Dealing with Daily Frustrations
"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." Luke 8:15 (NIV 1984)
I was talking with a customer service agent from an online company I have enjoyed doing business with for years. I called thinking she could help me with a return. But when I explained I needed to return this certain item, things started to head south with our conversation.
She informed me that my item wasn't on the returnable list. It was on the final sale list. I had no clue there was a returnable list and a final sale list. It wasn't posted online or stated in their catalog.
I logically stated my case and felt syre she would see things my way. But she didn't. No matter what I said or explained, she wouldn't budge.
I knew the lady on the other end of the phone was just following procedure, but it made no sense. It wasn't right and I was frustrated!
And my tone of voice made it clear just how frustrated I was.
Later that same day, I was in line at the grocery store behind a man who wanted to use an expired coupon. The check out gal calmly stated she couldn't honor his coupon. Well, he didn't like that one bit. And he made sure everyone around them knew how much he didn't like this situation.
I stood back appalled at his actions.
Until ... I started thinking about the fact that I'd acted almost the same way with the customer service agent who refused what I wanted. The conviction wove its way through my heart and made me feel so badly for the way I'd reacted toward that woman.
After my call, she probably moved on to the next frustrated customer. And then the next. And then the next. Suddenly, I felt so sorry for her.
I decided it wasn't her desire to not be able to help me. She was truly just following the orders of the higher-ups at her company. I imagined her packing up her things at the end of another long day and heading home. A home where she had to face her own daily aggravations and frustrations.
That's when it hit me. While on the phone, I never pictured her as a person really. To me, she was just a voice on the other end of the phone that was causing me extreme frustration.
How might my reaction have been different if I'd stopped to think about her as a woman just like me? What might it be like to be her, to live her life, and to have to go to her job every day?
I decided God was trying to get my attention to be more aware of my reactions. More aware of handling daily frustrations in a way that reflects a heart that loves the Lord. In today's key verse, Luke 8:15, Jesus reminds us, "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." (NIV 1984)
I want Jesus' message to fall on a heart that is humble and fertile enough to:
Receive God's Word ...
Retain God's instruction, and ...
Reflect God's character in both my action and reactions.
When I stop to think about this I am challenged. Whether I am talking with a customer service representative I don't know or interacting with those I do everyday life with, I want to work towards being a woman who displays godly character. Just like Luke 8:15 encourages, whether I'm having a frustrating conversation or a friendly one, may God's messages of truth have such an impact on me that my heart and my mouth remain noble and good.
Dear Lord, it's easy to honor You with my carefully thought through actions but, sometimes much harder with my reactions. Even when I'm caught off guard, may Your love and patience be the spillover from my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
This week as you interact with many people, how can you prepare your heart for reactions that honor God?
Use this formula for studying God's word this week:
Receive God's Word ... write out the verses you want to focus on.
Retain God's instruction ... memorize and internalize the truths you've been studying.
Reflect God's character ... in both action and reactions. Focus on practicing the truths you've been learning.
Psalm 37:30-31, "The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip." (NIV 1984)
1 Corinthians 13:1, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." (NIV 1984)