Just When You Think Nobody Nose

courtesy hamiltoncountydemocraticparty.com

My son is a nose-picker.  He is not ashamed.  When the boogers itch, he picks.  Last year he ended up in an all-day Kindergarten class of unabashed nose-pickers.  With no social pressure to quit, the gold-digging has become an almost unbreakable habit. 

Even my “best” parenting skills have failed in their power to stop the picking. 

I tried lying:  “There are monsters that live in your nose and if you’re not careful, then they’ll eat your finger . . .”  “I know a guy who knows a guy who once reached for a booger and his finger got stuck.  Forever. . . .”  “If you stop pulling them out, they’ll stop growing . . . .”

I followed up with fear:  “Someday you will want to get married, and no girl likes a nose-picker . . . .”  “If you pick too much, then you’ll get a bloody nose . . . .”  “Boogers keep the germs out, you’re going to catch a cold. . . .”

I finished with good old shame:  “That’s a gross and disgusting habit.”

So far, none of the above worked.  The lying, fear, and shame just made him more sneaky.  All my attempts to deter the habit have left me scraping boogers from under the table and off the back side of the car seat.

I am beginning to realize lying, fear, and shame are no way to break a bad habit.  They do not work to correct nor to redirect.  

Yet, even in my own life they are often the primary motivators to quit or to stop.  They don’t work for me either.  Lies, fear, and shame usually leave me hiding something under the table.  They rarely make me better.

Go all the way back to Adam and Eve and you have two ashamed people. Who hid because they were afraid.  Who lied to avoid responsibility.  God did not use fear nor shame nor lies when He found them.  He asked where they were, wanted to know all the details about what happened, and then covered for them.

We all have bad habits.  Addictions and sins we come back to again and again.  We are ashamed that we cannot stop.  We fear what might happen if others knew.  We believe the previously recorded lies that our struggles will put us out of commission or make us unloveable. 

So we hide.  And in hiding, we remain chained to our struggles.

By putting off the fear and the shame, and by countering the lies with truth; we can come to terms with where we are and open ourselves up to the process by which God can take us where we want to go.

My son’s Kindergarten teacher told his class that if they went an entire day with no nose picking, then she would throw a “no-picking party.”  She offered a reward instead of shame.

God offers a reward for coming to him and coming clean.  He offers beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, and peace for despair.

If you are hiding, you are bound.  Come out, and God will throw a party.

There is no shame.

Any ways: we have all experienced that moment, stopped at the red light, when we realize that just because we are alone in the car it does not mean that the other drivers don’t see us picking.    We’ve all been there.  Let God get you a tissue.