The Heat

by Rhonda, July 02, 2023

I am recovering from a hysterectomy, which is probably TMI, but we're best friends so I figured you should know.  The fun part is the hot flashes that follow the surgery.  What's even more fun is when the A/C breaks on your car, in the hottest months of summer, and you're also having hot flashes.   I literally think I'm going to catch on fire every time I drive around town.

But I digress.

There's been a few other challenges this week.  Insurance has over-billed me.  Cellphone carriers are not giving me the deal they've advertised  (I knew it was too good to be true).  The A/C broke in the car.  The other vehicle we own is in the shop.   

Did I mention I'm having hot flashes?  The interesting thing about them is you're not just hot, you're also incredibly angry.  I thought I was going to take a baseball bat to my printer earlier this week, just like in the movie Office Space.  Then I realized I was just having a hot flash.

But I digress again.

With my wild mood (and temperature) swings, I can't fully discern if I am overreacting to normal life events.  It is challenging to keep everything in proper perspective.  But even without the broken A/C, hot flashes, and uncooperative printers, life is hard.  It is hard for everyone.  Something always goes wrong and in this broken world, I don't know why I continue to be surprised when things are, well, broken.

But, as I struggle to keep my calm with my cellphone carrier, I am reminded of one thing.  Jesus is with us always, everywhere.  I cannot imagine the annoying things that must have popped up everywhere He went.  People followed Him, disciples argued, and Pharisees plotted His death. Yet, He was never deterred from His mission; to do the will of His father.  His focus was on loving others, and His message of love changed the world.  

I wonder how my focus can be the same.  Even if I do feel like I'm going to catch on fire if we have one more hot day this summer.  This has been on my mind lately, and likely the Holy Spirit is prodding me to get back on the right track.  I know I'm too easily offended.  I know I'm getting upset over small things that don't matter.  I know I shouldn't take a baseball bat to the printer.  

When I consider all that Jesus dealt with, are things within my life really so bad?  For that matter, are they even that important?  Should all of my peace be wrapped up in things of this world?  That's a sure way to live a disappointed life.

Peace is an odd thing, isn't it?  It is given to us by God, yet it is something we have to continually fight to maintain.  

Last week, after my temper flared over the unimportant, a bigger problem surfaced.  It was time for my son's annual MRI.  He's a two-time cancer survivor at age 18, and his annual scans are highly stressful.  While my concerns over the cellphone bill and the printer faded in the midst of something more serious, the mental fatigue from dealing with those issues remained.  

I was battling for calm while sitting in the doctor's office, waiting to hear if his cancer had re-appeared.  I couldn't help but be angry over sitting in the office alone, without a spouse to lean on.  In fact, I was angry over everything.  The doctor was late.  Traffic was difficult.  You name it, I had a complaint about it.

Soon, the doctor appeared and assured us that everything looked good.  There was no new cancer, and my son has healed well from his last surgery.  All of the news was positive, and we were so relieved. My kids and I smiled and hugged each other.  Yet, even after that amazing news, my peace didn't return.  As I drove home, I was still troubled.  My mind was moving onto the next problems awaiting me at home, not even taking the time to thank God for the blessings He'd just bestowed on my family.  

Isn't interesting that even with a change in the most serious of circumstances, peace does not reappear?  I guess that's the problem with our peace being dependent upon things of this world.  There's always something to worry about, something to be upset about.  

Do I really want to be the bitter, angry, hot-flashing lady who everyone steers clear from at the family gatherings?

Not particularly.  Quirky, yes.  Bitter and angry, no.

I want to be like the leper who returned to thank Jesus for what He'd done for him (Luke 19), not like the other nine who went on with their lives without returning to say thanks.  I want to be the one who is different.  I want to keep my eyes on Christ.  I want to be grateful for the miracle, not distracted by something insignificant.  

Jesus was too important to allow small, insignificant battles to trip Him up.  And, so are we.  These distractions in our lives do not need to cause any further disruption.  Through the grace of Christ, we get to enjoy the fruits of our hard labor.  Why would we ever choose to worry them away?  That's the true tragedy of allowing ourselves to become easily offended and angered, not the actual offense.

Let us be peaceful.  

Not everything has to go our way.  Not everyone has to agree with us, and its okay if they don't.  We can't require that in order to have peace.  

All we need is Jesus.

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