I’m stuck in traffic. I know this will make me late. Hmmm. If I’m late to this activity, I may not get to work out today. Hmmm. . . grumble. . . grumble. Yes, I believe I even snarled to myself and contemplated ramming the cement median with my car to let off some steam. One of the only beneficial ways I have found to deal with my emotions is working out—partly why I chose that as a profession when it was instructing fitness classes or considering becoming an interpreter for the government (That would have required me to cut ties with my international friends, so that was quickly nixed). Before I did anything rash or took my internal snarling to the outside passers-by, God reminded me of our Mentoring Moms’ theme verse.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
Unfortunately, recalling the verse alone was not working like a magic emotional tranquilizer dart. I didn’t realize it at the moment, but the Holy Spirit was prompting me to be self-controlled with the direction of my thoughts. He was prompting me to be self-controlled with my frustration. As I tried to think about all the things that make the United States comfortable, all I could think about was that I could be somewhere else at that moment, trekking in some remote village or strolling down a cobblestone, statue-lined street. However, even the thought that I might be carrying a heavy load for many miles and exposed to the elements seemed preferable to staring at the unmoving taillights in front of me amidst dingy construction traffic.
The Holy Spirit did give me another option: prayer. Turn on praise music, pray for my family or my church, even ask God for help. Nope. I wasn’t having it. I could feel my sinfulness rising up in me moving me further away from God, not closer to Him.
So how did God rescue me? It wasn’t by my own self-control. God reminded me later that day through another person’s kindness, generosity, and compassion that my perception of who He was hadn’t changed who He actually is. He was still the same loving God — caring for me, helping me see things in a new light, placing gratitude back in my heart. He used another person, not even a Christ-follower, to remind me of His unchanging love and goodness.
Each person has the ability to suck energy when she turns her own (or other’s) eyes off the goodness of God and magnifies her own struggles. Likewise, one can reflect the life-giving Spirit of God and, in that, bring great encouragement to another. May the Holy Spirit continue to work in us so that we can be self-controlled with our emotions — blameless and like rays of sunshine in this dark, traffic-filled world.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world. Philippians 2:12-15
About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.