Unexpected Delays

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 “We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall.”  Proverbs 16:33
It is a day of delays.  I’m struggling with things not going according to plan.  I find it humorous, because my prayer for this weekend is to not take offense.  No matter what anyone does, I don’t want to take offense.  I just want to love well.
Unfortunately, I’m offended.  I’m offended at United Airlines because our 6:15 a.m. flight was and is delayed until 12:07 p.m.  It has completely derailed our plans for today.
Our plan for today was to spend it in San Antonio.  We were going to explore the Alamo.  We were going to stroll along the infamous San Antonio Riverfront.  Shopping, eating, drinking, relaxing in each other’s company.
United Airlines, however, had different plans.  God willing, we will still enjoy the riverfront this evening for dinner.  I’m grateful no matter where we are we can relax in each other’s company.  The Alamo might have to wait until Sunday.  In all fairness, we did receive a text at 10:00 p.m. last night the flight was delayed.  The problem was we rolled out of bed at 4:00 this morning, jumped in the shower and were heading out the door before we received it.  Gratefully, we weren’t at the airport.  However we were wide awake with no place to go too.
I’m offended at the airline.  I knew when I began praying about not taking offense to anything, I would start being offended.  It’s like praying for patience.  I tell people, don’t pray for patience.  If you do, God will give you lots of reasons to PRACTICE patience.
Yet, really, aren’t we always offended?  Don’t we get offended too easily?
I’m absolutely sure the lady who took forever paying for her groceries in front of me woke up thinking about offending me.  Because she did.  I could not believe how slow she was.  I was absolutely sure it was deliberate.  Yet she doesn’t even know me.
Or how about the young man I cut off the other day on I-64.  Do you think he was offended when I pulled in front of him without seeing him?  Does he think I deliberately tried to crash into him?  Of course not.  I just didn’t see him.  He may however have been offended, I don’t know.
The point is, when we get offended, we’re making it about us.  We aren’t thinking about the other person or what is going on with them.  We’re just thinking about our inconvenience.
United Airlines isn’t trying to offend me.  They are trying to take care of me by making sure the plane we travel on is safe.  The woman in line in front of me wasn’t trying to offend me, she was buying her groceries.  Doing absolutely nothing wrong.  And me, I definitely wasn’t trying to offend the young man I pulled in front of Wednesday.  I didn’t even see him.  I’m just grateful he had quick reflexes and maneuvered around me without issue.
Praying to not take offense isn’t like praying for patience.  Praying to not take offense is simply taking the focus off of you and praying for the other person (or company).  I am a firm believer no one ever intends to cause you pain.  They really don’t mean to offend you.
I have begun to realize, when we feel offended it’s a good time for self examination.  Whatever offends us is probably what we need help with in our lives.  For instance, United delaying our flight is helping me identify my control issues.  It’s helping me remember we make our plans but God guides our path.  The lady in front of me at the grocery store reminded me I don’t have to rush.  I can actually enjoy the moment.  That beautiful young man in the jeep reminded me to be flexible.
Whenever I feel offended, I know I have some soul searching to do.  I have some learning to do.  God is shining His light on an area of my life I haven’t turned over to Him.  He wants all of us, not just the parts we’re willing to give up.  He wants the parts we don’t even know we have to give up.
Maybe, getting offended isn’t the worst thing in the world.  The key is searching our hearts for why we’re offended.  Then, we begin to meet God in the work He’s trying to do in us.
I don’t want to take offense, I just want to love well.  In order to love well, I have to examine my offenses so I can deal with heart issues, which in the end, will help me love well.
It’s a lot of work.  It’s worth it.  It always, always draws me closer to God.  There is nothing better than feeling His approval as you let Him in a little bit more.
Inch by inch life is a cinch.  Yard by yard life is hard.  I learned that phrase from my roommate when I was a flight attendant.  One of the wisest things I’ve ever heard.
Life is easy when we take it inch by inch.  When we try to take it yard by yard it gets out of control.  Unexpected delays in life are opportunities to do a little soul searching.  They give us a chance to realize, it’s not really about me.  It’s not about us.  It’s just life.  Life isn’t meant to be controlled, it’s meant to be lived.
Here’s to living today.  Fully and completely!

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