“Potty training is easy and fun!” I’m pretty sure no one has ever uttered these words. This past week has been a wonderfully delightful experience as my husband and I decided to take on the challenge of potty training our toddler. (Notice my subtle sarcasm.) Potty training is not fun, and it is certainly not easy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for no longer needing to use diapers, but cleaning up accidents is not exactly my favorite thing to do either. All said and done, we know it’s time. Our daughter has been ready for quite a while, and absolutely loves using the “big kid” potty. Now if only we could get her to tell us before she has to go rather than during! (Any tips?)
Whether we remember it or not, we were all once in the same stage of life as my daughter is now. We all needed to be potty trained. Some of us took to it rather quickly; others of us struggled for a while. Three things are universally true, however, when it comes to potty training.
– We all needed to be “trained.” Someone helped us out along the way. We didn’t just wake up one day and suddenly have it down. Someone had to teach us. They had to show us how it was done, and they had to be patient with us as we made mistakes along the way. Every single one of us had our share of accidents, and someone needed to be there to clean up the messes. (Now would be a good time to call your mother and thank her for potty training you!)
– It didn’t happen overnight. Potty training takes time. Even the “proven” one-day methods out there today aren’t really one-day methods. Even when your child has been accident free for a while, that doesn’t mean there won’t be an occasional slip up. The phrase “practice makes perfect” applies more than ever before when it comes to training your child to use the potty.
– With practice, success is inevitable. Except for a few extremely rare exceptions (medical conditions, etc.) we all end up potty trained sooner or later. There’s a good reason potty training is a toddler dilemma, not a college one. There comes a point in everyone’s life when something just clicks. We finally understand how it works, and we no longer have to think about it anymore. Using the restroom becomes a normal part of who we are.
So why all this potty talk? Well for one thing, potty training has sort of become my life this past week. It’s pretty much consumed me. But in all seriousness, it’s made me think about the basic things that we as adults sometimes take for granted. When was the last time you thought about how to drink from a cup without a lid or eat with a spoon without spilling all over yourself? Well, these are skills that my youngest daughter is still trying to master. So in her world, it’s something she thinks about all the time.
I recently wrote a blog post on spiritual milestones (you can read it here), and I discussed the following scripture:
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. – Hebrews 6:1-3 (NLT)
This whole potty training thing has made me realize that these spiritual fundamentals, the things that should become so basic to us as we mature in Christ, are a lot like the basic skills we learn early on as children. Most of us as adults don’t think about the process of using a spoon, drinking from a cup, or using the restroom. We just do these things automatically when we need to. In our Christian walk, the fundamentals that are mentioned in Hebrews 6:1-3 should be like using a spoon. They are the spiritual basics that we learn early on in our Christian walk, and as we mature in Christ they should become second nature to us.
Just like potty training, the only way to master the fundamentals of our Christian walk is to put them into practice. It takes time, discipline, and a lot of patience. It may also be wise to have some guidance in your spiritual training. You may have eventually learned to use the potty chair all on your own, but I’m fairly certain that having an adult around to show you how it’s done and to encourage you along the way made things a lot easier in the end. God expects us to encourage one another in our spiritual growth and to teach others what we know about Christ.
As long as you are making the effort to learn and grow, spiritual growth is inevitable.