There is something relaxing about ironing. Now I’m sure the professional ironer might disagree, but I find it soothing. You take this wrinkled piece of fabric and with little effort you make it smooth, even crisp if you add starch.
I know some of you may think I’ve lost my mind, but I haven’t. It’s a peaceful process. Sometimes I wish life were as easy as ironing the wrinkles from a pair of slacks or a nice shirt. Unfortunately, life’s wrinkles are more complex. At least I wouldn’t advise trying to iron them away… not in the conventional sense. You might burn yourself! Still, wouldn’t it be awesome to simply press the steam button to smooth out those stubborn, wrinkly moments?
I used to laugh at people who spent so much time ironing. I do a lot of physical activity and I wear a lot of t-shirts. It never made sense to me to iron out the wrinkles. I thought it was a waste of time! Forget about ironing my jeans, gheesh! My wife would look at what I’d put on and say things like, “That could really use ironing,” but I’d just laugh. It didn’t matter to me! If a shirt was really bad, I’d throw it in the dryer with a damp towel for 10 minutes. Sort of a cheater’s way to loosen the wrinkles, but they were still there, just not as noticeable.
It really was quite silly that I would go to such extremes to avoid ironing. I have even thrown clothes that were clean back in the wash because they were too wrinkled to deal with! I realize how absurd this must sound, but it was as though I thought ironing made me a little less tough. Like the wrinkles in my clothes were the mark of hard work and determination when really, I just looked sloppy.
It may seem like a strange comparison, ironing a t-shirt and struggles in life, but really, they are quite similar. It was my pride that kept me from ironing the wrinkles in my clothes but it translated to a lack of concern for my appearance to those around me. We often hide our struggles in much the same way. Because of our pride, we put on the appearance that all is well. We wear a false smile and resist asking people for the very thing that’s needed, good ironing.
Iron sharpens iron but our pride keeps us dull. We need to iron out the wrinkles! Instead of holding onto our struggles for fear someone will discover our weaknesses (which is another, very destructive form of pride), we need to find someone we can trust to help us through the process. Then, we need to return the favor. Accountability isn’t supposed to be hard and uncomfortable! We all need people around us who can help keep us sharp. We need to be able to accept their help without being offended by what they say to us.
Love often requires the difficult situations to be addressed head on, but we often avoid them for comfort’s sake. It would be like a bride or groom dressing in sweats and a wrinkled t-shirt because they couldn’t be bothered to present their best on the wedding day! I’m sure it’s happened, but what does it really say? I love you, but I don’t want to be uncomfortable, so I didn’t try.
Real love doesn’t avoid uncomfortable situations because it is understood that the discomfort only lasts for a short time. After the discomfort of being sharpened, we are stronger than before and ready to cut through the trials that come! That’s hard to do when we aren’t sharp because we refuse to let the wrinkles be ironed out in favor of comfort. In fact, it’s impossible.
Have you found someone to help you smooth out the wrinkles in your life? If you haven’t, you really need to! Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and trust someone with your struggles. You might discover that they needed someone to help them iron things out too!