Do you have one of those people in your life who drives you nuts? You know the one. The person in the meeting or at church who begins to talk and you find yourself unconsciously rolling your eyes (and then you suddenly realize you just did that in front of everyone). I do. In fact, right now in Florida our streets are overflowing with them. You see we are in the height of "season." We are smack dab in the middle of white haired, Buick driving, northern senior-citizen migration season. Traffic has doubled and accidents have tripled. My daily commute takes twice as long, contains several extra forehead slaps and probably one or two not so nice words muttered through gritted teeth. So, what is a sharped tongued teacher of teenagers suppose to do in the face of such frustration?
According to Colossians 3:12-17, just as I layer my clothing in the winter, I am to layer my words and actions. First, I am to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Then, I am to wrapped up in a sweater of forgiveness and last of all, cover everything in an overcoat of love. (The irony of this metaphor is I am typing this while wearing shorts and a T-shirt.) Bottom line, I am to make a choice. I am to chose what I wear. I can wear the ugly, comfortable, easy clothes of anger, frustration, hate, bitterness, impatience and condescension or the fashion forward clothes that God has provided for me. God tells me I am chosen, and holy, and beloved and I should dress accordingly. My reactions in life should reflect the qualities of Christ's character. I should respond to people in a manner worthy of His sacrifice and forgiveness. That means when I reach into my closet of behavioral choices I consciously chose the outfits that God has designed for me. Words that offer compassion and kindness. An outward demeanor that is not consumed with myself, but defers to others so they feel accepted and important. Forgiveness that restores relationships. Praise that promises hope. Thankfulness that lightens a burdened heart. Just like the clothes I wear are a choice, so are the words I say and the things I do.
Change is not easy for me to do, but I want to try. I want to wear different behaviors than I usually wear. I want God's word to dwell deeply within me so that when I am squeezed by my circumstances or the people around me, a little bit of God squirts out instead of me. I want to behave in a manner worthy of the One who saved me and called me to follow Him. And that means for once, I don't roll my eyes.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Change me. Help me to choose you. Help me to choose to spend time with you. Help me to choose different words to say when the sarcastic ones are the only ones I know. Make me aware of the tone in my voice and the expression on my face when I encounter "trying" people. Keep working on making my heart like yours.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.