Stop. Sit. Listen.

Sometimes, situations come up which elicit responses that seem a little inappropriate – it’s in these times it might be good to stop and take inventory with the Lord, so to speak. 

For example:

Yesterday, I was so frustrated at the way my morning went. Early on the sun was out, the forecast showed sun all day long, and I planned to find a ray of sunshine on the Starbucks patio in which to bask, as I read a book and did some journaling. 

It was to be my day of rest for the week, because I was alone all day and I’ve got two field trips the rest of the week. 

Instead of having this time of rest, reflection and prayer, I ran errands which seemed necessary at the time, but turned out to serve no purpose. And then the clouds rolled in – but just to my part of town. I could see the line where they stopped and it taunted me all day. See…

I was already irritable when I decided to just go to Starbucks and maaaaaaybe the sun would come out. I set my book and my notebook on the table and ordered a decaf Americano. I knew that if I had any more caffeine I might hurt someone. 

There was only one guy ahead of me who ordered a cup of drip coffee and had them grind a bag of beans. It was not busy. I ordered, went to the bathroom, washed my hands, came out and waited. 

And waited. And waited. 

It seemed like 15 minutes of me waiting and standing there and sitting and then standing there again. I was like

I even had the tears brimming – they were angry, frustrated ones, because the clock was ticking and I only had a little time left to myself. 

There was a barista behind the counter, only kind of busy, but totally ignoring my presence. I tried, unsuccessfully, to get his attention. 

Finally, I walked back over to the cash register and found another guy to pay attention to me (eventually) and I told him, with my shaky voice, that I ordered an Americano a long time ago and it hasn’t appeared. After some back and forth, he placed my order again and I finally got my coffee. My blood was boiling and it was all I could do not to cry.

I was irritated well beyond what the situation called for. Obviously. Generally, I’m really patient, but yesterday I just was not okay.

When things like this happen, as Christians, we might be tempted to think, oh, I need to read my Bible more…that must be what’s wrong. I should memorize a verse about patience. I should repent and ask God to forgive my frustration because there are people in the world with actual problems. 

And all of that might be fine and helpful.

But, what if the first thing we did was stop and listen? What if we sat down, and rather than push aside the negative feelings which we aren’t “supposed” to have, we told God how we felt? What if we used it as an opportunity to connect with Him?

What if I said, “I’m angry and frustrated and I feel like nothing is going my way,” and then just sat and waited? 

If I were to do that, I might hear, “You’re angry about your coffee because the barista made you feel invisible. As you stood there, you felt ridiculous and ignored, and that touches on the deeper wounds you have, which are still tender. You simply felt unimportant, unseen and discounted.”

Then I might understand the deeper issue, and then find a passage of scripture that will actually help. One that reminds me that He sees me and will never leave me or forsake me. 

I might also get some understanding about why I was frustrated about all the errands and the sun – that my soul is desperate for rest and it’s so hard for me to sit still. When I finally had the chance and set my mind to do it, it didn’t work out. The truth is that I feel overwhelmed. 

Jesus offers me an easy yoke and a deep rest, and so instead of berating myself for wasting time and getting angry, I can ask Him to teach me how to rest – not just my body, but my mind – and what to do with my burdens.

And then, after all of that, maybe peace would come, because I’d feel seen and loved. 

It’s a much better approach than finding something to do, or memorize, to fix it and prove myself – which would be a joke, anyway, because God sees and knows what’s in my heart.

Doing this doesn’t eliminate the need to apologize, or seek forgiveness or make things right with people, when necessary. It just allows you to get perspective and get your heart and emotions settled first.

When you’re having a bad day, or your emotions run wild, invite Him into your circumstances and negative emotions – He can handle it. It does no good to simply remind yourself that you “shouldn’t feel that way.”

Come out of hiding – lay it all out. Let God speak into it. There’s no need to hide what He already sees. 

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