Like everyone else seven days before Christmas I am stressed out. I realize Christmas is about Jesus Christ’s birth. I am also aware people have tough things going on. Things more colossal than a messy house, gifts in every size except the one I need and the fact that no one else seems to hear the dog barking to go out for the millionth time today, except me. I have so much to be thankful for and I know it in my head, yet sadly instead of being a happy, I am a crazy Asian Grinch lady.
One of the things I pray for regularly besides humility and for God to rid me of my sarcasm, is that I would be nicer. I’m not innately “nice.” I talk too much, I’m easily annoyed and I’ve completely lost my verbal filter. I get mad easily and I’m generally pretty self-centered on any given day. Add shopping, cookies and wrapping gifts and forget it. Don’t even get me started on the “noise, noise, noise” (aka, Christmas music (except Michael Buble)).
So why isn’t God answering my prayers to be one of those nice, gentle women? I think it is because He isn’t in the business of fairy dust, nose wiggling or answering prayer requests with a pill. In fact, several weeks ago God did answer my prayer by showing me two opportunities to be more kind, but I didn’t really like my choices: 1) be a nicer driver and 2) be nice to my dog.
If you read my blog regularly you know about my road rage. I name-call, tailgate and habitually speed (even when I’m not running late). Then there’s my dog. It isn’t that I don’t like my dog, but I’m not a “dog-person” and his brain is so small. He needs things at the most inconvenient times and I often verbalize my disdain for him (usually by calling him names. Seems to be a juvenile pattern of mine).
So leading up to Christmas I am going to take God up on the opportunities He has given me (though it will be hard and I don’t like my options). Unfortunately, I can pray and ask God to change me all day long, but real change must start with me really changing. I am going to pray for the oblivious people driving slowly in the fast lane (instead of giving them a new, funny to me, nickname). I am going avoid calling my dog stupid, annoying or pea-brain. I don’t know if or how this will help, but it’s something.
The Bible says out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. I am learning over and over again real change usually happens slowly and intentionally, which is unfortunate for a girl who drives in the fast lane pretty mindlessly, most days. But the Bible also says that I am being conformed into Christ’s image. A great reminder why Christ’s coming was and is such a gift. Merry Christmas.