With every passing minute, my neck muscles tightened and my blood pressure climbed. Everyone else was enjoying themselves, but I was becoming increasingly more impatient and irritable. The bad odor wafting in the air? That would be my stinky attitude.
The day started with great promise. I wasn’t expecting much – a relaxing beach day with my family. Was that too much to ask?
The problem was everyone else had the same idea! Traffic was horrendous, parking a nightmare, and the beach was crammed with people jockeying to make my space their space.
“Maybe spreading out my chairs and stuff would create some breathing room?”
Didn’t work. People traipsed over my stuff tossing sand in my food leaving my snacks with a crunchy, grainy texture.
“Ugh. Don’t people respect personal space anymore?!”
My family wasn’t bothered by the inconvenience. Nope. They were having a grand time smiling, surfing and splashing in the waves while I was forgotten, left to fume and fight for a sliver of space on a beach becoming more congested by the minute.
To make my experience even more uncomfortable, a bird conveniently dropped a big blob of poop on me!
You don’t have to say it. I know what you’re thinking, “Poor…little…me.” Ahem.
As I sat there huffing, complaining, grumbling to the brink of almost-ready-to-cry frustration, I decided reading a book might help.
The book I grabbed just happened to be on evangelism.
Oh, the irony.
Like a pressure valve releasing steam, immediately the presence of God began to diffuse my irritability while also convicting my heart.
My contingency for enjoying the day had been all about my happiness, my space, my time, my convenience.
Friends, allow me to share a little secret with you –
a me-centered life will lead to misery.
A full life is experienced when we extend our life to others, not shrink into solitude.
When my eyes focus outward and my heart opens to be used by God, I’m able to see the world through a completely different lens – one that places a premium on people, seeing them not as bothersome, but with the care and compassion of Jesus.
When Jesus encountered people, He saw an invitation to make an impact, not an inconvenience to his schedule.
Jesus didn’t withdraw from crowds; He drew near to them.
Crowds of people didn’t frustrate Jesus; He emanated compassion – a deep sympathy for their brokenness and compelling desire to alleviate their suffering.
With compassion, your me-centered day becomes others-oriented, full of potential with hope that God would use you to enfold his hurting children with the love of Jesus.
That day, God broke my heart afresh for his hurting children. He reminded me of people’s great worth and the price He paid for them.
Investing my life there will make for a really great day.