Sunday, May 15, 2016

Why I Need a Turtle

So I had one of those "I've-been-ripped-off" moments and I tried, really tried, to reign in my emotions and thoughts. There was a sense of injustice and inequality that needed (!) to be settled in my mind. Although I made an effort and prayed about how to respond instead of react, I will admit that my heart, thoughts, and words were not desiring servitude and humility and much as fairness and acknowledgement of a wrong against humanity (ahem, yes, you know whose humanity).

It's never happened to you, I'm sure, but it happens in our home, in my life, in the lives of those around me, and it's a moment of growth. In the aftermath, the question has changed from, "Did I get what I wanted/deserved?" to "Did I handle that correctly?" And this time around, the question was somewhere in the middle: "Did I do any better than last time? Am I making progress?"

Because the truth of the matter is, life isn't perfect. I won't be seen or treated the way I think I should. My expectations are way (way) off and the other person's are, too. I'm not going to respond perfectly. And that's okay. But am I growing and changing? In the moment, am I seeing my desires for what they really are? Am I sensing my sinful tendency and can I name it? Am I guarding against my natural reaction and tempering it with a better, more thoughtful, God-honoring response?

And as I struggled with my heart, God revealed a very different area of sin than the one I was contemplating. Go figure. I thought I had done things right, considering how I felt. I was not demanding, but I communicated disappointment and asked for reconsideration. And as I listened to the radio, the voice said, So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Oh, that. Well, yes, there is that slow to speak issue which I assume (i.e. overlook) often as my steam-roller passionate persona plows down the road of life with tearful sympathy, excited enthusiasm, or brief, but angry, outbursts.

God said, "Gotcha!"

And I said, "Ouch. Yes, You did..." And now. Now begins the slow, hard work of living out repentance. Slow-ing-down and lis-ten-ing and think-ing and pray-ing before I speak so I can be swift to hear and slow. to. speak...and slow. to. wrath.

And maybe that's why God made turtles. So people like me have an example of God-glorifying intentional, determined direction. And how to take stock of when and where to cross the road--?

Turtles? Sorry. Brain noodling. It's all about Jesus. We're bound to fail. We hurt others. We don't please the Lord in all we say and do. But Jesus did. He stands in my place. He justifies me before God the Father and helps me work through and change here and now with His Word and by His Spirit. And as I slow down (or try to), I can trust Him to change me...and work the outcome to meet His purpose and plan--which He already has. Who could have orchestrated an I-got-ripped-off moment better than God?

And it's all good.

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