So it’s a while since I’ve written a ‘faith’ post, but at last, I have some beef to get off my chest. (Such a strange choice of words for a vegetarian…)
See, our first month in our new home and first fortnight in our new roles have been abundantly blessed. We’ve arrived at an exciting time; there are new things starting, clear ways for us to get involved and key relationships to build. Lots to do, lots to say and even more to pray.
Funny then, (in a not-so-LOL kind of way), that I spent the first of these important two weeks completely and utterly distracted by rage.
Rage against what? I hear you ask… World poverty? Islamic Terrorism? Islamaphobic Terrorism? Child Cancer? Any cancer? Human Trafficking? Brexit?! No? How about a personal attack? An offence close to home? A parking ticket??!
I got into a 3 week cyber fight with an eBay seller who said one thing, did another, and then – get this- refused to apologise for the misunderstanding. Outraged by their sheer lack of Britishness, I wrote some fairly strongly worded emails asking for a manager, threatening negative feedback and then resorting to ‘Contact eBay’ when they still wouldn’t budge. It was, you know, fairly, well… Pretty tame stuff. Yup. Ouch.
But the sad part is, for an entire week I let this trivial thing completely consume me. My blood boiled every time my phone pinged and my fingers burned as I typed fast and scathing responses. I thought about it at night as I tried to sleep and in the morning as I turned on my phone and held my breath. The day they told me I was too rude to deserve an apology, I darn-nearly threw my phone off the wall! Of course Husband, in his wisdom, pointed out that this thing had gotten under my skin and out of my character; clearly it would be better for my own benefit if I just stopped replying and wiped the slate clean?
FORGIVE AND FORGET?!
Not likely, Pet!
These idiots have got to learn!
Internally, I reasoned that this online battle had nothing to do with real life; so I could continue to spit venom and hunt them down in cyber space, without at all affecting my roles as loving wife, patient mother, and friendly, approachable new Curate’s wife.
But… it didn’t take long to accept that I was wrong.
The thing I discovered (yet again) was that bitterness; whether it stems from justifiable hurt or trivial irritation; takes root in the soul and spreads like poison. It is toxic. Despite my insistence that this particular situation was insignificant and separate, I found myself snappy with the kids, irritable with Husband and constantly distracted during small talk with everyone else. I began to dislike myself and the person “they” were turning me into. I struggled to pray, about anything really, but largely about all of this. (That is when you realise deep down you’re in the wrong; when you just know that things won’t go your way if you take them to God!) I asked Husband to ask Him to sort it out, (meaning just get them to say sorry then I can leave it, Ok?!) But clearly, that wasn’t the lesson here!
That night I had a dream. A really dodgy, seemingly hilarious dream about a dear friend on the other side of the world. I sent her the details, just for a laugh, expecting nothing more than a few emojis back. What she replied, however, was that she had had the exact same dream the week before; going on to explain exactly what it means, why she has been receiving prayer support, and asking if I could please pray too?!
See what I mean?!
God: This world does not revolve around you! Stop wasting our time, see? We have bigger fish to fry!
Penny dropping: Sometimes, in order to win the bigger wars, we have to be prepared to choose to lose the small.
This trivial, worldly, stubborn bitterness was effecting me, my family, my faith and my usefulness to God. No matter how much I believed the other party was in the wrong, I had to admit this wasn’t right and surrender it- along with my pride- to God.
So Monday was the day; the deadline for lodging my formal complaint, if I was going to do so. I decided firmly against it in the morning and resolved to keep smiling, keep praying (and keep as far away from my phone as possible!) And do you know what? It was the best day of curacy so far.
I took Toddler to a… Well, a Toddler Group… But in a rare episode of exhaustion he slept soundly throughout. Just as I was debating what to do, someone handed me a church newsletter with the details of a prayer meeting, starting in ten minutes and roughly ten minutes walk away. I went, along with ten others, and it was honestly such a blessed way to start a week. On the way home I bumped into four separate church members who recognised me and stopped or walked to chat. And when I got home, even the neighbour with the car thing stopped to say hello!
The week has pretty much carried on in that vein, as I’ve found myself free from vexation.
I’ve had some really lovely exchanges, and some deeper conversations.
Maybe these are miracles; answers to prayer for raising the bar?
Or maybe it’s just a reminder of how things can change,
When you don’t wear a face like a slapped arse?!
If Jesus loves you, tell your face-
Your heart, mind and soul too.
And maybe don’t try to be someone you’re not?!
Just leave the cyber-rage to fools!