If you are like me, you have conversations with yourself on the regular about a variety of things. Me, Myself and I often chat about things like which route to take when going someplace, what tasks need doing before day’s end or what needs adding to the grocery list. Beyond these small daily tasks come some of the bigger things that need my attention also. For example, I sometimes talk to myself about how I want my day to go. Often, I will drive to work and say “I’m going to be positive today and not complain.” Or, I’ll remind myself that I need to keep my cool and be a good example to my kids and others around me by being patient. Every morning, I spend time listening to podcasts, reading the bible and praying to gird my loins for the day. The Armor of God is polished up and strapped on so I can march on. Holy Roller on a mission! Until I leave the house…
Today I failed. Miserably. Sparing you the specifics to protect myself and those involved, I allowed situations and people to reduce me to irritation and anger today. There was not just a little bit, but waves of blood-boiling, tooth-gnashing indignation and offendedness. One of the best bits of advice that I just love to dish out is that you can’t control other people, but you can control your response to their behavior. Heck yes! That is some sound-as-a-pound advice.
Yet today, as a convergence of foolishness from a variety of sources alighted into my lap, I lost my cool. I railed a bit, raged a bit, and let the nonsense stew in my mind and heart for the better part of the day. Peddling my tales of woe to sympathetic listeners, I garned some relief for the part of me that was offended. I felt soothed by the balm of their murmurs of agreement.
But once I had time to sit and think about what had happened, and how ultimately, none of it really mattered to my personal life and happiness, I felt embarrassed by my actions. I had allowed people and circumstances to rob me of my joy, which is supposed to surpass the stuff of this life. I hadn’t fixed my eyes on Jesus, for if I had, I would have forgiven quickly and shrugged off the whole affair as a minor inconvenience. I would have filed it under the “Who Cares Because I Have Bigger Fish to Fry” area of my mind.
Times like this remind me of what a hopelessly imperfect creature I am and that I need to spend more time thinking about, praying about and acting on what is right and important. Philippians 4:8, one of my favorite passages of the bible, addresses this. It reads:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
The point of this, in my view, is that we should be so preoccupied with what is positive, that we don’t even have time to entertain what is negative, at least not for any extended period of time. I have this conversation with myself less often than I used to, but still far too often. My heart’s desire is to be positive and an encouragement to those around me, but when I fail to fix my eyes on the “WHATEVER” that is outlined in Philippians 4:8, I inevitably fall into a trap of negativity. That, dear friends, is a waste of time and energy.
Thank you Lord that tomorrow is a do-over and another chance to get it right. When I am tempted tomorrow to grumble and complain, I will just shrug and say “Whatever”.