4 Lessons in Fatherhood From Doing Dirty Dishes

I was washing dishes early this morning while my precious kids were getting ready for home school and went to get some soap for my scrub pad.

There were not many dishes to do, however, the dispenser was running a little low on soap. So like many times before, I grabbed it with all my strength in one hand, and all the frenetic pressing power I could muster in the other hand and I frantically pressed the top of the dispenser hoping to affect the outcome of getting just enough soap for my sponge to finish the dishes.

C’mon now, admit it, you’ve been there too.

You know what I am talking about, when you think to yourself, “If I just press the daylights out of the top of this thing I can get what I need.” So press, press, press, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze…

Sometimes you get a little soap and sometimes you only get suds.

IMG_8833Today, all I got were suds.

Now as a father of 10 kids and us having to do dishes 3X’s per day I have to be BRUTALLY honest; The store bought refill was just below me, in the storage part of my sink, directly below my dirty dishes. But did I go for it? No. That’d take too much time. That would cause extra work and it’d also cause the possibility of a spill, even more work.

Press, press, press, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze! C’mon! I know I can get a little more goo outta this dispenser!

Ugh! Just bubbles…

There I stood in my kitchen with the balance of the galaxy, space and time and all human knowledge right there in my hands; Keep pressing and squeezing till I was going to go crazy or to humbly submit that I really needed a refill of soap.

Hmmmmmm. What to do?

To the delight of many whom are reading this blog, I humbly submitted to refilling the soap dispenser from the ample soap supply from just below me. Now don’t laugh, but when I did, I thought I heard the sound of laughter. As a son, as a husband, as a father and as a leader I contend I heard God laughing at me – as only He could – to make a couple of points.

4 Lessons in Fatherhood I learned from doing dirty dishes:

  1. ADMIT THE OBVIOUS – As a Father I sometimes approach a situation KNOWING EXACTLY the outcome before lifting a finger (no joke intended). Yet, in my earthly power I try to affect the outcome otherwise. By my power, not resting in God’s truth or grace, I poo-poo the obvious and like pressing the daylights out of the soap dispenser, hoping for another outcome, I ignore the obvious. There are many obvious truths that stare me in the face all day long. As Father, when you’re facing any situation (which you know the obvious outcome too) admit it in advance. Save yourself, your family and your marriage the time and frustration.
  2. REACH DOWN DEEP AND GAIN AN OVERWHELMING SUPPLY – Remember, my added supply of dish detergent was right below me and I did not want to reach down for it. Psalm 42:7 (NIV) says, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” Meaning, the deepness of God calls you to a deeper place in Him. As a Father, if you’re doing shallow things (like me trying to get dishes done on the skimp) in an example like this, symbolically you can’t Hear God calling you to go deeper in Him. My submitting to the knowledge of dish detergent just within my reach, yet, balking at the chance to get for fear it would cause more work or to slow me down – was a spiritual indicator. I did not want to let the simple deep knowledge of God impact me. Go deep with God your father through simple truths and gain your overwhelming supply.
  3. GET THE RIGHT REFILL – I could have reached for something else on the counter (if I had it) and tried to make that work to get my dishes clean. I’ve done that before and it was not the right stuff. Yet in my stubbornness I kept plugging away. The Right refill was just below me and at my feet. When I grabbed it, though I spilled some, it was overwhelming how simple the decision to SUBMIT to God’s knowledge and use the right stuff to clean from the get-go. As a Father what are you refilling with? Baseball, Football, Golf, your job? What’s in you, that is the wrong refill that should your bride, your kids go to press you as a dispenser will come pouring out? If you’re not taking time with your Abba Father on-on-one, what comes spilling out might not get the job done.
  4. ENJOY THE SPILLS – As I went to refill the little dispenser, like I thought, there was a little spillage. I was dreading it in advance, but as it overflowed and I put the cap back on I snapped a picture of the soap running down and over my hand and onto the counter TO REMEMBER the supply, the overflow and the spillage of God’s love for me. His love spreads for me, cleanses me and is fragrant (way more than blue dish soap). What about you? As a Father are you allowing the spills to happen in your home? Or does everything have to be picture perfect? Take it from me, God can clean up your messes, let the spills happen.

IMG_8834Today’s morning dishes were the most meaningful dishes I’ve done in a long time. Providing lessons in Fatherhood for a good long time.

My prayer is that as a father you not spiritually do what I physically did with the soap dispenser. Submit to the simple knowledge of God being your supply, rely on Him daily as your refill – and make sure – that when you are pressed for supply people get God’s soap and not your flimsy suds.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NASB)

Think about it…


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