Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I pulled into the gas station this morning, the 5 miles 'til empty light daring me to test its accuracy. Rolled down the window to place my fuel order with the attendant, only to realize I had parked with the wrong side of the car facing the pump, testimony to my distracted state. I was running behind. The gas station attendant was not. He could have been on vacation-time at the rate he ambled across the expansive station to get to my car, the only customer. I tried not to be impatient. I had just left Bible study, after all.
When he struck up a conversation I took a deep breath, reminded myself that I needed to slow down, and gave the moment back to God. He asked me if I had just gotten off work and was heading home. It was one of those split-seconds filled with 100 possible answers. Should I tell him where I had been? "I've been at Bible study," I responded. His eyes lit. For the next 15 minutes he talked about his new relationship with God. He had just started reading his Bible. He had started praying. God was answering his prayers in miraculous ways. He couldn't wait to tell me, a stranger. I tried to wrap up the conversation several times. I had a coffee date with my Bible study friends to get to. He had no interest in me leaving and ironically no other customers arrived to distract him. I allowed the chat to continue.
In the end, I missed my coffee date. Yet while disappointed, I was at peace. I couldn't ignore the fact that God gave me something in its place -- a reminder that His agenda is far superior to mine ... if I'll give Him the reigns.
The other day I was listening to author Ted Cunningham talk about marriage. He made a profound statement that has kept returning to the forefront of my thoughts. He said marriage will always be frustrated as long as we're looking to our spouse for our source of life. While definitely true of marriage, I can see how this truth applies to so many additional aspects of life.
Since hearing that message, I have added a new inner dialogue. When the kids are growly and complaining I say to myself "they aren't my source of life. Christ is my source of life. My joy and contentment come from Him not them." When my spouse is out of sorts I say to myself, "he is not my source of life. My joy and contentment are found in Christ. I don't have to feel weighed down because he is." When my body is dragging and I'd rather curl up by the fire than fix dinner, I say to myself, "God, You are my source of life. Please help me serve my family joyfully even when I don't feel like it." When my agenda is interrupted, I say to myself, "as much as I like to have a tidy little world with predictable schedules and marked to-do lists, my agenda is not my source of life. God may have something better if I invite Him into my schedule. Slow down. Be flexible."
I could have missed an opportunity today. Had God not been reminding me to be plugged in to Him, I could have easily rushed on my way, frustrated by the slow service at a gas station. Instead I made a new friend, encouraged a brother in Christ, and went away encouraged myself. God is good.