Friday, September 18, 2015

always hopes, always perseveres

It is so easy to see the wrong.  To point out the low...  the negative...  the frustrating.  It is easy to find fault in others and criticize every mishap.  It is easy to judge... to whine... to tear down... to wear down.  But gals, it is just as easy to choose positivity.

I believe that negativity is a habit.  A bad sinful icky human habit.  Sure, there are times we need to unload and unwind.  There are serious issues that require us to seriously pray.  Because we are imperfect.  We live in corrupt bodies, on a corrupt planet, in a corrupt universe... and sadly, we corrupted it ourselves!  But the bottom line is, despite the truth of our condition here on earth, Jesus came to turn our lowest downs upward.  Jesus died in order that we might live fully and with His blessing.  Jesus loves so that we would learn, and know, and share, and glorify in His love.  With Jesus, it is easy to choose positivity.  In His Name, it is easy to live as over-comers.  In Christ, we have purpose.  We have hope.  We have identity and adoption into His Eternal Kingdom.

The other day, a friend of mine came over to enjoy dinner with me and my family.  To say that this friend has had a difficult year is a bit of an understatement.  Anyway, all I wanted to do for this friend was be available... listen... hug.  Days before, I had planned to cook a lovely dinner.  Alas, my own chronic pain had kept me from singing in the kitchen that afternoon.  So around lunchtime, I texted my friend to see if a "Pizza Night" would suffice.  Shortly afterward, I received a return text freeing me of all cooking obligation.  It read, "Pizza is always a good idea."  Phew!  Thank you, Lord!

The rest of my afternoon consisted of pain meds and pacing myself with some light houshold vacuuming to make our house as presentable as I could.  Then at 5:30ish, our pizza was delivered followed minutes later by my friend arriving for supper.  

When the pizza had arrived, my husband (who is always very attentive to my physical handicaps) wanted to take over setting up the dining room table by plating the side dishes, arranging flatware, filling glasses with ice, etc.  But could I notice how sweet he was being?  No.  Would I acknowledge how thoughtful his gesture to help out was?  No.  Instead, all I could focus on was that he had put some of the delivered food on a wooden side-table without placing anything underneath to protect the wood from condensation marks!  BLASPHEMY!  (Haha, I'm serious... I'm such a freak about these things.)

"You're going to ruin that table, Chuck!"  These were the only words I could utter.  These were the only thoughts I could think.  By the time my friend had arrived, the well-being of that stupid table and my husband's lack of concern to prevent damaging water rings had turned me into a last-class (unworthy of first-class) nag.  Mind you, the minute I brought this horror to his attention Chuck had relocated the items while politely saying nothing about my snarky grumblings.  But the damage was already done.  There were water marks on the table.  In love, my hubby promised, "Vic, it will fade away as it dries.  It will be ok or I will find a solution to fix it, ok?"

WHAT?!!!  This is not ok!  The table is ruined!  What is he thinking?  Arrrrggghghghghghgh!

Sigh, it is so easy to find fault and be negative, folks.  Forget that earlier that day my husband had been to the dentist to have much work done in his mouth and was functioning in his own pain with the repercussions of a jawline headache.  Forget that even with said headache, he had faithfully worked the rest of his workday - earning money so that we could pay our bills, live in our home, sleep in warm beds, own pretty wooden tables to rest our take-out dinner items upon.  Forget that he loves me enough that he wants to attend to my needs so that my physical hindrances don't prevent us from catching up with good friends and enjoying time together as a family.  No, I had forgotten ALL those wonderful blessings and could only focus on one small wet spot atop a fancy block of wood.  Yeah, that's not messed up at all, right?  That's not negative or selfish.  Sigh... that's not Jesus!  (Truly, I'm embarrassed to even share this story with y'all.)

The morning after we had fellowshipped with my friend, I got up early to help my husband get organized for the day.  I normally try to wake up and get moving before he does (no matter how early) so that I can prepare a cup of "love" coffee and a little breakfast for him before he begins his work.  As I started my rounds throughout the house, straightening couch pillows and picking up dog toys, I be-lined to the dining room to collect yesterday's table cloth linens for the laundry.  Of course, my attention was immediately redirected toward the wood table. Did it recover as Chuck had hoped?  Would the water rings be gone?  I turned the corner and UGH!  Water rings - still present and blatant.  The table clearly ruined.  Inside I FREAKED OUT!  Anger swelled and my thorns came out of hiding again.  Boy, was my husband gonna hear about this!  Let the bitchslapping begin!

Let's pause to consider...
Did I default into going to God right then in prayer?  No.
Did I try to think past the problem and ask the Holy Spirit to bring me a reasonable solution?  Sadly... UmNo.

Instead I went into mothering/discipline mode.  (No, I'm not his mother.  No, I have no authority to discipline my gracious head of household.)  Instead, I dug my heals in and prepared my speech.  My poor husband was about to wake up to Cruella DeVille ready to TEAR. HIM. DOWN.

Sigh.

It is so easy to see the wrong.  To point out the low...  the negative...  the frustrating.  It is easy to find fault in others and criticize every mishap.  It is easy to judge... to whine... to tear down... to wear down.  But gals, it is just as easy to choose positivity.  To look at the world with the eyes of love.  To follow the example of our Savior and build up - seeing past all corruptness and choosing to help others triumph.

I cannot express how thankful I am that the Lord stopped me.  I cannot fathom the ugliest selfishness that I would have bombarded towards my dearest without the intercession of Jesus ruling my life.  Right before Chuck started his day, the Holy Spirit graciously whispered to me over morning coffee and some much-needed time alone in His Word.   He asked, "Victoria, what matters most? A friggin table (ok, I added the "friggin" part...), or your loving husband who only wants to take care of you?" 

Convicted, I asked the Lord for forgiveness and later apologized to Chuck - still expressing my concern but, to his relief, also offering a new supportive willingness to seek a solution in fixing the unintentional mishap.  Of course, he didn't mean to harm our furniture.  Of course, he only wanted to help and serve me.  

After kissing my sweetie and waving goodbye as he drove away to his first meeting, I grabbed some Lemon Scented Pledge Furniture Polish and recited the truth of 1 Corinthians 13.  As I sprayed and worked over the affected area with a soft cloth, I recalled the truth of God's Word...

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others.
Love is not self serving.
Love is not easily angered, Victoria.
Love keeps no record of wrongs toward their blessed husbands.
Love does not delight in evil, bitchslapping, or nagging.  (Yes, I might have embellished a bit, but you feel me, right?)
Instead, love rejoices with God's truth.
Love always protects.
Love always trusts.
Love always hopes.
Love always perseveres.

I rewinded and thought, "Love always, always hopes, doesn't it Lord?"  There is no need for negativity when we have God's hope.  There is no place for grumbling tempers when the Messiah has ushered in a more patient and kind solution.  He has offered us His NEW creation.  He has come to save and restore His people!  

I looked down at the wood table and noticed the Pledge was working.  The water stain was completely gone.  (Thank you, Lord.)  Jesus was working in me too.  His pledge to bring me closer to His holiness was evident in this real-time series of events.  It's so true... His intercession always gives us hope, doesn't it?  Once again, I was reminded that His Way - His LOVE - should be my only focus.  There is no room for negative selfishness if I am to live in His love.  He is the solution.  He is able to fix everything I corrupt.  All I must do is surrender and obey Him.  What an amazing God we serve!

Ladies, despite the truth of our condition here on earth, Jesus came to turn our lowest downs upward.  He died in order that we might live.  He loves so that we can learn, and know, and share, and glorify His love with others.  In His Name, let's remember to choose His positivity.  By His grace we are called to live as hope-filled over-comers.  So, let's lay aside our habits to grumble, for we now have a positive purpose to live fully.  We have an eternal hope.  We have a new identity in the perfection and holiness of Christ the Lord!  (Thank you, Father, for this important reminder!)  

Might we each pledge to choose love and positivity.  Why?  Because God positively loves us enough to see past our flaws, still choosing to restore us into His NEW.  Because of His loving-kindness, we are indeed saved by God's grace!  

Yes, it's easy to see the wrong.  But, gals, love always hopes.  Thankfully, love always perseveres.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:5)

Hallelujah to the King of kings!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


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