If you do not know me…let me start out with this: I often allow little things in life to stress me out. I have always been a…how do I say it…perfectionist…meaning that I love when things go smoothly, and I strongly dislike when things do not go smoothly. I can see how paying attention to detail and really wanting things to run well can be a good quality, but I also know how it can be a negative quality as well. When things do not go as planned, I allow the frustration to rob me of the joy that I have in Christ Jesus.
About a week ago, I had one of those days where all of the little things go wrong. I made scheduling mistakes, meal time errors, and managed to get one of my favorite white t-shirts completely filthy. To top the day off, a bottle of ketchup exploded on said white t-shirt.
It was a day where a lot of little things went wrong, and I allowed myself to become frustrated at each turn of events. I continually would become more and more agitated at people, and the fact that my day was going poorly. Looking back, I see how ridiculous I was for allowing myself to have a bad day because of scheduling errors and a dumb ketchup stain. Here I am, in the middle of Haiti – complaining that I’ve had a rough day.
While I was walking up to my room to change out of my shirt, I was looking down at the ketchup stain to figure out how I was going to clean it.
As I stared down at the stain, I looked right above it and recognized what my shirt said. “Shalom”
Here I was, focusing on the stupid, little things that were not important in the grand scheme of things, and allowing myself to be robbed of joy. As a Christian, we have the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ given to us.
Why do I choose to focus on the “ketchup” kind of days instead of resting in “shalom”?
I was immediately convicted at the way I allow myself to become distracted by the “ketchup moments” in life and neglect praising the Lord for His faithfulness.
I was convicted at how I often try to control the events in my life so that they turn out the way I want them too.
I was convicted at the way that I allow myself to become anxious in situations.
I know it’s a far stretch to learn things from ketchup and t-shirts – but I love moments like this. I love when the Lord uses the small moments to teach me monumental life lessons.
He has shown me that wherever I am…America, Australia, Haiti…etc. – I have the choice to become anxious/frustrated in each situation I encounter OR I have a choice to trust in the faithful & sovereign Lord I serve.
This was a day of clarity. Clarity as to why the Lord brought me to Haiti to show me that I am the same here that I am back home. I have the choice to become frustrated and anxious when the situation presents itself.
I choose NOT to live in anxiety or stress. I choose to trust in the goodness of the Lord.
My sister-in-law, Jessie, told me about a book called “Calm My Anxious Heart”, and I started reading it a few days ago (a couple of days after this ketchup incident).
This is just some of the good stuff on ONE page.
- “Never allow yourself to complain about anything – not even the weather.
- Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else
- Never compare your lot with another’s
- Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
- Never dwell on tomorrow – remember that is God’s, not ours.”
- True contentment is separate from our circumstances. Contentment is a state of the heart, not a state of affairs…We become more content when we spend time in God’s Word and allow it to seep into our lives, transforming us to be like Him.
I am beyond thankful for the time that I have had here, and what God has shown me about Himself, myself, and His redemptive plan for us as His people, and this earth as His. What a faithful God I serve.
**Side note: The ketchup stain came out of my shirt! 🙂 They have special soap in Haiti, apparently.