Categories
Christian Living encouragement

Life Parade

I live in a small farming town in Southwest Oklahoma. There are 800 souls, one convenience store and a corner cafe. We have a few other businesses, including a new Dollar General (woo-hoo!), but you get the picture.

One of the biggest events in our town is the annual Christmas parade. There are custom made floats, tractors, antique cars and plenty of horses.

But lots of folks on horse back means plops on the parade route. (If you know what I mean.) And no matter how great the festivities, it’s hard to ignore the manure trailing down the middle of main street. This line of “used oats” is often in the camera shot of our local TV news coverage, much to our mayor’s chagrin.

But—like with most things—the good outweighs the bad. The Christmas parade provides a splendid opportunity for our whole community to come together. In the big picture, who minds a little manure?


Job was a guy in the Bible who had a lot more good in his life than bad. Until he didn’t. You know the story. He lost almost everything overnight: his livestock and crops, even his children. GONE. All he had left was his life, a pessimistic wife and a few ‘friends’ who came to cross examine him.

Yet what did Job say when he learned of his losses? “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21b -NIV) And what did he tell his wife when she told him he should, “Curse God and die?” He replied, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10 NIV)

As the old saying goes, “Into every life some plops must drop.” Okay, maybe I changed that up a little.🥸 Yet in this matter, many Christians today aren’t interested in learning the patience and wisdom of Job. We like our roses without thorns, thank you. But what if the best way to get there is to turn those thorns INTO roses?

One of my favorite “thorns to roses” moments in the Bible occurs in Jeremiah 29. God sends a letter (via Jeremiah) to the exiled Israelites living in Babylon. In a nutshell, He says: “I sent you to Babylon, but I want you to prosper there. Build houses, and plant gardens. Marry and have sons and daughters.”

In other words, make the good outweigh the bad. Here’s my favorite part:

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7 NIV)”

So, brave reader, whatever our “parade” is—yours and mine—we’d best pray to the Lord for it. Because if it prospers, so will we. And when there’s more good than bad, nobody minds a little manure.

But watch your step if you cross Main street.


Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Categories
anger Christian Living

Let the Boo-Boo Breathe

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” — (Proverbs 14:29)

As a teacher at an elementary school, I’ve heard young children say some pretty profound things. I was out on the playground one day with the kids, when a little guy came up to me to show me his fancy band-aid. It was a big purple one that covered half his little forehead. He pointed to it and said, “My mommy says this is a magic band-aid. It let’s the boo-boo breathe.”

Let the boo-boo breathe

Not long after my conversation with the enlightened kindergartener, I was called to my principal’s office for a meeting with an upset parent. Before the mother arrived, I asked my boss how I should respond.

I’ll always be grateful for her advice. She told me that the less I said the better. “Most caregivers just want to be heard,” my principal said. “They need to know that you care about their child.”

So I listened. It was hard when the mother made unfounded accusations–based on false information from her child–but I held my peace until it was my turn to speak. Calmly, I said, “Maam, we each want the same thing; we both want what is best for your child.”

Instantly, the icy wall between us melted. The mother began, with tears in her eyes, to tell of her struggles as a single parent. Like my principal said, an overwhelmed caregiver just wanted to be heard. She needed to know that someone understood.

I wish I could say this is how I’ve always approached interpersonal conflict. The reality is, many times in my life I’ve lost perspective and overreacted in frustration or anger. This has usually only made things worse.

Here are a few ways I let the “boo-boo breathe,” to give myself a buffer zone before acting:

  • Do No More for 24 – When you’re super angry, whatever you say or do is unlikely to help the situation. Give yourself 24 hours (or more) to cool off, and then calmly state your grievances (if necessary) with the other party.
  • Just Don’t It – When you aren’t sure how to react to a situation, do this: NOTHING. Like the old song by the Beatles says, 🎶”There will be an answer. Let it be.”🎶 Okay, this one is almost the same as Do No More for 24, but not quite. Maybe it’s not necessary for you to DO anything.
  • Talk With a Trustworthy Friend – Sometimes it can be helpful to take the decision out of your own hands. Share your dilemma with a trusted friend–someone who is not so close to the situation–and let them help you decide.

Finally, here are a few of my favorite “Magic Band-aid” scriptures to let the boo-boo breathe. I’d love to hear some of yours. Or maybe you have a story about how a relational time-out saved the day. Please share!


“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” — (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

“The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hot headed and yet feels secure.” — (Proverbs 14:16)

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.” — (Psalm 37:8)

A parting thought:

The power of a particular emotion doesn’t necessarily determine it’s value.

Regular David (me)

Photo by Luca Severin on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Living Perspective

Counterbalance

Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash

One of my favorite toys on the playground as a kid was the seesaw. Two children, about the same weight, could have endless fun going up and down, up and down. That is until one of the more agile boys perfected a naughty trick: bailing off the seat when it was near the ground. The other kid came crashing down of course, and it was quite a blow to the “bohonkus.” Thus the allure. Once some other mischievous boys caught on (I was one of them), nobody wanted to teeter-totter anymore.

Frankly, I’m a bit bored by the wall-to-wall, “2020 has been such a strange year!” posts. Duh! Tell me something I don’t know, and, while you’re at it, could you please make it part of a compelling story?🙃

Seriously though, it does feel like something bailed off the seat of this calendar year, causing all of us to drop like rocks, and it’s worth talking about.

Searching for biblical applications also sounds like a good idea. My “bohonkus” hurts!

“We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.” 2 Corintians 4:8-9 (GNT)

There must have been seesaws in the first century AD, because Paul absolutely nails how it feels after a free fall. It’s a blow to one’s pride and overall sense of well being after a sudden physical impact.

In other words, this &!#$ pandemic!

Remember those little egg-shaped toys that came out in the 70’s called Weebles? They were weighted at the bottom in such a way that gravity always made them stand back up–no matter how hard you flinked them.

“Weebles” by unloveablesteve is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.”

Here’s the physics teacher explanation: “Tipping an egg-shaped weeble causes a weight located at the bottom center to be lifted off the ground. Once released, gravity brings the weeble back into an upright position. Essentially, there is only one way in which a weeble can achieve mechanical equilibrium.” Source, Wikipedia.

Mechanical equilibrium. I’d like some more of that, please.

“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm. Though he stumbles, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24 (NIV)

Thank God, all of His children are “weighted” in such a way that, though we may wobble, we don’t fall down!

God’s “gravity” works in the spiritual realm, as well as the physical. Just like He said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Gen. 1:3), the light of Christ shines in our hearts and keeps standing us upright (2 Corinthians 4:6).

There’s just one caveat: we can’t take credit for any of it.

“Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (GNT)

Weebles may not fall down, but they aren’t indestructible. I’m an eyewitness to the fact that they can be crushed by the family station wagon.😳

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing”

Jesus — John 6:63 (NIV)

One hundred years from now we’ll all be dead, and the surreal events of 2020 reduced to a footnote. Sure, there will still be Chambers on the Road, but the rest of us will be but fading blips on the blogosphere.

Only the eternal is REALLY real.


“For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (GNT)

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash