I estimate that I have sliced 1,560 avocados for my at-work-lunch-salad over the last 10 years.
And I have never, ever cut myself doing it.
Until last week.
I was missing a piece of information – which caused me to miscalculate the pressure I was using to slice the avocado as it rested on my hand.
I didn’t know that the knives had been sharpened.
And so I managed to go through the avocado, its peel and a piece of my left pinky in one fell swoop.
Thank God for a compassionate co-worker with first aid training! She got me bandaged up quite nicely and off to the ER I went to get my one – yes, ONE – stitch. I didn’t go wide with my wild slice of the knife – but I did manage to go deep.
So, three hours later, I toddled home with my one stitch, securely bandaged.
Because the cut is right at the crease on the inside of my pinky, just where it bends.
And let me tell you, that splint is a nuisance!
It forces me to hold my pinky at a just-so, ready-for-tea-mi’lady angle.
All the time.
And it makes it so my finger does not bend at all. Makes it impossible to hit the left shift key.
A complete and utter nuisance.
For which I am very grateful.
Because that same annoying splint also keeps me from banging the cut against something when I go to pick it up. It helps to keep the bandage in place. It reminds me that something is wrong and that I really want to avoid hitting that spot at all costs. It is incredibly annoying – and a real life saver.
Which reminds me of other “splints” in my life.
Things I have put in place, not because something is broken, but in order to prevent damage from occurring.
Certain self-imposed rules.
You see, there are dangers in my life. Things that seem to be innocuous but could lead me down a path I don’t want to travel. Temptations that come my way. Like you, I am constantly in a position to make choices. For good or for bad.
For example, the books I read. I love, love, love a good piece of brain candy! Give me a story about a dashing young man, a damsel in distress and “they all lived happily ever after” and I am a happy girl. Throw in a hint of mystery or set it in the Wild West and I am even happier.
The temptation? To read books that will cause me to want what I cannot have. Books that put images in my head that would rival any porn movie out there. Books that have characters who do not honor God and His design for marriage by their actions.
They are enticing, luscious, even intoxicating reads.
But they are not good for my soul. As a single woman, determined to live a pure life, saving sex for marriage because that is what the Bible says to do, those books are the start of a very dangerous path. Because what I take in saturates my thoughts. And my thoughts lead to actions. And my actions have consequences.
So, I put on a splint to help me avoid that pain, avoid even getting to the edge of that path. Not because a break has already occurred – but so I will prevent a break in that area. For me, I choose to only read “brain candy” that I know will NOT have sex scenes. And if I inadvertently get a book that has a scene like that, I put it down as soon as I realize where it is going. And I don’t pick it up again. Not because I am some sort of super-saint but because that is a protective measure for my mind and my heart.
Annoying? Yes, incredibly so.
But, like my pinky-splint, incredibly helpful in keeping me from pain.
Want another example?
I have a very, very, very active imagination. I always have.
When I was a kid, I would lie awake at night and make a plan for WHEN the house caught on fire.
Who I would wake first.
How I would save the animals.
What I would do next.
It never had caught fire. And it never did. But I just knew it was going to at any moment.
A very active imagination. And a very good memory.
So, when I watch something on TV or at the theater, it sticks with me.
I remember it in vivid detail.
And so I have set a splint there.
I choose to not watch movies or shows that will leave me scared. Tense. Anxious. Afraid. I choose to not watch things that feed my fears or my overly vivid imagination in a negative direction.
Some movies and shows in that category glorify things I don’t want to glorify.
But others are simply well-written suspense thrillers.
Not inherently sinful.
But, for me, a dangerous thing to put in my brain.
I know those images will clog my brain. Feed my fears. Make me jumpy. And give me nightmares.
So I “wear” that “splint” of not watching them to keep me from going down unproductive paths and the pain of reliving horrific things in my mind.
I find it much easier to “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4) when I have not fed my mind with anxiety-increasing stories, images or ideas.
For my own protection.
That I put in place.
Not from a sense of guilt.
And certainly not because I am trying to make God love me more.
That would be impossible.
But to make my own life better.
More pleasant to walk.
Other people I know have different splints.
Who they’ll hang out with – or won’t.
What they will drink – or not.
Where they’ll go after work – or won’t.
Who they will spend time alone with – or not.
In place for their protection.
Not because of fear.
But simply because of wisdom.
Are the splints annoying?
They can be.
Just like the one on my finger.
But I am grateful for what they keep me from doing. Thinking. Becoming.
The protection they give.
How about you?
Do you have splints in place?
Should you? Where should they be?
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you.
He will. You need only to ask.