TAKE ONE, TAKE TWO

Activated - - NEWS - By Iris Richard

TAKE ONE

Hear­ing the crunch of metal against metal as I backed out of my park­ing spot al­most made my heart stop. I was in a hurry and had quickly scanned the park­ing lot be­fore climb­ing be­hind the wheel, but some­how I had over­looked a pick-up that was parked in an un­usual place.

I quickly got out of the car to ex­am­ine the dam­age and found a nasty crack and dent on my bumper, plus a bro­ken tail light on the pickup. I scrib­bled an apol­ogy and my phone num­ber on a piece of pa­per, which I stuck un­der the wind­shield wiper of the other car. I would have to deal with this in­ci­dent once I got back home. With ruf­fled nerves I drove out the gate.

I had planned to beat rush hour, but as I reached the main road, I re­al­ized to my dis­may that traf­fic had al­ready been build­ing up, which meant I would be late for an im­por­tant meet­ing. I im­pa­tiently drummed on the steer­ing wheel as the traf­fic crawled along the con­gested two-lane road.

I felt ir­ri­tated about the in­ci­dent at the park­ing lot and kept re­play­ing it in my mind, try­ing to fig­ure out how I could have over­looked the parked ve­hi­cle. The day had only just be­gun and my stom­ach was al­ready in knots when a mini­van cut in the line right in front of me. I rolled down my win­dow and shouted an an­gry re­buke. So much for Chris­tian graces, I thought. Ac­tu­ally, I didn’t feel any grace for the day, which had started off on the wrong foot.

Sit­ting in traf­fic gave me time to think and re­flect on my morn­ing rou­tines of re­cent weeks, and I re­al­ized that my usual mo­ments with God had been squeezed out be­cause of an in­creased work­load and tighter sched­ule. It seemed that since then I had be­come eas­ily ir­ri­tated and un­usu­ally short-tem­pered. Right there, as the traf­fic slowly cleared, I com­mit­ted to get­ting back my mo­ments of de­vo­tions in the morn­ing.

TAKE TWO

The next week’s sched­ule was packed, and glanc­ing over my agenda, it didn’t seem that there was much of a mar­gin for any­thing but work. To weather the work­load, I surely would need an ex­tra amount of en­durance and pa­tience. I needed a plan.

I de­cided to set my alarm for half an hour ear­lier and put to­gether a va­ri­ety of de­vo­tional ma­te­rial and a blank note­book with a pen to keep in the liv­ing room for my early morn­ing touch-base-with-God time. I knew that wak­ing up early was go­ing to be a sac­ri­fice, as I trea­sure each minute of sleep, but I was de­ter­mined to give this new com­mit­ment a try.

When my alarm rang the first morn­ing, I mus­tered up the en­ergy to crawl out of bed and sleep­walked to the liv­ing room, where I set­tled into a cor­ner of the couch. It was still dark out­side, but the first birds’ crys­tal clear song be­gan to an­nounce the soon-com­ing sun­rise. Their song sounded like praise to God and in­spired me to like­wise get go­ing with count­ing my bless­ings.

As the first timid sunrays crept into the room, I felt more awake and took up my daily de­vo­tional book to read the day’s pas­sage. In­spired by the text, which hap­pened to be al­most tai­lor-made coun­sel for my busy week ahead, I copied a para­graph into my note­book. I then prayed for all the as­pects of my to-do list and spent some time med­i­tat­ing on the an­swered prayers of the pre­vi­ous week. Af­ter the half hour was over, I felt re­freshed and ready to face the day.

As I started keep­ing my halfhour ap­point­ments with God, it wasn’t the ab­sence of prob­lems, set­backs, or snags that made my work a suc­cess, but the way I re­acted to them, which helped to smooth rough edges, pre­serve my nerves—and, I’m sure, made me a more pleas­ant per­son to be around. My mo­ments with God in the morn­ing have once again be­come a habit. This first ap­point­ment of the day has given me strength to weather the storms of life, to keep the peace, to have more clar­ity of thought, and to process sit­u­a­tions in a more ben­e­fi­cial way.

Those who wait on the Lord shall re­new their strength; they shall mount up with wings like ea­gles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. — Isa­iah 40:31

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