After observing me work on my frozen RV pipes again and again during my first winter, one of the park owners asked, “How do you have such a good attitude when facing all of the plumbing challenges you’ve had?”
My initial answer was I’m blessed even to have to worry about frozen pipes.
God was teaching me to let go of outcomes and trust that He is using everything in my life for a purpose. I was learning to welcome challenges instead of getting frustrated. He showed me that my part is to do my best, listen to His guidance, and be appreciative in every circumstance.
This shift enabled me to let go of some of the need to control the outcome and rest in the joy of knowing He’s in control.
After sitting with the question for a while, I realized a more significant reason I wasn’t easily frustrated about frozen pipes. Solving plumbing challenges, or any challenges for that matter means I have agency, am capable, and can rise to the occasion or ask for help to do whatever needs to be done.
It is a belief that I am smart enough, that I have the confidence to accept that if I don’t know something, it doesn’t diminish my value and isn’t a burden to others.
It means that I’m free – both physically and mentally. I get to walk in freedom and bear the total weight of the responsibilities freedom includes. I can think critically and for myself.
My successes and failures aren’t used against me like they once were.
This is such a big deal because I spent so much time walking on eggshells, trying to avert wrath for doing something without permission or thinking for myself. I spent so much time not speaking up, not doing what I wanted to, and not doing what I felt God was leading me towards.
I stayed quiet because it was safer than stepping out of line or speaking up.
I wasn’t true to who I am because it didn’t allow me to walk out my convictions. I was unfulfilled and resented the subdued version of myself I had become.
This is part of what happens during abuse.
You lose the ability to think and process anything. Your brain shuts off and is unable to or is severely impaired in its ability to process and cognitively articulate what is happening.
It is a self-defense mechanism, called cognitive dissonance, that protects you from grasping the harsh truth of the situation.
For me, the abuse created a feeling of powerlessness and a loss of curiosity. If I couldn’t think for myself, I couldn’t get out. I wasn’t allowed to think for myself, and I was at the mercy of the people trying to control me.
Now that I am free and striving to be who God has called me to be, I want to be challenged because it stimulates the part of my brain I was forced to shut off for so long. The frozen pipes were an opportunity for me to problem solve and level up.
When I think about what I want for my life, something I didn’t always have the power to do, a few things are no longer negotiable:
I want to be able to think critically and solve problems.
I want to break habits and be better.
I want to be common-sense-smart, discerning, and able to face any challenge with confidence.
I want to be a refuge for the vulnerable, and that means being both wise and gentle.
So, I guess I like plumbing issues. Not because they are fun exactly, but because they challenge me, require me to be present, and require me to problem solve.
And, I’m grateful to be able to think again.