Yesterday I conducted a little experiment. It was not exactly scientific but more of a behavioral experiment – namely mine.
I woke up and looked outside my bedroom windows. It had all of the makings of a beautiful day – sunlight, slight breeze, pine cones, birds all around, and my favorite tree. There is just something about this tree! As I struggled to alertness – I am not a morning person AT ALL – the thought came to me of having a picnic. In full disclosure, a writer’s mind, at least this writer’s mind, is always imagining, fantasizing, or creating something. Yesterday it started with me imagining that I was sitting under that tree having a picnic with Jesus. I even wondered if when He spoke to me if it would be in the King James Version. I wondered what he would say, what I would say, and what on earth I would prepare for us to eat thinking that peanut butter and jelly might not suffice. I decided to scrap the picnic idea, as I just could not get past the details of what to serve. I had another idea.
I invited God to spend the whole day with me. I did not want to be selfish, as I knew He had a lot of us that needed Him forgetting that He can be everywhere all at once. Needless to say, I had a very special guest with whom to spend my day just doing my normal everyday things.
We had errands to run. Post Office. Nail Salon. Pharmacy. Wal-Mart. We went on our way. I felt inclined to move my purse out of the passenger seat so God would have a place to sit. As I started driving, I had the radio on and could not get past the “noise.” I was being rude. I had invited God to spend my day with me yet I had the radio on and could not “hear” Him. I really did not have much to say and said as much when inaudibly but certainly not my voice said “My child, why do you think you must entertain me? You can just be quiet and spend time with me knowing that I am God.” I began to think of all the times that I got so entangled in the details of life that I could not just “be,” and as a result missed out on the moment. I, for one, have had my mind so busy thinking of my problems, my mental to do list, or even re-playing conversations in my head while driving, that I arrived at my destination having missed everything between point A and point B wondering how on Earth I had arrived safely.
Now for the nail salon… Yep, I took God there too! My nails were already “in progress” when they seated a lady right beside me. She seemed rather perfect. I studied her. Ladies, come on. We all do this! She had perfect long brown hair that appeared effortless for her. Her make-up seemed to be applied by her own personal make-up artist. Not overdone, not too simple, but exactly right. She even made plain black flip-flops look stunning with her dress and sweater. Immediately, I did not like her! She was snooty. I could imagine what she must be thinking about me, as she appeared to be giving me the once over. I was dressed nice as well but in comparison, I felt less than. It was as though I could hear her criticisms of me. Suddenly, here came that inaudible, but certainly not my, voice again. It was not in King James lingo either! “Really, how dare you think you can hear her thoughts? Only I can do that! She is a nice person. I love her TOO! Meaning yes, I love you also just as you are.” Hmmm. I felt like I was back in kindergarten getting my hand slapped with a ruler. Yes, that really happened! The truth was I had no idea what this lady was thinking. She leaned over and said to me that she thought I was wearing the most beautiful ring. We began to engage in conversation.
Here are the truths:
- I am sure that both her hair and make-up had been done professionally as she was getting ready for her daughter’s wedding.
- My ring reminded her of her mother-in-law’s.
- She was an insurance agent and wanted to suggest that I make sure to have it properly insured. She expressed that she knew that no amount of money could replace the sentimental attachment I had with this very special ring.
- My nail salon visit was quite pleasant.
- She was indeed a very nice person.
- She probably did not look this put together on a normal day and even if she did, it did not take away from who I am.
- Lastly, if had not had my hand slapped, my attitude adjusted and my perspective changed, I would have missed out on conversation that I could understand.
Here is the non-truth:
- She was tearing me apart in her mind as I had imagined.
Seriously, I was behaving like a jerk. It was okay though, right? No one could hear me. Wrong. Suddenly, I felt the sting of that ruler on my hand again. I needed to get right with me, and most especially God, and quit worrying about the thoughts I imagined other people must have about me when in all reality, I am most likely no where on their radar. How self-absorbed can one person be?
Before leaving the salon, I thought of the person that had done such a fantastic job. Yes, I always tip them but today, I thought of how she had sat at my feet and cared for them and how I honestly would not want that job. I thought about Matthew 25:40 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
I felt inclined to tip a little more generously.
The day isn’t over yet and it was rush hour traffic. I admit that I sometimes suffer from road rage potty mouth. I said a few choice words before realizing that I was in the presence of God. Oops! Sorry! Here is my hand Lord. I am due for another whack of the ruler. After all, I have no more of an idea that the guy driving that car was a _________________(you fill in the blank) than I did when I assumed the woman at the nail salon was snooty.
I had no idea that inviting God to spend the day with me would be one that He would use to instruct me in His ways.
At the pharmacy, it took longer than usual. They were having some issues. I waited patiently yet impatient. There was a mother with two children who were obviously on her last nerve. One had a runny nose. She was trying to figure out how to take both children to the restroom for a Kleenex when I offered her one from my purse. God smiled. Progress! Not perfection, but progress.
Those of you that know me well know what a love relationship that I have with Taco Bell. I stopped at the drive-thru on my way home. I started to eat without thanking God for my food, as I am sure you have guessed, that I “inaudibly” heard Him clear His throat “Umm Umm.” I turned to look at my imaginary passenger. “It may just be a drive-thru and you may be alone but you still need to be grateful. You need to be thankful for all of those people working there that are making so little.”
To conclude our trip home, I saw a beautiful sunset and had to stop to take a picture. I wanted to remember this day forever. I thanked Him for his fingers that colored the world so majestically.
What kind of person would I be if I were more intentional about spending my days aware of God’s everyday presence in my life? I am thinking that I might need to wear gloves for all of the ruler smacking of my hands! Today is already tomorrow and I have failed many times even before noon. This girl is going to cling to progress, not perfection.
Until Next Time,
*If you liked this blog and would like to see more, please like/follow me at Redwood Perspective on Facebook.