Now Playing: Hood - "The Negatives" [Domino]
Topic: the Christian walk
every other morning when i step out the door, i see an elderly man walking to or from the corner store on my way to work. his movement is limited and he takes amazingly small steps - baby steps. what would take a healthy and fit human being about five minutes probably takes him at least twenty. every time i see him, he greets me with a smile and a hearty "good morning." almost every time we see each other, he says, "one step at a time." i never see him at any other time of the day...only in the a.m. i don't believe in accidents: GOD placed that man in my path for a reason. his perspective is simple yet profound, and one that i seriously need to immerse my mind and spirit within in order to make it through the work day.
Holy Week seemed like anything but for me. to be frank, i've felt like less than a child of GOD for most of the Lenten season. i've let life just sort of walk all over me. i think it has a lot to do with the new job. the old one was a cake walk compared to this one. the number of obscenities that have crossed my lips has increased considerably since i've started. tuesday was horrible. issues piled up quickly, one after the other. seemed like every order that had a problem with it was one of mine. i felt like i was sinking rapidly and no one around me cared if i drowned. i left my cubicle and went down to the fitness room because i felt the need to punch something and i didn't want it to be my computer screen or a co-worker. but there were no punching bags around and my hands wouldn't ball up into fists. looking back on it, i think it was God's way of saying, "why ball up your fists when you could throw up your hands in surrender to the one who sustains you? turn away from violence and turn toward Me."
although the week got better, i still had a terrible attitude toward work. actually, it's one of conflicting emotions. i was jaded, sarcastic, bitter, classic customer service rep. but i'm not the type of person that gets to the point of not caring. i may say it, but i never completely get there. i'll occasionally get numb for a while, but i'm not programmed to just stop caring. while the team i work with is helpful, there are other people outside of the office that we depend on to get things done and quite often they blow it. BIG TIME. i've never done well with incompetence, especially in the workplace and particularly if it makes me look bad. so i mutter four-letter words to myself and envision violent interstate confrontations with whoever's on the other end of the phone line. and whenever the co-workers are too loud, too obnoxious, too offensive, too much, i retreat further into myself, never saying too much because they're already saying what doesn't need to be said. the courteous me is being eaten away and the sad sack takes residence, who just can't believe that this is their lot in life. i had made up in my mind that this was going to be the very thing that broke me. i was telling myself that i needed to do everything in my power to make sure that my future children never have to suffer this fate, that they will be able to actually like what they do for a living and don't have to spend 20 years of their life paying off student loans in order to get there.
while i won't say that i hate myself, i've lived with myself long enough to know that there are some horrible things in me: selfishness, anger, resentment, thoughts that dance with the predatory and perverse... it's bad enough when you don't know God for yourself and you possess all of these qualities, but it's even worse when you know that the fruit of God's spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, longsuffering, self-control, and that it's your job to bear this fruit in your own life, yet the opposite keeps rising to the surface. the idea that i'm allowed to wake up every morning even when the Lord is aware that i'm likely to blow it is difficult for me to fathom. that's what's called unconditional love. i hope i can love people like that someday.
there is a man named Brian Nichols that recently went on a killing spree. he found himself holding a church member hostage in her own home. she was able to calm him down by reading a paragraph from a book called The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church. he stopped her in the middle of reading and asked her to read it again, which she did. he would later surrender to the police. supposedly, that church member has regular talks with him. she saw beyond the killer into a heart of a man whom she shared some similar issues with. she spoke to his pain simply by treating him like a human being at the time that he needed it most. i read through that book two years ago while i was going through a rough time in my life. i recently started reading it again. negativity never has a problem showing up where it's not wanted; i need to be able to counteract it with something positive and saturate myself. otherwise, i end up getting swallowed whole by chaos and disorder. God is not the author of confusion; God is a God of purpose. nothing that i go through is by happenstance, nor is it just for me. sometimes you need to be reminded that life is a test.
i recently got through a two-day session of prayer and fasting this past weekend. i believe that God spoke to me quite clearly in regards to keeping the flesh subject to the spirit. i have a wonderful wife who also happens to be a wonderful cook, so i never have problems saying yes to my stomach. still, i figured if Jesus could go for forty days in the desert without food while being tempted by the devil, i should be able to fast for at least two. but i know i didn't get through it on my own. God had to show me that He could work through my weaknesses and make me strong. there are still many problem areas, however, that need serious work.
"one step at a time."
seeing as how God is a God of purpose, i've been eager to learn what mine is. whatever it is, it'll be revealed in His time. God's timetable is totally different from mine, and i've never been a patient person. maybe that's why i keep seeing the man on the street before work.
"one step at a time."
his attitude resembles that unshakable faith, that patience and peace that surpasses human understanding. the phrase may sound simple, but at the end of the day, it's the basic instructions that always trip me up.