Worth Revisiting:The Vacuum Cleaner Syndrome


Fallen man wants to run his own life and take control. Letting go of this control seems extremely difficult because it is hard to trust a God you cannot see and usually cannot feel or hear.  However, when we refuse to give up control and submit to the Father, we shut out the power of the Holy Spirit.
Once we shut out the movement of the Spirit in our lives, we are left with only our own energy as we deal with our daily issues.  We are bereft, feeling like we must  fix our own problems and those around us. However,  man was not created to function like God.
I think of it as acting like little vacuum cleaners sucking up everyone’s problems and pain when it is God’s job to purify us and our family in His power, mercy and grace. He desires that we simply become conduits of His Love. It is by Christ’s suffering that mothers and their families are healed, not by the mother acting like a sacrificial lamb or a scapegoat like in the Old Testament.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,54ab4275e6a461124fb9c2b6c7f410211
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

It is not easy to let go of control because I am naturally wired to act just like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up all my children’s pain. Likewise, my children are compassionate vacuum cleaners, who attract other people’s negative emotions. They are all aware  they learned this dysfunctional behaviour not only from observing my husband and me in action but also because they have inherited this trait from both of us.

This problem, The Vacuum Cleaner Syndrome, is a difficult disease to cure. My daughter, a fellow vacuum cleaner, Katie asked this question during a family discussion,

“How can one vacuum cleaner help another vacuum cleaner?”

Four of us around the circle smiled and laughed at the image.Then I blurted out, “Why, show the other vacuum how to reverse the hose and blow out the dirt and not suck it in, collect it or try to control it.”

That humourous comment released waves of uncontrollable laughter blasting clean air through all of us and helped us let go of control. Compassion and empathy are vital in close relationships but my tendency is to try to fix my husband and kids by hoarding their pain within my heart.

Do my seemingly selfless reactions weigh me down?

Yes.

Is anyone fixed or set free as I sacrifice my peace and happiness to try to help my family?

No.

Does this Vacuum Cleaner Syndrome destroy everyone’s peace and joy when I try to control everything?

Yes.

19c5a091bd2b1f6826c98f07d23087edThe good news is that a silly image picturing mum as a vacuum cleaner does reverse this self-defeating, addictive pattern because it makes it easier for everyone to understand how ludicrous I have been. The laughter that follows releases the tension used to keep emotional pain locked up inside. I am not the saviour; we are all children of God. Yes, my life is one of devotion and dying to my false self but I do not serve my family or God on my strength. I live and move and have my being in Him; His strength, love, grace and mercy sustains me and flows to my children. No room for arrogance.

I walk in faith and trust, trust in His mercy and love. Jesus is the only vacuum cleaner who has the ability to literally suck up everyone’s emotional pain and sin, then blow in joy, peace and new life back in. The only prerequisite is to give Him permission. This is the great exchange; surrender dirt and receive the bright, clean breath of God, then laugh at how long it took you to let it happen.

Let’s let go of control and entrust our kids to God and Mary’s intercession.

Sandro Botticelli - The Virgin and Child with Saint John and an Angel (detail), 1490.
Sandro Botticelli – The Virgin and Child with Saint John and an Angel (detail), 1490.

Mary is the Queen over all things: “Queen over all things” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 966).

Entrust our cares to Mary: “Holy Mary, Mother of God…we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: ‘Let it be to me according to your word.’ [Lk 1:38] By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: ‘Thy will be done,’ (CCC 2677).

Mary is Advocate, Helper, Mediatrix. “…the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.'” (CCC 969).

Amen. Let it be so

Linking with theology is a verb

One thought on “Worth Revisiting:The Vacuum Cleaner Syndrome

  1. Needed to read this today. God used you to send me this message. Thanks!

    *Virginia Lieto, Inspirational Author* *Embrace the virtues to live a happier life!* Download your FREE Virtues Guide at http://virginialieto.com Author of Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity – Finding Patience available at http://amzn.to/1POPl6A Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Google +, and Pinterest

    On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 12:16 AM, joy of nine9 wrote:

    > melanie jean juneau posted: ” Fallen man wants to run his own life and > take control. Letting go of this control seems extremely difficult because > it is hard to trust a God you cannot see and usually cannot feel or hear. > However, when we refuse to give up control and submit to the Fa” >

    Liked by 1 person

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