Archive for August, 2012


Asking For His Blessing

I am tired today. The last few days have been busy. In fact, the summer has been busy. It’s generously provided me with a limited time opportunity to accomplish a lot outside, and I’ve seized that chance. It’s made for long days, short nights, and sore muscles, which would be why I woke up this morning with a sore shoulder, a developing headache, an abundance of yawning, and no phone call from work telling me that I could just stay home in bed.

I don’t know about you, but these are perfect conditions for a good case of the grumps, the cranks, the snarls, and good, old-fashioned crankiness. I am tired. I hurt some. I have things beeping and ringing and otherwise annoying me, and I have to be nice? Or at least put up a decent pretense? Bleah.

Fortunately, I do have options. I don’t have to assume the guise of Grouchy Malouchy, and fortunately I remembered that options are available this morning when my alarm went off. It’s always best to nip the grumps early. I can ask for God’s blessing.

It’s pretty simple. In some ways, it’s a lot like asking a blessing before a meal. We do that as an expression of gratitude, as an acknowledgement of of God’s provision, and as an opportunity to make requests, such as nourishment. Why not carry that practice into other areas of our lives? I figure that a God who does “immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine” probably does more than simply give us food. I think that a God who can turn water into wine, feed a guy using ravens, keep a supply of flour and oil refreshed until the rain comes, feed five thousand from a seed of 2 fish and five loaves, make bread and quail appear to sustain the desert dwelling Israelites, and an old man into a great nation is probably a pretty good provider. He sounds like He’s good at meeting needs.

He sounds like He excels at taking inadequacy and making it into an abundance, so that’s what I asked Him for this morning when I woke up and realized how tired I felt.

God, I’m really tired. You know I’ve been busy, and that it was hard to get to sleep last night. Thank you for the sleep that I did get. I know every bit helps, but I also know that it’s not enough, and I have a long day ahead. Please bless the rest I did get. Take it and make it somehow enough to get me through my day safely. Help me to have a good day. Thanks.

This isn’t the first time I’ve asked for His blessing on getting me through a day. He always gets me through, though I never know what to expect. Sometimes I just feel better (and can’t give caffeine all the credit), sometimes I have an unexpectedly easy day (which seems to be today so far), sometimes I get to experience the sufficiency of grace through a hard day, and so on. Easy or hard, He always seems to work it out so that the day has value. I don’t usually get stuck gritting my teeth while trying endure on my own yet another horrible, stressful day. If nothing else, simply having an open door to ask for His help relieves some of my stress. Remembering that I have a choice helps alleviate some stress, too.

We’ll see how today goes. Personally, I’m expecting good things!

—–

Yep, it was a good day, and now it’s bedtime. Have a great one!

It’s Not About You

My sister Shelah likes to say this. Most of the time I hear her pronouncing these words, it’s been an attempt to remind another sister that there are other people also living here. For a while there, Shelah said it so frequently that it became background noise! Really, though, I think she’s making a good point. In fact, I think there’s actually more than one good point to be made from it.

One is the context in which Shelah used it. It was an admonishment not to be selfish and a reminder that the world does not revolve around you. It was a (sometimes much needed!) reminder to behave better and remember others nearby.

That’s all good, but I think there’s another, more subtle benefit to this admonishment. It doesn’t have to be all about you. It’s not required, demanded, forced, which means that sometimes it can be easier to let things go, because they are not about you. Relationships inevitably produce friction between the people involved. Sometimes that friction occurs because those people have some problems with each other. Other times, though, friction occurs because one or both of those people is having a bad day and become unusually sensitive to little things. Things that are normally fine are somehow so completely irritating or upsetting or otherwise emotionally charged. Molehills ARE mountains!! And sometimes the person-having-bad-day is easily offended, and some of sort of conflict breaks out.

If it’s your turn to be the unfortunate offender of a person who is having a hard time thanks to life in general instead of with you in particular, you might try offering a simple apology that deals specifically with whatever the (minor) offense was, such as, “I’m sorry that what I said was upsetting. It didn’t come out quite right, and I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” Sometimes that’s enough, and sometimes they’re still grumpy butts who are still having a bad day and still feel snarly. At times like that, minor conflicts are easily escalated into mountains, and this is a fantastic time to remember that it’s not about you.

Don’t get sucked in. Don’t take it personally. Don’t accept blame for their bad day. Don’t get huffy about their snarling. Don’t make an effigy of them and burn it, or turn their picture into a dart board. Don’t worry about their audition for a part on Sesame Street as Oscar the Grouch.  Give them some grace. Be a good friend or neighbor. Remember, instead, that God loves ’em – bless their grumpy, little hearts -and that they’re having a hard time that is not about you. It’s much easier, I think, to then forgive the conflict and let it go. Makes for lighter living and better sleeping if I remember that often enough, it’s not all about me.

What do you think?