Yesterday, I woke up to a cold and rainy morning that could very well have set the overall tone for my day. The girls were having quite a time getting ready, which means lots of tears and disagreement about what pink shoes they will wear to school. I rushed out the door so I could get to work a little early. I put my gear in the back seat and went to crank the car….and nothing happened. A light came on with a little engine flashing orange and my screen told me that the “traction control is off and the engine is powering down”. I had no idea what that meant, other than the fact that I couldn’t drive my car. Sara gave me a ride and when I got inside the office to make my first cup of coffee, there was no creamer. At this point, it was only 7:30 in the morning. Honestly, I was gearing up for one of those days. Do you know the sort of day I am talking about, where everything just seems to go wrong? I knew it was going to be that one.
After a half-hearted attempt to read the Gospels and get my day back on the right note (Yes, pastors struggle with this sometimes, too), I decided that it was time to figure something out with my car. I called a friend from church who knows a thing or two about how to deal with busted up vehicles. He answered the phone and after I told him what was happening, he said that he would call the tow truck and have my car sent to his mechanic friend who would take a look and let us know how to move forward. He assured me that my car was not on the verge of explosion and that, in fact, it would probably be just fine. We hung up the phone and I breathed a sigh of relief, thanking God for my friend that helped me in a moment of trouble.
A five-minute phone call completely changed my day.
I spent the majority of my morning being mad about things that, at the end of the day, are really not that important. I sat at my desk thinking about the money I was about to spend trying to fix a car that I have hated from the day I bought it in 2013. It was going to be an awful day. I threw a fit that I didn’t have creamer for my coffee. Who drinks coffee without creamer? I wondered why in the world my kids can’t just wear the shoes we pick out for them. Are some of those things trivial? Absolutely. Could they have ruined my day? You bet they could. My mind was firmly set that today wasn’t a good day for me.
You have been there. We have all had those days. And all it took was one phone call with a generous friend to change my day. One phone call with a person who cared and I realized that, actually, it was going to be a good day. It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?
Instead of wondering why my girls won’t wear the shoes I picked out, I can give thanks to God that I have three healthy girls who light up my day (and occasionally drive me crazy).
Rather than stress out about the car is broken, I have the opportunity to be grateful that I am surrounded by people that are willing to help because they are kind, generous, and good. We always have the opportunity to change our perspective. A mentor once told me something that continually echoes in my consciousness,
“What you look for is what you will find.”
There were ample opportunities for my day to be awful. If I was looking for an awful day, well, then that is what I would have found. At the exact same time, I was extended grace by a friend who helped me for no other reason than that is what friends do for each other. I am surrounded by a community of people who are doing their best to follow Jesus in the world. I have a healthy family and good work to do every day. Life is good. Yes, what you look for is what you will find.
As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, I hope you will look for the good, true, and beautiful life that is all around you. In his letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul is giving a group of young Christians advice on how to live well in the world. In one of my favorite lines he says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I am pretty sure that being a people of thanksgiving should be one of the defining marks of Jesus’ people. Think deeply about what you have to be grateful for in your life, because what you look for is what you will find.
On this day, may you find goodness; the goodness of others and the goodness of God.
Grace and Peace,