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Lessons from on High

Okay, so climbing on the roof was a bad idea. But I learned something from it.

It was 8:40 a.m. Sunday morning and I was on top of the roof of our new house wondering exactly how I was going to get down! Let me explain. As my wife, Amy, and I were leaving for church, Amy realized we'd forgotten something. While I don't remember what we forgot, I do remember what happened. Amy went to open the door and realized she'd locked it—and we didn't have a key.

Suddenly two adults had an opportunity to problem-solve a situation and figure out the best way to get inside the house. Amy's first thought was to go around the perimeter of our home to see if any windows looked open. My first idea was, Oooooooh, I could climb the scaffolding left by the builders in the back and get up on the roof!

How my idea was going to help us get into the house, I had no clue; it simply sounded fun!

It took me about 2.5 minutes to climb the outside of the scaffolding to make it onto the roof. Once atop, I realized how beautiful our property was, how nice the lake looked, and that our children looked like tiny ants from such a high vantage point. This only distracted me from my initial reason for climbing on the roof, which was to get inside the house—not on top of it!

I scooted down one of the pitches of the roof and found myself slightly stuck in a place that didn't feel too safe. Now I was focused—but not on how to get into the house. This time it was on how to get off the roof.

How did I get into this mess? I wondered. Then I heard Amy's voice from 30 feet below.

"Michael? Where are you? I got it, let's go."

While I was being manly and climbing the roof, Amy managed to get into the house, get what she wanted, and was now ready to leave for church.

But there was still one problem. I was stuck on the roof!

"Michael!" she shouted again.

"I'm right here!" I shouted back. I watched her look around—at ground level—to see where my voice was coming from. Of course, with any normal individual, that would have been a good place to look. But she must have forgotten my "uniqueness as a man."

"Where are you?" she asked.

"Right here!" I replied trying to draw her attention upward.

As she finally tracked my voice upward onto the roof, her eyes said it all: What in the world are you doing up there?!

I'll never forget that look.

I tried to explain why I was up there, but she just wanted me off the roof and in the car so we could go to church, like a normal family. I told her it wasn't going to be that easy. So while she and the kids waited for me to figure out how to make it down, I managed a brilliant plan and was off the roof in time to make it to church.

Most married women have probably experienced something like this before. Okay, maybe their husbands didn't climb the roof, but I'm sure they did something else that made their wives climb the walls. And I'm sure it made perfect sense to the husbands—at the time.

But I made an important discovery that day. I learned in my "manly" desire to be the knight in shining armor, I sometimes make hasty—and dumb—decisions.

On that Sunday morning, all ended well with no one getting hurt. But I realize that if I rush any decision—whether it's to get into a locked house or something on a grander scale—I need to keep a cool head, discuss things with my wife, and often, seek counsel. I need to consider, What does God want me to do?

It probably doesn't involve climbing onto a roof.

Michael Smalley, m.a., president of Smalley Family Outreach (www.smalleyoutreach.org), lives in Missouri. Check out the Smalley Relationship Center's Spring simulcast seminar, "The Incredible Worth of a Woman," on March 6. To find a satellite location near you call toll-free 800-84TODAY or go to www.smalleyonline.com.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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Bad Decisions; Decisions; Marriage
Today's Christian Woman, Spring, 2004
Posted September 12, 2008

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