Thankful, or Thankful-Not

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” I wrote. “Pardon
the cliché, but truly. As I sit on the bed in my hotel room, situated practically
on TOP of the highway, and am listening to its noisy soundtrack, I am faced with
a dilemma: to be thankful (one plucked petal drops to the floor), or not to be
thankful. Pluck, drop.”
Perhaps the exhaust from below had crept into my room and
was polluting my airspace, but more than likely, I was standing at a precipice and
needed the fresh air of Heavenly perspective to dissipate the complaining
spirit threatening from within.   
Most people whose hotel room is filled with traffic noise so
loud it sounds like a window is open, would march straight back to the lobby, requesting
a room change. And rightly so. But after one of those one-thing-after-another travel
days rich with “growth opportunities”, I paused to reflect. Maybe the Lord is trying to teach me
something through this,
I sighed, noting a pattern. Besides, all that growing
was exhausting, and I frankly didn’t want to move.
I was receiving an adult-sized installment of the lesson I constantly
had to re-teach my kids, and I knew it: ”Do everything without grumbling or
arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without
fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV). I always
reminded my squawking, squabbling chicks that wasting time grumbling is
sabotage: the sourness infiltrates our home atmosphere like an unpleasant odor,
creating discord, and leaving us gasping for fresh air.
So there I sat, with a choice to make. Could I embrace the rush
of the hour as white noise, to help me concentrate and relax as I worked and
slept during my stay? Um, NO. It was not that kind of soothing sound; it was
the antithesis of serenity. Maybe I could stick it out for a night and politely
request a change in the morning. But I knew the hotel was already at maximum
capacity for the event I was attending.
Could I use my earplugs that I packed just in case, to tune
out the pandemonium outside, and settle in, thankful for a comfortable bed? Why
yes, that was a feasible option. And I was pleased with myself until I heard a chorus
of sirens and angry honks, which made me scowl. I’m human, after all.
I certainly could have taken the woes of my day out on some
unsuspecting hotel employee that evening. But the happy fact is (this time, anyway), in God’s strength, I
took a potential wrecking ball and unchained it, diffusing the problem. I chose
to land on “thankful”.
As it turned out, God redeemed the situation: my earplugs
worked like the Sandman–I hadn’t slept that well in months! And I was barely
in my room that entire weekend, but when I was, my magic plugs created a delicious
silence that any busy mom with perpetually ringing ears would relish! God has a
way of working things out for our good, doesn’t He? Just in time for us to recoil,
sheepishly regretting the time we wasted in negativity.
There is always
something to be grateful for. We simply must tune into the Holy Spirit in those
moments when we want to put on our Captain Complain-O hats, and hit reset,
allowing God to bathe us in His perspective. His perspective changes everything.
Come to the River…
“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: ‘How long will this
wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling
Israelites.’” Numbers 14:26-27 (NIV)
Recall a time when you morphed into Captain Complain-O in
response to irritating circumstances. What did your complaining accomplish? What
would have been a more life-giving reaction?

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