I woke up in a horrible mood today.
Last night we went to our local county fair. It should have been a fun time for all; especially as I’ve got two children who love rides, animals, vegetable displays and all the free stuff the vendors hand out to entice a conversation with weary (and wary) adults. And don’t get me wrong, the kids had a great time overall. In between bouts of dad constantly yelling, “Get down”, “Get back”, “Come here” (or as Bill Cosby puts it, “Come here!… comeherecomeherecomeherecomeherecomehere . . . come HERE!!”)
I felt like I was herding cats all night and I came home exhausted and strung out.
Oh, then I didn’t sleep well ‘cuz I felt like crap all night over the way I acted. Which, when I finally crawled out of bed this morning, got me thinking about how I too often act at work towards surly customers and needy employees. (Well, not all of them, but those are the ones that usually elicit a reaction out of me . . . usually negative.) Which spiralled me further into my funk. Which got me thinking about how hard it is to be attempting to live out the fruits of the spirit within the parameters of “retail customer service.”
Like a dog chasing its tail, my thoughts spiralled around the, “it shouldn’t be this hard. Well, if God were truly in your life it wouldn’t be this hard. Well, I’ve asked him to lead in my life and I just have to have faith he is. Well, maybe you didn’t do it right. It shouldn’t be this hard! Well, maybe I shouldn’t even be in this line of work if it’s this hard. Well, maybe you’re in this line of work for a reason. Well, this line of work is driving me, and my family, crazy! Well, maybe you’re doing it wrong. IT SHOULDN’T BE THIS HARD!!”
Yet it is.
And all this leads me to wonder, in my morning funk and depressing stupor, what am I missing?
I’m currently reading Francis Chan’s book “Forgotten God” for the second time. Yet, this time it’s incredibly hard to get through. I feel as though I’m just going through the motions; slogging listlessly, page by page, reading out of some sense of “duty” rather than for the joy and experience I should be feeling. And again, I can’t help feeling I’m missing something. I’ve been at this a long time now. Time and time again, I’ve come before God with my faults and foibles, sins and shortcomings, laying them at the foot of the cross; earnestly praying for the forgiveness I so desperately need and the guidance and wisdom I so desperately crave. And I rise from my prayers feeling . . . .
. . . . no different.
As Chan puts it in his introduction to Forgotten God, “It doesn’t make sense that Almighty God would have children characterized by fear and insecurity. He put His Spirit in us so we could be known for our power (Acts 1:8; 2 Tim. 1:7).”
What am I missing?
Or, maybe I’m just having a bad day. The weather is gorgeous this morning. The kids are quiet. The coffee’s good. Maybe in my quest for the answers to the “big things” in life, I’m missing all the little things that are supposed to give me pause, give me a slight centering or at least cause me to just stop and take a breath. Could that be a “still, small voice” I hear?
Naw, just my six-year-old wanting “purpa grape joos”.
But still . . .