We all face trials. The question is: how do we handle them?
I would be lying if I said that I have reacted well to all the things going on in our lives right now. There have been moments when I have been tired and testy, irritable and irrational, especially when just one more thing goes wrong.
You know that feeling, right?
You see a light at the end of an exhausting tunnel, so close you can almost feel its warmth on your face, when SLAM! The door closes with such force the wind is knocked right out of you.
Or maybe it’s just the fact you spilled milk all over the floor after an all-night vigil with a sick child or a baby who just won’t sleep.
Maybe you cry. Maybe you cuss.
Or maybe you take out your frustration on whichever unlucky person happens to call or come by….or be working the cash register while you corral your kids through the candy-laden checkout lane.
(I’ve been guilty on all counts.)
Those moments? I’ve had them, too.
About 10 years ago, I found myself in a family bathroom at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris with a two year old who had a severely upset stomach. I had been through all the wipes I had with me, all the toilet paper in the place, and almost all the paper towels.
It was bad. She was sick, and I was nowhere near my husband who was still waiting at the gate for our flight.
To make matters worse, we were taking too long in the bathroom, and people were outside the door complaining. I opened it and tried to explain, but the frustrated people outside actually went and got someone who worked at the airport to hurry us out.
Y’all, I lost it.
I yanked open the door and told them in no uncertain terms that my child was sick and they would have to wait. I didn’t do it quietly. And, I was crying.
It was ugly.
I was ugly.
And, I’ve been thinking about it a good bit lately because I’m about to take that baby back to Africa, and I want to do better this time around, but it’s more than that, too.
Because life is like that. The hits keep coming, and they just get harder sometimes.
Every Day is an Opportunity.
Every day, every moment is an opportunity to react or relax, to lose control or keep composure, to be livid or be loving.
I need the same reminder that Paul sent to the church at Philippi:
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Philippians 1:27)
I didn’t manage it that morning in Paris or many times since, but I hold to the hope of this promise: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
You can, too.
And, that’s my prayer for us today, the same one Paul prayed for the Colossians:
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Philippians 1:9-14)
It’s easy to say these things but harder to live them, right?
How can we control our emotions and conduct ourselves “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”?
Whatever happens, here’s how to act:
Not to oversimplify the process of standing firm or fighting the good fight or whatever you want to call it, but I have found that there are a few things we should do no matter what we face. No matter what happens, here’s how we should ACT:
A is for ASK
A – Ask God for help. Whether you need wisdom or strength or rest…whatever you need, ask him for it!
C is for Confess
C – Confess to him (and sometimes to others) that you cannot do it alone. Confess your weakness, your bad attitude, your anger…whatever it is….be honest with your father and with yourself.
T is for Thank
T – Thank him….for everything. Truly. Even your trials because “you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2) “In everything, give thanks.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Thank the Lord for the fact that he is always working and for the fact he always provides. Thank him for who he is, even when you don’t understand what he’s doing.
I’d love to hear from you about how you manage to handle the trials that come your way. I need all the help I can get! Leave a comment and share your insight and wisdom and what the Lord has taught you along the way.
Also, be sure to link up for Encouraging Word Wednesday this week! Just add a link or two below and then visit one or two other bloggers and encourage them with a comment. Next week, I’ll start featuring some great guest bloggers so be sure to come by and read their encouraging words!