I’m busy. I have things to do. I like to get things done and get them done quickly. I don’t like to waste time. I know what I need to accomplish in a day and I plan my time accordingly. So when things don’t go as “planned” or when there is an interruption, I can get testy. Just ask my kids. Ask my husband.
On my lunch break yesterday, I was interrupted. Yes, things didn’t go as planned. I had several errands to do including getting gas. I usually avoid getting gas at lunch time because it seems that everyone has the same idea and I end up circling the pumps waiting for one to open up. Yesterday was no exception, but I had no choice but to wait, my tank was empty.
I pulled into the station and every pump was full. I circled the pumps until I finally found one that was open. As I was pulling into the open space, a woman in a big truck began to pull into it too. When she saw me, she threw her hands up in the air in frustration. I immediately thought: “I was here first. I have been waiting. I’m in a hurry. How rude, throwing your hands up like that and all.”
But then, a gentle nudge from inside me interrupted my thoughts and said, “Stephanie, back out and give her that spot. You can wait. Just do it.” I obeyed, but not without complaining. I thought, fine, “but this is my good deed for the day (like there is a limit on good deeds…) ” So I backed my car out out and circled the station again. After finally getting a spot, I began pumping my gas and went inside to get a drink while still grumbling to myself about how now I would be late…
As I was leaving the store, a woman with a baby in her arms, stopped me and said, “Thank you for giving up that spot at the pump. My baby was hollering at me from the back seat and I was so frustrated. So, I just wanted to say thank you.”
I was stunned. Looking back on it, I don’t know why I was stunned. My morning prayers usually include asking God to show me others as He sees them; to show me who I need to talk to or who needs to see His love today. Although I pray that prayer, I often become too busy and forget to slow down and actually listen for His answer.
Tears come to my eyes still when I think about this – how God works through us, how He answers prayers. He knew that woman needed a break and He used me to show His love. As soon as I realized this, I felt shame that I would complain about being interrupted by God, about obeying His voice.
I know this may be a small thing, but I thank God for His gentle reminder that He is constantly at work and if we only stop and listen and obey, He will use us.
“Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live …”