When You’re Feeling Cranky and Clogged

0 comments Posted on June 3, 2019

by Becky Kopitzke

“Uh… Honey?” I stood in the basement laundry room, watching water bubble up from the sewer drain. “I think we have a problem.”

My husband appeared beside me, took one look at the concrete floor—which was rapidly disappearing beneath an inch of smelly liquid—and gasped. “Oh, no. This is not good.”

Not good indeed.

Several hours and one emergency plumbing visit later, we discovered the city sewer line connected to our home pipes was jammed—with rocks. When our dishwasher, our shower, and our swirling toilets attempted to flush water out of the house, those rocks blocked the flow. The water had nowhere else to go but back up the pipe—and across our basement floor.

Yuck.

Thankfully, the plumber was able to fix the issue and restore our household back to normal within a {somewhat miserable} 24-hour period—during which my husband and I and our two tween daughters learned to wash our hands with cherry seltzer and eat vegetables rinsed in snow. By the time the plumbing was free flowing again, I might have kissed every faucet in the house. And the toilets, too.

However, I couldn’t get over the nagging thought of those rocks. How long had they been piling up beneath the surface, preparing to wreak havoc on our home? Just days? Weeks? Months? And none of us had a clue—until the whole operation shut down, spewed over, and cost us our fair share of peace.

Huh. Sounds a lot like my very own heart.

It gets clogged, too—with “rocks” otherwise known as frustration, anger, impatience, complaints. 

When my kids bicker too much or whine too loud or roll their eyes in my general direction. 

When my husband leaves his socks on the floor and his nose in his work and forgets to kiss me goodnight.

When deadlines amass and sleep gets cut short and my eyeballs burn with gritty fatigue.

Then the rocks pile up, one by one, until my soul can’t see through the pipeline back to where the living water flows. And my moods spew over into my household in the form of sharp words and smelly attitudes. It’s not a pretty picture.

Do you struggle, too?

How does our connection to God and the people we love get blocked in the first place? It doesn’t take a boulder falling from the sky—no big tragedies or hard-hitting crises necessary to ruin the happy flow. Rather, it’s the little things, the pebbles and stones, the daily irritations, grumbles, grudges and stress that build up over time, creating a dam. If we’re not careful to clean out the conduit regularly—with apologies, kindness, self-care and prayer—eventually our hearts will suffer.

And so will everyone around us.

Thankfully, we have a mighty gracious plumber.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

When I recognize I’m getting cranky and clogged, I take these three steps to break apart the rocks. I hope you will, too.

1. Humble yourself. Acknowledge you are not superhuman and you cannot manage a million pressures without falling short of godliness; therefore, ask God to forgive your crankiness and pride, then allow yourself to soak in His boundless grace.

2. Apologize—to anybody who got caught in your crossfire. The kids, your spouse, the poor dog. Repent and remind them you love them unconditionally, even when your actions suggest otherwise. Ask them to pray with you and for you, that Jesus would rule in your heart and keep the pipeline clear. Rocks cannot accumulate where our heavenly Savior dwells.

3. And finally, refuel. Invite the living water to run through your soul again, cleansing and healing dusty spaces. This involves taking care of the temple—with rest, prayer, and maybe a solo trip to Starbucks with your earbuds and a venti cup of joy. We cannot pour out what has not been first poured into us. Allow Jesus to restore your soul, so you can love forward with the love of Christ.

“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

Plumbing problems may be common in our world, but with God we have power to prevent them, redeem them, and learn from them—so let’s do it together. Amen?

Becky Kopitzke is a blogger, speaker, encourager, and the author of three books including The Cranky Mom Fix: Get a Happier, More Peaceful Home by Slaying the “Momster” in All of Us.

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