I’ve still got a long way to go, friends.
Here’s the back story.
The other day I wanted to wear a new shirt. Now I know you’re supposed to wash the wrinkles out of your new clothes before you wear them, but I wanted to cheat and just spritz it with a bit of water and let the wrinkles fall out. I didn’t want to wait!
Wouldn’t you know it, the spray bottle that belongs on the bathroom counter was missing. Hmmm . . . Hubby had been out playing with his bees a few days earlier; I bet he used it and didn’t put it away.
So I texted him. Direct and to-the-point. No honey-coated words when I’m missing my spray bottle.
“I need the bathroom spray bottle. Do you know where it is?”
I gave him a generous five minutes to respond, then, “Nvm, I’ll wear something else.”
And then I changed my shirt and stewed. How could he ignore me like that? Meeting, schmeeting! I deserved an answer about my spray bottle!
I was deep into my silent rant when I got his response. “Sorry, last time I saw it it was in the bathroom.”
I was sure he was mistaken, and had simply forgotten that he had used it and not put it away. How could he do this to me?!?
Just to cover my bases, I called my 22-year-old son as I pulled out of the driveway in a huff.
“Do you know where the bathroom spray bottle is?”
My tone of voice must have been dripping with irritation, because he was instantly apologetic. “Yea, I’m sorry! I’ll go put it away right now. I just forgot.”
“I’ve been mad at Dad for half an hour now!”
“I’m sorry! Tell him I’m sorry! I’m putting it away!!”
“Okay, I’ll see you later.”
Oh, dear, it was time to eat humble pie.
I texted Hubby again when I got where I was going. “I’m sorry, I thought you might have used it for the bees. I found the guilty party, who has confessed his crime and repented.”
Everyone had a good laugh over dinner as each recounted their viewpoint of the trainwreck.
And that is just a little piece of proof that I still have a long way to go to reach my goals.
They’re certainly not wearing unwrinkled shirts (or even the latest styles, for that matter).
And not having perfectly coifed hair or nicely manicured fingernails.
Not having a perfectly kept home. Uncluttered would be nice, but dust-free? Not going to happen.
The goals I have run deeper than all those things.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.Ephesians 4:2 NLT
Even if Hubby had been at fault, my attitude and response were wrong.
They smacked of pride and judgment (because obviously I always put everything away exactly where it belongs), and there was absolutely no humility or gentleness flowing out of my heart!!
But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.1 Peter 2:20
Bear with me as I walk through how this verse is connected with my (very) poor attitude. It comes from a passage where Peter encouraged mistreated slaves of his day to “patiently endure unjust treatment” (verse 19).
We often have a very high opinion of how we would respond under awful, extremely terrible circumstances. We would, of course, respond with all humility and gentleness, right? Soft, wise words would pour from our lips as we turned the other cheek.
But if I can’t even keep my cool when the spray bottle is missing, how do I think I’ll be strong enough to respond appropriately if I come under real trials??? Would the greater weight of them suddenly change my reaction? I somehow think that only the power of the Holy Spirit could do that.
Perhaps I need to change the way I think of these mini trials, and begin to see them as “trial runs.” Practice for the big game.
Every time we choose an action or attitude, we reinforce pathways in our minds. When something big happens, we’ll automatically respond by reverting to the pathway we know the most. The path that’s most familiar to us.
Maybe we (read “I”) need to clear the overgrowth that’s taken over the path of humility and gentleness, and start choosing to travel it more often!
Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.Phillipians 2:3b
Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.Phillipians 4:5
How can we get to know the unfamiliar paths of humility and gentleness?
By practicing them on the little things.
By praying for strength when we need to squelch the pride that rises up so easily.
By remembering that our way is not the only way, nor is it always the best way.
By remembering that our attitude is a choice. Instead of getting upset when things don’t go our way because we think we deserve better, perhaps we should listen to James:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.James 1:2-4
We can choose joy even in the face of the little “kinds” of trouble!
Even when the spray bottle is missing.
What about you?
Have you lost your mind over something insignificant and then wondered where on earth that response came from? You are not alone!
Learning to follow Jesus is a journey, my friend. We stumble and fall, but there’s no need to stay down. He holds out his hand, helps us to our feet, and we move on together.
I pray that as we learn to listen to his voice, we will learn to walk in his footsteps of love, joy, and peace, along with humility and gentleness.
I’m excited to share this resource with you!
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