Does anyone else get annoyed at life’s little inconveniences? Really hot under the collar, totally frustrated kind of annoyed. I used to.
I remember a time years ago when a local pizza restaurant lost my order. After waiting 45 minutes with my family, I inquired as to when our food might be out. Since they couldn’t find the order, it all had to be made from scratch and it would be at least 20 minutes longer. No lie, I’m sure the smoke from my ears could be seen miles away. I very clearly remember telling the worker that, “I run my life with precision and I don’t appreciate ANYONE who messes with my perfectly crafted orchestration of time.”
Unfortunately, no, I’m not kidding.
Clearly not one of my finer moments. My life was WAY too cluttered with all types of obligations, leaving no wiggle room at all, and I made poor choices in how I handled this stress.
None of us likes to be inconvenienced or disappointed. No one likes their plans disrupted, but it’s life and it happens. What I’ve learned along the way, though, is that more often than not, something good ultimately comes from these situations. Sometimes the good is a gift, nothing that was in your control but perhaps just a kind gesture or token of apology for the mishap. Other times, the good is a choice and comes from your positive reaction to a trying situation.
Good is a Gift
Here are a few examples the will help clarify what I mean by this:
I was overcharged for an item at a local grocery store. I didn’t catch it until after the transaction was completed, so much to my displeasure, I had to wait on line at the customer service counter for my $3 to be refunded. Hey, $3 is $3, so I waited…with a smile. Along with my reimbursement, I received a $5 gift card for my trouble. Cha-Ching!
We were having problems with the service from our ministry website host. The first time the site went down I was patient. The second time I was annoyed. When it was down for the third time in a week I was really upset…but I calmly and pleasantly conversed with the service rep. The host gave us three extra months of service for free to make up for the mess. In this economy, every little bit of financial help counts. Cha-Ching!
My niece was taking swim lessons this summer and really (REALLY) looked forward to them. After getting all suited up and driving to the pool, she was grossly disappointed to find out lessons had been cancelled for the day. The half hour class was rescheduled for the following Saturday, which luckily worked out for my niece’s schedule. Doesn’t seem it was quite as convenient for the rest of the class; no one else showed up. My niece ended up with a private lesson that the teacher extended to a full hour and she was thrilled. Cha-Ching!
Good is a Choice
You have the choice to always ensure that good can come from every situation. The reward isn’t always found in a gift of restitution but the inner joy we gain. Let me explain.
While on vacation a couple of years back, I found some greeting cards that I fell in love with. Heading up to the counter, I observed an exasperated sales clerk desperately trying to ring up a refund for a customer. The clerk was obviously new and had been left alone. I simply wanted to buy a pack of greeting cards but it was a small boutique type shop with one register and no back up, so I waited…and waited. Lindon was waiting outside for me and I was anxious to get going. After waiting 20 minutes my patience nearly gave way, but I hung in there. When it was finally my turn, the frazzled clerk extended a heartfelt apology with very sad eyes and just melted me. I gave her a short pep talk and let her know I understood the position she was in and appreciated her efforts. She looked like she was going to cry. If I could have reached over the counter to hug her I would have. That moment has stayed with me since, and the joy I received from such a frustrating situation continues to amaze me. It serves as a benchmark for the decisions I make every time I’m confronted with a similar situation. Cha-Ching!
Have you ever considered that God uses circumstances such as these as opportunities to bless us?
It’s not always easy to hold our tongues, overcome impatience or graciously handle inconveniences but the good that can come as a gift or as a choice will far outweigh the momentary displeasure you experience. The next time you’re faced with a trying situation that lands squarely on your last nerve, step back, take a deep breath and regroup. You have nothing more important to lose than what you will gain!
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