How do you react when bad things happen to you? When life doesn’t go as planned, it’s easy to get upset and frustrated. But what would happen if we reacted differently?
Recently, I was running late. My family would read that sentence and say, “So, what else is new?” But on this day it mattered to me to be on time. I had been at an appointment almost 3 hours from home and I needed to pick up my kids from school. It was important that I got there on time because I had to take Brittany directly to work after school. Stopping to get lunch, I knew that I had exactly 15 minutes to eat before I had to be on the road. I went to my favorite place – Panera Bread. Excitedly I walked into the store and took my place in the long line of people. After patiently waiting my turn, I quickly placed my order. As luck would have it, the iced coffee that I ordered was empty; so, I nicely informed one of the employees. But brewing the coffee takes time and, of course, he got delayed because the iced tea machine started brewing all over the counter and floor. I won’t bore you with all the other delays that I endured during my “quick” lunch stop, but they resulted in me leaving 15 minutes later than I had originally planned.
I am quite proud to say that I wasn’t upset or frustrated when I left. My dad would say this is a fault of mine – that I don’t care enough about punctuality. But, on this rare occasion, I really did care; I just didn’t let myself get worked up. Recently, I have been trying to internalize the message from the quote by Charles Swindoll.
“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
As I left the restaurant and started my trip home, I knew that I would be cutting it close to get there on time. I focused on maintaining a positive attitude, though, so that I didn’t ruin the entire drive. Interestingly enough, a short time later traffic slowed and eventually stopped due to a traffic accident. As I watched the police cars arrive, it became apparent that the wreck had recently happened. I realized that if I had left on time, I may have been involved in that accident. I have no way of knowing, of course, but it is possible that God allowed that coffee carafe to be empty, the tea to spill over and all the other events that seemed “bad” at the time in order to prevent me from being in that wreck. As I passed the scene of the accident, I prayed for those involved and thanked God for delaying me from leaving on time.
If we believe that God is in control of everything, then how can we class events as “bad?” Maybe we need to stop assigning value judgments to life events and start living intentionally, with good attitudes, no matter what comes our way. It may just change our lives!
Do you have a similar story? Please share below, I would be thrilled to hear from you!