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My Own Sour Lemons

When I began writing these thoughts a large stone from a gravel truck we passed on the highway nearly shot clean through our windshield.  It startled both my husband and I because it sounded as if a gun had gone off inside the cab. 

After our initial shock, and easily seeing what had happened (craters like that are hard to miss), my husband sighed. “Great.  Another thing to fix.”

Strangely enough I’d been thinking that same thing recently, but it wasn’t about a windshield.  It was about me.  I always seem to need “fixing”.  

I know.  The world says, “Be your authentic self and you’ll be fine”, but the Bible compares our best deeds to filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  You may be thinking, “Pattie!  You’re being too harsh!” But am I?  

There’s a profound truth that’s being missed these days.  We are not perfect!  Not nearly.  We’re human beings with deceitful hearts that the Bible also says are “desperately wicked”. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

Need proof outside the Bible?  Here it is:  You never have to teach a toddler to do a naughty thing.  That all comes naturally.  Fighting with siblings, selfishness with toys, slapping other kids, yelling -- that’s inside every one of us from the get-go.  The good stuff, like being nice to your brother, kind to others and learning to share -- that all needs to be taught. And it doesn’t end with childhood.  I need to remind myself, almost on a daily basis, to have patience with others.

“Take a breath” or “take a pill” are phrases I’ve had thrown in my direction on more than one occasion.  And rightly so.  Patience is the fruit of the Spirit I compare to a lemon.  Sometimes it tastes so sour it causes my face to crinkle with the expression said to often sit on the faces of women my age.  (Yes, that “resting” one!) 

Let’s just say, it doesn’t take much for me to lose my lemon.

In the past, when I prayed for patience, an escalation in situations requiring that blasted fruit seemed to land at my door.  So, I stopped praying for it.  Alas, it remains an issue for me.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been shaking my head much more often lately, just from the idiocy happening in the world around us.  In fact, some days it surprises me that I haven’t suffered a self-induced concussion.  So, what’s the answer to this agony?  Should I sign more petitions in an attempt to stop politically wrong agendas?  Should I argue with people when I know their opinion is unlikely to change just because of what I have to say?  Should I allow my blood pressure to elevate every time I see certain government officials on TV?  I think not.

When Jesus walked this earth there was stupidity going on too, but He didn’t get hung up on any of that.  Instead, he talked, walked and did exactly what He taught his disciples, and US, to do.  His mission was to show love and compassion to those around Him, and to mirror Who God is, because He was (and IS) God.  He didn’t waste time getting hot and bothered about things He couldn’t change.  Of course, He did overturn the tables when people were clearly disrespecting the temple.  There is a time and place for standing up for what we know and believe to be right and true.  But as much as I wish I could pretend all of my impatience and anger is of the righteous variety, I know that most of it is not.  It’s simply me and my own sour lemons.

Maybe you don’t have a struggle with blowing as hot and cold as I, or feeling your blood pressure rise so quickly that your head threatens to blow off.  That’s less of an issue for others in my family, and many of my friends, as well.  I’m a bit envious of those people.  Oh my!  More to fix.  Apologies.  What I meant to say is — good for them!

For those of you who can relate to me (even on some smaller level), these verses are especially for … me, actually.  But also … for your viewing pleasure:

Psalms 37: (NASB1995) “7a. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him … 8a. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret … 9b. But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” 

Romans 12:12 (NASB1995) - “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Galatians 6:9 (NASB1995) - “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

James 1:3 (NASB1995) - “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Keep striving!  Keep praying!  Thankfully, God knows what we’re each made of and He will help us overcome the things we struggle with so we can accomplish much for Him! 


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Pattie Janzen

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