Minipost: “Driven To Refusal”

June 13, 2018 by George Fritts


I can’t believe how much time I’ve let pass since I have updated my blog! It’s no excuse, I guess, but about a month ago we rather unexpectedly picked up and moved down the road about three miles. And just to make the process more interesting, we went on vacation right in the middle of it.  While we love our new house, it’s amazing how much time and energy it takes to move. I’m honestly still struggling to find my footing.

But before I get back to subjecting y’all to my usual fare (I’ve got thoughts on flags, tattoos, and raisin bran—among other things—swirling in my head), I thought I would share some quick thoughts related to our new house.

The house we bought was built when Dwight Eisenhower was President…with all the attendant problems, but it has one key selling feature: elbow room.  Above all else we need the occasional ability to retreat from each other to neutral corners.  The biggest change we want to make to our new place is to add a bathroom.  As we were doing the prep to add the bathroom, we decided to get the foundation checked.  While not dire, the experts tell us it would be prudent to reinforce the foundation before completing our bathroom project.

The process of foundation repair seems to be equal parts science, mystery, art, and hope (much like counseling…hmm…), but one phrase that our foundation guru repeatedly said continues to resonate in my head: the concrete piers used to level and support the existing foundation will be “driven to refusal.” Very descriptive.

It makes sense to me that maximizing the effectiveness of a big cylinder of concrete in its ability to hold up the corner of a house means it must be pounded into the ground until it cannot be pounded any more. 

However, the same does not hold true for relationships.  Whether we are boss, parent, spouse, friend, sibling…pushing people to their limits does NOT maximize effectiveness.  Instead of effectiveness, we just get the refusal—leading to brokenness in identity, communication, and relationship.  

Don’t get me wrong: sometimes it’s valuable—even important—to push those within our circles of influence off their places of comfort; however, it demonstrates finesse, wisdom—and best of all empathy—to know when to stop pushing. Doing so reflects the heart of the One who sees us.

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