Some days at work are a challenge, like today. We are in transition to rolling out a new product line that is still being developed, so there is a lot of “I know we did it that way last week, but now we’re moving in this direction.” I’ve been at CFS for near 11 years, so I’m sort of the old dog that doesn’t like new tricks.
Today there were a few hiccups and I was frustrated, confused, and on the fast track to perturbed.
And I knew it.
A few weeks ago, I was in similar spirits. I threw my Sony headphones at the wall, leaving them in fragments, and stormed out of the building before I did something stupid. Wait, it was too late for that. I regretted it as the door to the office slammed behind me. How could I get so upset? After all, it’s “Just symbols.”
Today a co-worker came around the corner of my cube as the moment of decision arrived. “You must be pretty upset, you’re smiling real big,” she said. Usually she would be right. It’s a weird involuntary reaction I have right before blowing my top, but not this time. It was genuine.
In the nano-second I had to react, I remembered a conversation I had with my friend Christian about how every day presents opportunities for us to pick up our cross, die to our selfish desires, and “put on Christ.” (Luke 9:23, Romans 13:14, Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:5-14).
I replied, “You know, someone somewhere lost a child today. This, it’s just symbols.”
I need to remember that it’s not all about me, and that no matter how bad something seems, someone out there is having a rougher day than me. Jesus suffered horrible torture for my sake, is it too much to ask that I, a self-proclaimed follower of His, actually try to be like Him and refuse a self indulgent tantrum?
I know this is a small example, pedestrian at best, but it’s not the “I have a dream…” or “One small step for man…” moments that make us who we are: it’s these trivial moments all strung together and how we react to them that define us.
It’s the everyday grind.
It’s the way I answer my wife when she asks for help with the dishes; do I answer “yes,” but inside gripe about how I believe she should be able to get it done? It’s when my kids want to go out and play or need help with school work; do I tell them I’m too tired and neglect them or get my lazy but off the couch and show them a father’s love? It’s when my neighbor’s mower is broken; do I look the other way or ride over and cut it? It’s when someone cuts me off in traffic then drives below the speed limit; do I point them up to Jesus with my middle finger or just slow up a bit and chill?
Picking up our cross is a daily event in which I die to self. Timothy Williams wrote “True love for God is stronger than death, even death to self (Even the Demons Believe chapter seventeen).”
If I love God the way I say I do, then I must, by force, take every thought, word, and action captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5,).
~ God, give me this day my daily cross, and also the strength to carry it.