Last week, we had an electrician working at our house. More specifically, we’d called to have someone look at the outlet on the outside of our house. All of our outdoor Christmas lights were plugged into this particular outlet and then one evening, for no apparent reason, the lights just stopped turning on.
We tried everything we could think of to solve the problem. We switched every single breaker on and off—Allison downstairs flipping switches back and forth while I stood at the front door staring intently at the lights and yelling down to signal whether they turned back on. We tried a new extension cord—but to no avail. We plugged several other cords into the same outlet—maybe the string of lights was just bad and the outlet still worked? That wasn’t the case either.
So a few days later, we admitted defeat and called in the professionals to see if they could solve the problem. When the electrician arrived, I tried not to feel insulted when his first thought was to plug the string of lights into the outlet that we’d already stated wasn’t working. And guess what happened next?
The lights turned on. They worked just fine. We’d just paid an electrician to plug in our lights and find that nothing was wrong.
As it turns out, this outlet is connected to several others on the inside of our house, one of which contains a “reset” button that affects all the others. I don’t know all the technical lingo. But, from what I understand, the outlet had stopped working and just needed to be reset. And sometime between when we tried to fix it ourselves and when the electrician showed up, that’s just what happened.
After getting over the sheer frustration of our electrical ignorance, I was struck at the parallels between this rather unfortunate situation and our everyday lives.
So often, when things aren’t going our way, or we feel completely overwhelmed, we try everything we can to fix the problem ourselves. We make to-do lists or busy ourselves with more and more tasks. Maybe if we just do more, things will get better? The frustration mounts, but we’re convinced if we just try harder or keep working something is bound to change.
But if there’s any lesson I’ve learned from the past week, it’s that sometimes we just need to hit “reset.” Sometimes a pause, waiting, and resting is the best solution. Even more than that, we often need someone else to point this out to us.
The words of Psalm 46 say, “Be still and know that I am God.” And though electricity hadn’t been invented in Ancient Israel, if we were to rephrase these words for modern times, it might just say “Hit reset. And eventually things will work again.”
Whatever might not be working in your life right now, let this be your reminder to pause, slow down, or take a break. It might just be exactly what you need to reassess life’s challenges. When in doubt, just go searching for the reset button.