This morning, I walked out to the car and noticed my driver’s side window was shattered to the tune of $412 four days before vacation. Lame.
Last week, I waited over an hour with my son past his appointment time for a visit I had scheduled two months prior AND he had to get shots. Lame.
Last month, I scheduled a payment online, but the account servicing company started my auto-pay a month early, so we paid twice. Lame.
Last year, I had to suck it up so my favorite human in the world didn’t have to tend to my disappointment on top of tending to his own emotions. Lame.
Right this second, I am literally complaining about my beautiful life. Lame.
Sometimes circumstances are lame. Sometimes people are lame. Sometimes I am lame. Chris likes to say, “Lame llamas.” It makes things less lame. Have I mentioned he’s my favorite human?
Recently, (and by recently, I mean this evening) I’ve become acutely aware of how often I get frustrated. Granted, the situations I listed earlier were frustrating. No one likes walking out to car vandalism. I already told you how much I hate waiting here. Money matters, especially when you don’t have a lot of it, and feelings are sometimes hard to hide. I can sit here and justify my frustration all day long, but at the end of the day I have to ask myself if staying frustrated is worth the cost.
Will leaning into my frustration produce the kind of fruit I want to see in my life—the kind of fruit God desires to cultivate—or will my frustration fester and evolve into something I don’t want?
Real talk: when we were at the doctor’s office for an appointment, we really did have to wait a really long time. As I watched the clock, my frustration turned into self-righteous anger and my time became more important than the others who were also waiting. After we were taken into the exam room, we had to wait again; as the minutes passed, I grew indignant. When the medical assistant returned to the room, she continued on as though nothing was wrong and I wanted to lay down the snark.
Thank God I caught myself.
Honestly, I can’t even take credit for catching myself. Truly, it was God nudging me. Be still. And right there in the exam room, “the peace of God which passes all understanding guarded my heart and mind”—and mouth.
That verse from Philippians 4:7 is something I heard every Sunday my whole life growing up in the Episcopal and Anglican traditions. Obviously, I added “and mouth” but what I also know from the mouth of Jesus is “…what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart,” (Matthew 15:18a). It is true that I had allowed my frustration grow into anger and indignation, but my emotions are not my master—Jesus is my master. By his power, I can gain control of my emotions and reorient my thoughts to him. And so that’s what I chose to do—it didn’t even hurt.
Choosing to let go of my frustration allowed me to see the medical assistant as a human being—my neighbor. Pausing gave me an opportunity to consider how Jesus would treat this young woman if he were me.
Kindness is one of the fruits of the spirit; something I know for certain God wants to cultivate in my life. Spending time with God in the quiet gives me knowledge and faith that in a hectic situation, I can draw upon his strength and wisdom to choose the action he would choose. I believe in that exam room, Jesus would have chosen kindness.
Sometimes life is lame llamas. Jesus faced lame llamas too. I bet Jesus pet the lame llamas—he probably gave them new names like lovely llamas. Or maybe he just simply dealt with lame llamas to show me how to deal with mine. Whatever it is, I’m here for it.