28 Nov Amazing grace
Since my younger years, I’ve set very high, sometimes unrealistic, expectations for myself. While this has motivated me and made me determined to excel, I’ve very often fallen short and been disappointed with myself, even when the bar was set too high to begin with. Over the years, especially since getting married and having two children, I’ve had to learn some hard lessons and have come to realise that some things in life are so unpredictable and cannot be controlled, no matter how much I try to keep them in a neat, patterned order.
The problem with expecting so much from myself though, is that I tend to expect the same from others and I find myself losing my patience and getting irritated far too quickly if things don’t work out the way I’d like them to. These moments of irritation, impatience and intolerance tend to occur more frequently when I’m tired or in a rush and too often, I take out my frustration on those I love the most.
Sometimes, these situations have had me going back to apologise when I’ve come to my senses and acknowledged that the situation was out of the hands of the poor person on the other side of the counter from me, or that I was the one pressing the wrong button on the check in kiosk but was convinced the lady helping me didn’t know what she was doing.
A chapter in Bill Hybels’ book simplify has really challenged me in this area. He makes some profound statements which have made me think carefully about the grace I show towards others. I’ve learnt that the condition of my heart is revealed by the way I react when my expectations are not met. I realise I need to try see the situation from the other side – the lady across the counter has been on the job for only a couple of days and is still learning, the store’s computer system is acting up and slowing down the speed at which the cashier can scan my groceries, the taxi driver in front of me is driving at 40 kilometres below the speed limit (in a 60 kilometre zone!) to find new passengers and fill his taxi for the last trip of the day to put food on the table for his small children that night.
The fact is that I have the control over how to react. I can chose to see the situation in its proper perspective. I can chose to not waste my emotion and energy on such small irritations. I can chose graciousness and kindness and love.
How could I not chose grace when so much grace has been given to me?