Whatever Happens, Here's What You Should Do
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." Philippians 1:27a (NIV)
I felt completely justified to blow it.
Look up inconvenienced, worried, nervous, annoyed and rushed in the dictionary and that's where you would have found me a few weeks ago. So when one more issue got added to my day, I lost it. And the worst part was I thought I'd earned the right to let off steam.
It started with my husband asking for a favor. He had bought two trucks for his company and needed me to drive across town with him and drive one of them back. Since we live in a large metropolitan area, that meant a one-hour drive each way.
However, the only available window of time that afternoon was sandwiched between four different things I had to do. In two and a half hours we had one son getting out of high school (who had to go with us) and another one needing to be picked up from college (which is also across town), our youngest daughter having to be picked up after that (which is near home), then the high schooler had a practice.
Since I live this crazy chauffeur-life every day, it was up to me to schedule this cross-town trip and get everyone—and two trucks—picked up on time.
Of course everything takes longer than you think it will. Not only were we initially running late, but then the man with the trucks was late. This meant I was going to be late getting everyone picked up. Watching the clock, I felt the passing minutes squeeze like a vice grip.
Realizing there was no way I could do it all, I changed plans and sent the high school boy to pick up the college boy and then head back and get himself to practice. I would wait for the truck and then get our daughter.
Now, this may have your head spinning, but it sounded easy in my mind.
However, those two teenage boys got very confused with the change of plans. They weren't sure what they were supposed to do, despite what I thought were pretty simple instructions.
Thirty minutes later they called me frustrated and annoyed. Unfortunately, I was also frustrated and annoyed trying to drive a HUGE diesel truck across town. With a right side mirror that I couldn't adjust. On a busy freeway. In the middle of rush hour traffic. Realizing I would be late picking up my daughter.
College son: "Mom! What is going on?!? Why is Robbie picking me up and not you? Are we supposed to go get some trucks? Robbie doesn't know what's going on!!" the college boy snapped.
And in that moment, the stress of the afternoon had built, and I let it explode, feeling very justified.
Me: "Seriously? Seriously?!? You are frustrated? Well, let me tell you about being frustrated! ... (I'm sure you can imagine the rest).
I hung up the phone angry.
And then I remembered a verse I'd read that morning. Right there on the freeway, God made Philippians 1:27 very relevant:
Whatever happens ... (like an errand taking longer, rush hour, annoyed teenagers, a side mirror that doesn't work, three kids to usher around town)
Conduct yourself ... (You mean, control myself God? Keep things in perspective?)
In a manner worthy ... (in such a way that shows who I really am, what I believe, what I value ...)
of the gospel of Christ (and Whom I represent).
Before I had a chance to call my son, he called me. I rushed to apologize. So did he. Thanks to God's Word in my heart leading me to ask for forgiveness, we ended our disagreement on the side that is worthy of the Word and the God Whom we serve, rather than the angry resentful side.
Philippians 1:27. What a powerful Scripture this has been to me. Just thinking "whatever happens" keeps me in check. Because the interesting thing about that word "whatever" is it means "whatever."
I'm not sure what you're facing right now ... whatever pressures, deadlines, carpools, boss, spouse or bills surround you. But I do know we each have a choice how we will respond. So take a deep breath and remember to walk in a manner worthy of Whom you represent.
Heavenly Father, thank You for your patience towards me when I blow it. Your grace and kindness make me want to show that to others. Help me remember that I represent You in all I do and say. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Under what circumstances are you most likely to react badly?
What can you do to prepare for those moments so your reaction represents the Gospel of Christ?
Ephesians 4:1-2, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (NIV)