Deep breath. Deep breath. Deep breath.
I have 2 other blog ideas that I was debating between this morning. I have been stock piling them from personal experiences over the past week. I had foot surgery last week. My wonderful mom was here to drive me around, but when you have company things just seem to operate with a certain amount of chaos. Needless to say, sitting down alone to gather my thoughts and write didn’t happen. Big mistake. Now my brain is a flurry of ideas and emotions and quite frankly, anxious thoughts. This morning I was poised and ready to get things back in order and do some reading and writing. This was a perfect opportunity for God to steer me in a new direction. It was almost like hitting a tree, actually. Abrupt and out of no-where. Just as I was preparing to regain my serenity through quiet contemplation and meditation, He decides to help me learn it through real life circumstances. WhatEVER. Before I sat down I figured I would rinse the last few dishes and start the dishwasher. My faucet wouldn’t budge. So, naturally, I forced a solution by pulling on it as hard as possible. The faucet still didn’t budge, but the arm of it did, exploding into pieces. Did I mention I can’t drive anywhere? I just stood there for a while, trying to figure out what to do and mentally will it to heal itself. I was beside myself. Now what? ” So much for serenity!” I thought. It reminded me of the Seinfeld episode when Kramer adopts the recovery slogan, “Serenity Now”, as a mantra. When anything stressful arises he calmly repeats, “serenity now.” His friend, however, warns him that often it is more like “serenity now (insanity later)”. That’s how I felt. I just kept thinking, “First things first. Maintaining my serenity is the most important thing. I do this by staying connected to God. I will ask Him for help.” When I claim serenity, but don’t ask for God’s help in receiving it, it does indeed end in insanity. So I asked Him. I asked until it came. It all ended without cursing or throwing anything or crying. This is life on life’s terms. If I can’t learn to apply His peace when I break something and my plans don’t work out exactly how I envisioned them, then I won’t be able to apply it when I have more challenging problems.
After God gave me the idea to call my neighbor-friend for an essential “tool” (“I need WD40-STAT!”), he offered to run to the store to get me a new piece for the sink. Boy, that was a close one. I managed to not let this incident steal my serenity. I let God have it and He took care of me. I sat down to finally start my reading and low-and-behold, God spoke to me again. Here are just a few snippets from a reading for November 16th in Oswald Chamber’s, “My Utmost for His Highest” (now how did God and Oswald, who wrote in 1935, know I would be on the verge of losing my serenity over a malfunctioning sink on this very day, approximately 80 years later?): “It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us…It takes the Almighty God Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty to the glory of God. It takes God’s Spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His that we are utterly unnoticeable. The test in the life of a saint is not success, but faithfulness in human life as it actually is.” I have been “through the crisis grandly.” God and I kicked Leukemia in the butt with a large amount of serenity. But somehow my serenity can slip with provocation from the “cares of this world.” The broken sink, the stupid driver, the long lines at the grocery store, or when they forget to put DE-CAF coffee in my latte. That’s where the real challenge comes in glorifying God. To be utterly unnoticeable because I didn’t throw a fit. I guess one could argue that I didn’t let my victory with maintaining my serenity go unnoticed since I did promptly share with you all. But trust, me I have enough other “serenity slips” in my repertoire that I can still speak from a place of identification.
I long to glorify God by handling life’s big, visible crisis with faith and courage and a positive attitude. I like to be an encouragement to others who also might be going through some big stuff and need a word of empathy and a charge to keep the faith. But what if it’s just me, my faucet and an empty house? Oh, and God? Do I let Him rule in my heart then? When no one will ever know if I had a two-yr-old tantrum? Not to say that we have to stay poised to present ourselves before God. It’s really about how we want to feel and act. God won’t judge or frown on us if we lose our cool, but on the other hand, He did send His son to die for me and allow His spirit to live in me so that I could have access to His power and “let the peace of God richly dwell within me.” He wants us to experience His peace and calmness of spirit regardless of our circumstances. Maybe your sink broke too. Maybe you had to replace a toilet, a car, a lawnmover or a window. Maybe you are dealing with cancer, a cold, a divorce, an addiction, a job loss, a death, a bad grade, a wayard child, a mean friend, the loss of a good friend, or an angry boss. Maybe you are just having a crummy day, week, or year. But maybe, you could try it for yourself: Ask Him for “Serenity Now.“