“When life gives you lemonade, make lemons and life will be like “WHAAAT?” -Phil Dunphy
Any other Modern Family fans out there??
There are lots of lemonade days. . .and then there are lots of lemon days. I think I have the special gift of making lemon days extra sour too due to my shining personality (code for grumpy pants).
On Monday I had a self inflicted lemon day. Yay.
I spent all day at the cardiologist. . .I mean from 7:40am to walking to my car at 2:00pm. I am so thankful for congenital heart care and the extra precaution taken with my heart and a growing babe. It wasn’t the long doctor appointment that was lemony; it was sitting at the doctor’s thinking about how other people just seem to have it made.
Oh yeah, I went there. And I quickly spiraled out of the skies of rational praiseworthy thoughts into the abyss of why can’t things go my way.
I am ashamed to admit it. But more ashamed to tell you how often it really happens.
Here’s a quick run through of the spiral: bummed to not have a house; super bummed houses are so expensive; super bummed and sad our finances cannot permit me to have a lighter work schedule (ie freedom from cubical kingdom forever); super bummed and super sad that several of my other girlfriends are in places and stations in life that I want to be in. And once the comparing started I was face first in the mud of my abyss.
Then I received word that another friend (whom I had already compared myself to) just got great news-she was potentially moving into a gorgeous inexpensive place with lots of space (not to mention she fit several of my grumpy categories above).
That’s when I slipped from my super bummed and super sad pity party into the dark dank pit of bitterness.
It smells bad there. And it makes me cry.
So on the way home I fought the bitterness and grumblings of my need-it-now give-me-what-I-want tantrum-throwing heart. I knew that demanding from God was not the best route to take, but also felt extreme feelings of resentment.
It took awhile. I mean all evening and buying a $7 chicken at King Soops before I was even a bit more pleasant. . .and I wouldn’t call it pleasant.
The next day I opened to Matthew and blitzed through my reading plan. Jesus did this; Jesus did that. Ok, time for more cereal. But at the end of reading Matthew 20 no matter how bad I wanted to close that book and continue to let the roots of bitterness choke out every blessing God has given, the Holy Spirit said, “Wait!”
And there it was. Humbling, eye opening, grace giving, who-am-I truth. Praise the Lord.
Matthew 20:1-16 is a tough parable (especially for Americans like me). It’s a story about a landowner who goes out to find people to work in his field. He finds people, says he’ll pay them a denarius and they agree to work for the day. Throughout the day the landowner goes out to find more laborers. He even brings men in at the last hour. When the whistle blew, the workers lined up from those who were just hired to those who labored all day. The landowner gave those who worked an hour a denarius (and those pulling the 12 hour shift are thinking, “We’re in the money!”). As the landowner moved to each group of workers, he gave them all the same amount, even those who worked the entire day.
They were thrilled.
Yeah right. The sweaty workers grumbled against the landowner and said, “These men were hired last worked only one hour and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of work and the heat of the day!”
Oh yeah-that’s me. “That’s not FAIR!!!!” And suddenly I saw myself in the doctor’s office grumbling against God for giving to others when I wanted more.
The landowner replied, “Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I give you. Don’t I have the right to do what i want with my own money?
or are you envious because I am generous.”
“Shot through the heart! And I’m to blame!” Yeah, that song might have been coursing through my brain in that moment.
Am I so envious of God’s generosity that I cannot rejoice when he blesses his children? Does my hardened heart really fail to celebrate when God gives good things to others?
The short and sad answer is Yes.