Monday, January 14, 2008
Slow To Anger
This morning I’m having to beat back my flesh with a stick - a big stick. Let me explain why. Over the course of several months, we’ve had some issues here at the house with our new computer. Something corrupted had somehow got on the system seemingly immediately upon its arrival. This caused problems now and then when you would perform the simple task of moving or renaming a file or folder. Often that file would then somehow become corrupt and simply disappear forever. This of course became quite frustrating and my wife had had enough after our Christmas pictures from visits with both of our families went off into computer oblivion, never to return. Speaking of my wife, out of the two of us she is by far the more computer savvy one. With that being said, she proceeded to spend hours this weekend talking to tech support people, backing up files and reinstalling every needed program and driver. I’m happy to report it was a success and everything seems to be in fine working order as I sit here this morning.
“So where does your flesh come in then?” you might be wondering. Well, moments ago I went to retrieve a new 1500 word article that I’d been writing in order to do some proofreading and get it wrapped up. I opened the folder where I knew it would be and guess what I saw? A window that was normally chock full of all of my writings and ideas from 2007 was almost completely empty. As my eyes began to frantically dart around the screen looking for what was obviously not there, my heart began to pick up its pace. “Where are they?” I was thinking as I could do no more than just stare at the screen. I aimlessly clicked around like that would somehow help, but of course they didn’t magically appear. As I called for my wife to inquire about the files, she assured me that she had copied them over and it looked like, for reasons unknown, that the majority of the files didn’t make the journey. All but 10 files of my writings from the entire year of 2007 had been lost. (sigh)
I got up from the chair as she checked some backup discs. I walked to the kitchen, made a pot of coffee and stared out the window for a moment assessing the situation. My first thoughts were focused on finding any possible way to retrieve the writings. I thought that a good many of them ended up as blogs so I could simply go online and reenter them from there and then, “Oh no!”. I flashed back to that 1500 word article I mentioned I was looking for – the one I had spent hours researching and writing. The one that, in my own mind, I had deemed possibly the best article I had ever written. This is when the struggle really arrived. This may seems ridiculous to many of you – you may assume that I should just simply write it again. Let me assure you, it’s not like that at all. Not for me anyway. I knew that the simple fact was that it was (and is) gone. No amount of effort or searching will bring it back, so where do I go from here?
What I chose to do is this. I literally took some deep breaths and talked to my Lord. I then began to ask myself some questions. “What’s more important? My writing or my wife?” (She was quite distraught as well because she felt responsible.) “Is my venting worth sacrificing the peace that resides in our home? Why should I focus on the few documents that were lost instead of praising God for saving 99% of our data?” I chose to get up, go to my wife and assure her that it was not her fault and that my frustration was not with her or anything she had done. I quietly sat down and began to copy old blogs over to our computer and now I sit here writing this.
This my friend, for me, is maturity. This is victory! Am I patting myself on the back? Maybe I am... a little. Listen, I know me – I know the “old man me” that would have lost it, said hurtful things to my wife and thrown James 1:19 out the window! All for what? A few moments of fruitless ranting? Nothing I could do can bring that writing back so what’s the point? My flesh has got to die. I must embrace the Spirit and allow Him to guide me in perfect peace and love. I must choose to live by the Spirit so that I will not gratify the lusts of this nasty old flesh. We’ve got to instance by instance assess what is driving us. When that guy beside me blares his horn and gives me the finger (Thursday night), what are my thoughts? Do I imagine myself turning around and speeding after him in retaliation or do I bless Him in the name of Jesus? When your coworker talks about you behind your back and you want to stand your ground and let him know his place, what do you do? Friends, we must exercise self-control and live lives rooted in love. We have reason to forgive, for we have been forgiven. We have reason to be patient, for we have been shown patience. We have reason to love, no matter what the circumstance, for, through Christ, we have been shown boundless love!