Ungrateful

So are you supposed to ask a valet for change if you don’t have the right bills in your wallet to tip him?

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I’ve had so many visits to my dentist lately I feel like they should be paying me.  But at least the office is in a lovely tall medical building overlooking the Intracoastal waterway, yachts and swaying palm trees.  And there is a valet for my car.  Which is also lovely, except when you don’t have the right bills in your wallet to tip appropriately.

Such was the case yesterday morning.

So I struggled with the quandary:  Do I ask for change, or give them what I had? Giving them what I had was way more than I would usually fork over for a 30 minute dental visit, but it wasn’t going to put me in the poor house to part with it. So I decided that I would brighten their probably-boring Monday morning with a very generous tip.  I actually started to get kind of excited about bestowing this unexpected blessing onto one of the young men in the blue polo shirts.  I saw one grab my key off the rack, sprint up around the corner and soon enough there he was with my car.  I folded up the bill and with a smile, tucked it into his hand, feeling all happy with myself.  Another lady getting into the car in front of me gave him something as well.  And then I watched to see if he’d look at what I had given him.

Nope.  He wadded up both tips without even glancing at them and tossed them into a white bucket at the valet station.

Hey wait a minute!  Didn’t he know I had given him an unexpected gift?  Didn’t he realize that I was waiting to see his surprised expression and grateful look in my direction?

He didn’t know.  He didn’t realize.  Or he just assumed it was one of those $1.00 tips he usually gets for parking the cars of patients.

As I drove away, slightly miffed, God suddenly reminded me that there have been times I’ve done the same thing to Him.  There have been times when He has blessed me far beyond what I deserved at the time.  He’s given me gifts that He was probably waiting for me to notice, to smile about, to see that I’d been taken care of in a completely unexpected way.  And I just bet that there have been plenty of times I took the blessing, wadded it up in my hand and tossed it aside without a second glance.  Because I didn’t know.  I didn’t realize. Or maybe worse yet – I didn’t expect it.

Am I like the valet guy?  Have I stopped expecting that today will bring a blessing, that today God might place something in my hand that is above and beyond the ordinary?  Do I appear…ungrateful?

May I start looking for the completely unexpected and merciful generosity of a Father who may simply want to see me smile when I open my hand and see what He has placed there.  Just for me.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above… James 1:17

The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that He has made.  Psalm 145:9
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:16
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.  Psalm 100:4

 

 

 

 

6/300

Six years.  Three hundred posts.  This blog of mine hit two milestones this week.  And it’s made me kind of reflective.

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Back in February, 2010, I had this crazy idea of starting a blog.  Of course, I struggled with the idea of putting my thoughts out there for the world to see.  It felt arrogant. It felt like getting onto some ego-based bandwagon.  If felt like “notice me!”.   I was never comfortable with anything that smacked of “notice me!”.

But God was stirring.  He was answering my “what next?” question.  I had written a book about waiting on God.  But what came next?  I always joked that I wouldn’t write a second book unless it was the sequel to the first one.  The first book was about waiting on God for the desire of my heart.  The second one would be all about how He provided it.  How He provided “him”.

I’m still waiting for that sequel, but I took the plunge and entered the weird world of “blogging”.  I had two requirements for myself and for what I would write. First, any post I wrote had to have the goal of inspiring faith.  I went through an exercise years ago to pinpoint what my life mission was.  After whittling it down, I figured out my life mission was to…inspire faith.  Whether that was through people watching my life, talking to others or writing, I needed to know that whatever I did, it glorified God and inspired people to have faith in Him and His Word and His plans for them.  And then second, any post I wrote needed to be based on scripture.  I can write about pretty much anything, but at the end, if the “lesson learned in the waiting” isn’t a lesson that comes from God Himself, then it isn’t worth writing about.  It would simply be feel-good, self-help stuff.

I didn’t know what to expect.  I didn’t know it would turn into six years and three hundred posts.  Three hundred of those “lessons learned in the waiting”.   I went back to see if I documented the beginning of this journey in my journal from 2010.  Of course I did. I told you all about my “journal shelf” a few months ago.  I wrote, “Lord, this isn’t about me.  It’s about You.  It’s about inspiring faith in YOU.”  I was reading a book about prayer and journaling at the time.  A quote from the book said that journaling is “writing down the adventure as it happens.  It gives us a feel for our place in the story God is weaving in our lives.  It helps us become aware of the journey.”

And that pretty much sums up the blog as well.  I think it has been a journal of my journey, out there for the world (or at least a few of you) to read.  When I read back through some of these 300 posts, I do see that.  I see the story God is weaving in my life.  And hopefully, that story inspires others.

I still don’t want anyone to “notice me!”.  But if you notice how God is working in my life through the lessons He teaches me, then it’s okay.  If what I write can inspire faith and point people to God’s Word, then it’s okay.  Actually it’s more than just okay.

It’s pretty great.  I think God writes amazing stories.  And if I can be a small part of showing them to others, then I have done what I set out to do.

Happy Anniversary, Anticipatience.

 

Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.  Colossians 4:17 (NLT)

I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.  Leviticus 3:10

…nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine…  1 Timothy 4:6

Days

Is it just me, or did January drag on forever?

Was the first day of the new year really just one month ago?  I turned the page on my calendar yesterday to February and breathed a sigh of relief.  Then, of course, being the thinker that I am, I tried to figure out why.  Why did that first month of the year seem so long, when really, it has the same number of days that many other months do?

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It was busy, for sure.  I came home after the holidays, had a car crisis (a stuck throttle body, which meant my car would go no faster than 18mph), started a new semester at work, wrote an article pitch for a magazine that was accepted and then had to fast-track the writing to meet the deadline for publication, had a friend visit from out of town, dealt with a new family of elephants (or so it sounds) that moved into the apartment above mine, worked through some other frustration where I tried to stand up for myself and it didn’t go so well, a friend asked me my thoughts on a subject we disagree on theologically and my answer turned out to be 5 pages long – typed, and to finish up the month, I found out I have a fractured tooth that has to come out…which will cost me something in the amount of a number with more than two zeroes after it.

No wonder I’m exhausted.  And relieved to have January, 2016 tucked safely behind the calendar picture for February, which would be a nice short little month except for the fact that this is the year we add an extra day.  Sigh.

But maybe days and months and years are God’s way of giving us compartmentalized sections of time where we can frame periods of His goodness and His faithfulness, in spite of the wackiness, the drama, the struggles, the financial challenges.  January’s thirty one days seemed soooo looooong.  But every one of those loooong  31 days had a part in His plan for me.

God got me to the car repair place safely, even though I could only drive 18 miles per hour all the way there on one of the busiest streets in the area. This may make me think twice before rolling my eyes at people driving with their flashers on. The magazine article opportunity was an amazing blessing, an answer to my prayers for direction with my writing. The visit from a friend was a chance to talk about life and love and God. I learned that sometimes, even as a Christian, it’s okay to stand up for yourself and fight for what you think is right, though things may not turn out the way you want them to. The response I gave to my friend about our theological differences gave me the opportunity to dig deep into scripture, testing what I said I believed and reminding me that I can still love someone I disagree with. And the expensive dental drama is yet another opportunity to see how God provides.

January was a little crazy, but that month is now a block of time where the faithfulness of God is preserved and documented. Maybe it just seemed so long because God decided to pack it with so many opportunities for me to seek Him and to see Him in it.

OK, February.  Let’s see what happens next.

 

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:2

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9