Maintaining Perspective

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4

It stormed last night just as I was getting ready to leave for choir practice. If you’ve ever seen a Florida storm, you know it can seem almost apocalyptic. The wind blew sideways for just a few minutes as a crack of lightning sent fresh pine branches careening to the ground far below. This would be yet another one for my growing debris pile.

When I returned home, I was glad to see we hadn’t lost electricity, but I quickly noticed we had lost both Internet access and cable. The whole area had been affected, so service wouldn’t be restored anytime soon. I couldn’t do anything about that, but I could do something about my dogs’ crossed legs.

As I let my them outside, I moved the largest branches over to my mountain of debris (the highest point in Florida?) and checked for further damage. I could fill at least one large yard can with small branches, but no other large branches had fallen.

Next I began to focus on the scheduled water outage I knew was coming in the middle of the night. These things seldom go as planned. Schedules can become moot as unforeseen problems and broken pipes cause setbacks. I washed the dog bowls so they would be ready for the morning and filled a gallon jug with filtered water. After my shower, I filled the bathtub just in case. How I do like being able to flush toilets.

Seeing the yellow light still flashing on my wifi router, I switched my phone to LTE so I could check my email and peruse news sites. Before long, it was bedtime, so I went to sleep in my comfortable air-conditioned room under a ceiling fan. (Can you say “menopausal”? Sure you can.) By the time I awoke – safe and healthy in my comfortable, cool house – my utilities were back online.

The point is this: If I allow myself to get frustrated by minor inconveniences, that would make me a spoiled princess. In fact, I probably am one. This month people in the Southwestern United States experienced devastating tornadoes. Lives were lost, and homes were destroyed. In Nepal – where a friend was serving as a short-term missionary –  a magnitude-7.3 aftershock further wracked a country already in shambles. Meanwhile, in the Middle East and parts of Africa, jihadists are relentlessly persecuting and killing Christians.

Any of these people would give anything – if only they had anything to give – to live in a safe, comfortable home where the only things they had to worry about were some branches and some out-of-service utilities. Even if I had lost all my utilities or had had damage to my home, I could count myself blessed. This is true of many of you as well.

Remember that as you endure the minor aggravations of life. Try to view your “crises” through the lens of the genuine tragedies happening all over the world. Then be prepared to spend more time on your knees thanking God for His blessings as you intercede on behalf of those who are truly suffering.

Bonfire, anyone?

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