Exploring the Deep

Passionately pursuing life, faith and adventure…


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When disappointment interrupts your attitude.

Last week I found myself in a different sort of head-space than normal: I was perplexed and confused and annoyed. It was not a fun space for this girl to find herself in. There wasn’t a single thing I could pin my feelings back to, but rather a series of smaller things that culminated with a general sense of uneasiness.

As a friend of mine from college would say, “Stop the world. I want to get off.” Ok, I didn’t really want to stop the world and I didn’t really want to get off, but I did want to hit the pause button and spend some time thinking about what was going on around and within me!

This new head-space I found myself in was causing a shift in my mood. It was causing me to question my motives and attitude. And it ultimately made me ask myself: what am I supposed to do when disappointment interrupts my attitude?

When vacation plans change…
When opportunities are offered to other people…
When family doesn’t respond the way you anticipate…
When a relationship comes to an end…
When jealousy creeps in…

To be honest, I had to sit with that question for a while. Not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I did know the answer – and I wasn’t living up to it.

Inside I was reeling and wanted to embrace it. I wanted to do all the things I knew I shouldn’t – hold on to the hurt, be upset, say something harsh, eat a handful of bon bons. But none of that would ease the disappointment or help my attitude (or my waistline). I knew I needed to take a breath and remind myself that I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago, but that I’m to “put off [my] old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of [my] mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

But even more than simply adjusting my attitude, which is often short-lived and always a work-in-progress, I knew I needed to recall the One who holds my life in His hands. It’s a difficult lesson I’m learning – that I don’t hold the map of the master plan for my life. This lesson is uniquely and simultaneously both humbling and empowering. My life isn’t filled with the same giants the prophet faced in Habakkuk 1:1-4, but the same word God spoke to him holds true for me. And His promise in 1:5 excites me: “I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

And with that word lingering in my mind, I breathe deeply in and out. I’ve found the answer to my dilemma. And I’ve found myself ready for the world to keep turning.

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Chance, fate and a friend.

I don’t believe in chance. And I’m not sure I believe in fate, either. What I do believe in is a sovereign God who leads and directs me into situations and circumstances that can seem like chance or fate on the surface.

I know many of my friends will disagree with me. They will claim that either there is no God (or He doesn’t care) and so everything in life is left to chance. Or they will claim that God orders every step of our lives so everything is predestined. I just can’t bring myself to believe either of those scenarios.

There have been too many situations in my life that, despite my own plans and actions, have lined up in a way that only God could orchestrate. Take this afternoon for instance: I made a quick stop in the grocery store after leaving the dentist’s office where my appointment could easily have finished five minutes earlier or 10 minutes later. I wasn’t on a schedule, just picking up a few items before heading home. I went from one area of the store to the other without any logical path when I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a few weeks. It was clear there was something bothering him so we chatted for a few minutes and shared what was going on in our lives. A word of encouragement, a reminder that there’s someone who cares on the other end of the phone, a quick hug and off we went with our spirits lifted.

Some would look at this exchange as fate and others as chance. I suppose you could argue it was either of those, but life simply seems like more than a series of random situations and we seem like more than pawns in a giant game of chess. Without a doubt I know God cares about us – and in this moment I’m confident that because of His love, God led my day so that I could run into this friend and brighten his attitude along with mine.