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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Living Content In a Vexatious World

SITTING in a café, annoyed by the chatter of two older men who are speaking a language I don’t understand and using loud mannerisms, and I realise afresh:
“The problem is in you.”
SITTING in a café, annoyed by the interaction of one of the staff and her boyfriend, and I gain another perspective:
“The problem is in you.”
SITTING in a café, reflecting over two interactions at home earlier in the day, where my lack of patience and tolerance came to bear, and I see it again:
“The problem is in you.”
I am a sinner so in need of God, but my Lord is helping me, even as I sit in this café, “Steve, the problem is in you… but so, too, is my grace… my grace is sufficient for you; my power is made perfect in your present weakness.”
As I take a look at these three situations, circumstances in my observation that grate at my pride that I cannot attune my environment perfectly, I recognise there is also something more to see.
The two older men are free to exchange their fondness for life with each other. They are uninhibited by others and they are breaking no law. They are enjoying life, in the midst of what could otherwise be anything other than happy.
The lady making the coffee seems a little loud, but she is enjoying her work, and the interaction with her boyfriend is not abusive to anyone.
My earlier interactions with my wife and my son lacked the love I’m otherwise known for. (We are all known, hopefully, as lovers of our families.) I missed an eternal moment and failed to reconcile what boiled within me.
I failed in all these circumstances to understand, the problem is in me.
There is, in most if not all these times, awareness that I am being tested. The test is of my flesh. The test is, can I comprehend, in the moment, that the problem is in me and not the other person or situation.
Can I surrender to the peaceable flow of the Spirit of God’s grace in me?
“The problem is in you — sin. Yet, so is the solution — God’s grace.”
The contented life lives knowing there are vexations all about. Grace helps.
Living contented in chaos is possible simply through knowing the problem is in us.
When we are moved to annoyance and anger because of what others do, we miss the opportunity to love them.
We miss the opportunity to love people when we fail to recognise our problems exist within us and not them.
Seeing the problem is in me and not others helps me see others are not the problem.
Accepting others is the way to contented living. Grace helps.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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