On Sunday we discovered water in our basement. Plenty of water. The hot water boiler had given up. 53 gallons water slowly but steadily had leaked out of that old metal thing. So by Sunday night we had no more warm water. Funny enough, I was scheduled for an intercessory prayer time at our local prayer house that night. I stood in my kitchen and knew I had to make a decision. Two adults and two kids without warm water isn’t much fun. But it’s not the end of the world. It’s uncomfortable and inconvenient especially with winter temperatures outside. But I could still boil water in the kettle.
The moment we found out about the leakage I was praying for Josie, a little girl that is fighting for her life and needs a miracle. Honestly, that quickly put things in the right order on the inside of me. What’s a little “playing pioneer times” compared to so much suffering and tragedy? Nothing!
On Monday we spoke to our landlord and he wasn’t sure if we’d had a replacement by Wednesday. Which would mean warm water by Thursday since the boiler heats the water overnight. I called a friend to ask if I could swing by for a shower on Tuesday. Then other stuff happened on Monday and I lost focus for a little while. Just a little bickering here and a little grumbling there.
Soon I realised it wasn’t enough to make that decision to stay content and thankful just once. Sometimes that’s sufficient for a whole day. Monday wasn’t one of those days. I had to consciously get my thought life back on track. You know, if you’re going somewhere and you’re off course by just one degree, after one foot, you’ll miss your target by 0.2 inches. This sounds rather trivial, doesn’t it? But what about as you keep going? I love this illustration by Antone Roundy:
- After 100 yards, you’ll be off by 5.2 feet. Not huge, but noticeable.
- After a mile, you’ll be off by 92.2 feet. One degree is starting to make a difference.
- After traveling from San Francisco to L.A., you’ll be off by 6 miles.
- If you were trying to get from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., you’d end up on the other side of Baltimore, 42.6 miles away.
- Traveling around the globe from Washington, DC, you’d miss by 435 miles and end up in Boston.
- In a rocket going to the moon, you’d be 4,169 miles off (nearly twice the diameter of the moon).
- Going to the sun, you’d miss by over 1.6 million miles (nearly twice the diameter of the sun).
- Traveling to the nearest star, you’d be off course by over 441 billion miles (120 times the distance from the earth to Pluto, or 4,745 times the distance from Earth to the sun).
You see: Over time, a mere one-degree error in course makes a huge difference!
Attitude Check, please!
It’s the same with your thought life! Your thoughts determine everything – nothing new. But connected to your thoughts is your attitude. And as I overheard my kids who started to grumble and fight I sat us all down for an attitude check.
“It is your attitude, more than your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.”Zig Ziglar
In our house we do our best to stay thankful at all times and find reasons and things to be grateful for in the course of each day. On that particular Monday I knew my increasing grumpiness was setting the tone and everyone was starting to chime in. Not good.
The Sunday night prayer meeting had been so powerful. Once more I had experienced what it means that the joy of the Lord is our strength. I’ve known this scripture since my childhood but it never became tangible and alive until a few weeks ago. Living in this divine joy is a choice to begin with. Do I choose gratitude or do I choose to complain and see the negative? Do I agree with the bible no matter what my circumstances look like or am I lead by feelings?
I paused. Selah! I repented. I prayed. Poured out my heart to God, my Father. And I determined that I would take Isaiah 40:31 and grab it and hold on to it tight. I want altitude. I want to soar!
Some time later the door bell rang. It was our landlord but it could have just as well been an angel. He told us that he managed to find a replacement boiler that would be delivered Tuesday morning and installed during the day. I just wanted to hug that man!
By Tuesday night we started to have warm water again, enough for a first shower.
Leaving Complaining Street
You see, this little story about warm water is a marginal blip in our everyday routine compared to so much tragedy and loss and just horrible things happening in our world. However, everyone of us experiences minor stuff like that and if we don’t pay attention, it adds up! And it leads to deviation from our target. What is our target? To become more Christ-like. To be the light and salt and to love on those around us. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s kind of hard to be friendly and long-suffering and kind when I live on Complaining Street.
I want to challenge you today: Clean house! Check your thought life and toss out all the yucky old rags of toxic thinking. I love how Dr. Caroline Leaf describes it in her blog:
Choosing to be grateful instead of thinking the worst in any given situation helps us see our circumstances differently and gives us the ability to persevere and stay positive even when times are tough!Dr. Caroline Leaf
So: Today, choose joy! Choose thankfulness. It might not be easy and it might go against your logic and ratio. But do it nevertheless and don’t be shocked when you start to soar and rise like on eagle’s wings.