!

    I can drive myself crazy with all my worrying, doubting, fears. God is showing me that I don't have to have all the answers, I don't have to fix every problem, I don't have to be accepted by everyone. All I need to do is trust Him. Learning to trust and wait has been a long journey (one I am still on), but it's so liberating. The beeping is growing more and more distant the closer to draw to God.

  7. Wow, I love this, Kari. I see this phenomenon crop up so many times in so many different ways. We just want to be comfortable. We have these itching, felt needs and we think the solution to our problems is just to make that go away. But we end up treating symptoms instead of causes. We end up thinking we need more money when we really need more contentment. We think we need more time when we really need to stop chasing approval.

    • Our culture is SO distracted by the symptoms that the root causes just continue to establish themselves more firmly. Our medical community is ingrained in this thinking for sure, and I think our educational system is as well. But it gets down to individuals. As a culture, we want instant gratification, and we don't want to deal with the tough, deep stuff that will get rid of those roots causing so many of our "sicknesses." Once again, another one of my "issues" that people who know me well know I could talk a while about. I really love it when you catch up on your blog reading/commenting. It's a lot of fun for me to read your comments for many reasons, but especially because you definitely get down to the root of things.

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