Thursday, October 18, 2007

Who Wants to be First? I do! I do!

Last Friday I made a trip to Wal-Mart to return some curtains that were not the right size. I was pointed to the Customer Service desk and I was on my way to what I thought would be a five minute transaction. When I reached the desk, I realized it was going to take a bit longer than I had anticipated. I was about 5th or 6th in line. Okay. No big deal. I’m not in a hurry today anyway.

A few moments later, a guy walked up and got in line behind me. He joined the line with a “humph” and a big sigh. The line did not move. A moment later, another guy got in line behind the other. Immediately conversation picked up. It was hard not to “eavesdrop” when they were purposely being loud enough to be heard.

“This line is always like this.”
“They always put the slowest people behind the counter.”
“You’d think they’d hire some more people.”
“Why are they taking so long?”

These comments are not verbatim but you get the point. Now here’s a question. What if one of these two guys was at the front of the line? What if he was the one taking so long to be assisted? Would he be upset about the long line? Not at all. Would it bother him that other people were having to wait on him? I don’t think so, at least not judging by his comments.

The Bible frequently mentions comments about those who want to be first. It also says that these will be last and the last will be first (see Matt. 19:30, 20:16, Mk 10:31, Lk 13:30). Why is it that we always want to be first? I think it is a matter of pride. Deep down (if not out rightly), we honestly think the world revolves around us. Though I was patient in this particular instance, it was easy for me to be. As I said earlier, I was not in a hurry. Hannah was content in her stroller. Not to mention, God graced me with patience that day. My biggest struggle with patience is when I’m driving. I get furious when people cut me off, fly past me like I’m going 50 (when I’m not), ride my bumper, fail to use their turn signals, speed through red lights, etc. I could excuse my behavior by saying, “I just want to be safe and these people are endangering that safety.” While that may be partially true, the bigger problem is my heart. I want people to drive my way and not put me at a risk or think they are better than I am. Wow.

What about you? Where do you struggle with impatience and pride? Is it in lines where you want to be in front? Is it with your children who wanted to draw you a masterpiece on your living room wall? Is it with your spouse who does not understand that you been dealing with a screaming child all day? Is it with the slow waitress who may be having to deal with a difficult table and thereby not focusing on yours?

The next time you catch yourself being impatient, I challenge you to stop and evaluate the cause. Don’t evaluate the who or what is “making” you that way but the why are you reacting in such a way. I think you may be surprised at how often we get in the way of ourselves.

Grace to you,

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Hello Tara! It's good to see you all doing so well!

I must admit I struggle in this area. Not with being first or when driving, it's much worse. It's with my children. I get very impatient when I'm telling them for the up-tenth time not to do something (or to do something). Or when they are being really loud and silly. Or when they give me an get the picture.

I'm constantly praying that God controls my tongue and my attitude. I have found something that helps, though (besides prayer, of course). I get up in the morning early. By getting up earlier then they do, I can greet them one by one and not be bombarded with all 4 of them at once. This has really, really helped me.

BTW, #5 is 10 weeks or so away! I try not to say, or think, this too much, but I'm ready!

Blessing today!