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Monday, 19 November 2012

The space

I was reading a post on the other day and the blogger, Eya, had related an incident concerning her wearing six inch high heeled shoes when she really felt she shouldn't have.  As I read it I saw the comical side of the story and was reminded of something that had happened to me years ago which had a funny side to it but also a 'lesson learned' side.  Eya's lesson was not to walk on stilts again (ha ha, sorry Eya), mine was as follows....
I had been to a prayer meeting at a local church fellowship, where much of the theme had been about patience.   I came out of the meeting with most of these thoughts fresh in my mind.  My friend and myself decided to go to the supermarket, and on the way we met a man that I used to live near.  'Hello' I said, and was about to say 'I was only talking about you the other day' when I remembered that the 'talking about you the other day' was a neighbour of this man telling me that the man and his wife had parted.  I did not want to embarrass him so I said nothing.  We had a very pleasant conversation and I went off feeling quite 'pleased' with myself at being so tactful.

After visiting the supermarket I dropped my friend off at her house and proceeded to go home when I suddenly remembered that I did not have any bread in the house.  I wanted the bread from the bakers in the middle of town but did not want to pay sixty pence (how mean can you get) car park fee, so I thought that I would park at the edge of town in a narrow street that had free parking for an hour, which was a rarity as most streets had double yellow lines.  I decided that the walk back to the bakers was better than paying the sixty pence car park fee, which was nearly the price of the loaf at the time.
When I arrived at this particular street there was just one space left empty.  I was about to pull into it when I noticed a lady who was just driving out of a pub car park into the street, which was a dead end, in order to come out onto the main road.  'Oh', I thought, 'I'll let her out and then pull into the space'. 
 I then also noticed a man in a car that had been turning at the top of the street.  This disturbed my peace a little as I thought he might be going into what had already in my mind become 'my space'.  Then guilt crept in and I thought 'Well he was in the street before me, and if he was going to go into the space then he would be entitled to it'.  Then the thought went through my mind that he had already passed the space, being at the top end of the street, so maybe he was the previous occupier of the space, and was just turning around to come out onto the main road also. 

My peace returned and I remained at the entrance of the street, just to the left so that these two cars could come out onto the main road, after which I could drive into 'my space' as it was now firmly established in my mind.  Smiling faces and courtesy were all around, with the lady waiting to come out of the pub car park into the side street, with the man who had by now turned at the top of the street and was facing me preparing to come out of the street, and with myself waiting to go into the space after they had both come out.

Suddenly the happy picture became distorted.  There was a large car pulling into the street alongside me.  'Can't he see me waiting to go in and these two waiting to come out?' I thought.  'Beep', I gave him a gentle attention catcher, pointing to the situation inside the street, and waited for a response.  The only response was his slowly moving into the street.  'He's trying to get into my space!'   By now peace was disappearing and anger was shoving it's way in with steel elbows. 

'Beep Beep!'  Now much louder attention catchers, and twice as many.   He turned to me with a look that said 'I'm half in now, I might as well go'.  Feeling a threat in the fact that he might have to pull into the space to get out of the way of the other two cars, and that there was nothing I could do about it, suspicion and frustration joined anger in the void left by vacating peace.   However, he drove past the space and tucked himself into a turning area at the top of the street.

                            Hastily drawn cartoon of the situation

Once more guilt stepped in to question me over my thinking that the man was intending on stealing 'my space'.   He might not even have noticed me waiting at the entrance of the street.   He may have thought I was a parked car.   After all, I had left the centre of the road free to allow the two cars to come out.   I began to feel shame dropping as a mantle over me.   Suddenly another car entered the street from the main road, this time with a woman driving it. I beeped the horn and pointed out the situation once more, but she proceeded to try to enter the street.   Now shame pulled away with guilt following close behind, and frustration and anger ballooned to such a size that there was no room for anything else. I pulled out into the middle of the road to prevent this new 'space-stealer' from entering the street and immediately tried to drive into the space, which was in front of the car I had been waiting behind.

Afraid that this new lady might drive into the space instead of me, I did not pull forward enough to allow myself to be able to reverse close enough to the curb so that the lady in the car park could get past me. After several attempts, with an audience of the man waiting at the top of the street, the lady waiting in the car park, the man tucked in the turning area, and the lady waiting behind me, the lady in the pub car park motioned to me that if I moved forward past the car park entrance, then she would be able to get out and I would be able to park my car in the space.

Shame returned as anger and frustration diminished in size.  Suspicion edged its way in as a reminder that maybe the lady behind me would move into the space as I pulled forward, but I realised I had no alternative.  I pulled forward and the lady came out of the car park and drove out of the street.  There was no sign of the potential 'space stealer' and I reversed slowly into the space.  By now there was no room in my mind for anything except shame and humiliation.   Frustration and anger, along with ridiculous suspicion, had been pushed out by these far more powerful spirits.

I lowered my head as the man who had been patiently waiting all this time at the top of the street passed me by to go out onto the main road, and the man who had tucked himself in the turning area pulled into the pub car park, probably where he'd always intended to go.

Where was my Christianity?  If the Lord had appeared at that very moment and asked the righteous to step forward, probably everyone in the street including those in the pub would have been more entitled to respond to His call than I would have been.    Righteousness is born in thought, but I had allowed wickedness to take residence.   Not wanting to embarrass my ex neighbour was the right thing to do, but this had become smug self righteousness in the light of my latest actions.   I should have been more concerned about the space that housed the spirits than the space that housed my car.

I sadly went for my loaf of bread and thought about the spiritual bread the Lord had already offered me in the prayer meeting, the words on patience.

Slowly but surely the Lord is changing me and the Holy Spirit  has been, and still is, convicting me in areas that I hardly realize are there, until His light comes into my darkness.
Flesh will justify flesh according to the carnal mind's justification as to what and who is  right in a situation, and it is only when I use the Lord's ways as the plumbline I can see who my advisers really are.

Lord help me to listen when I hear You speak
create in me a spirit that is lowly and meek
that I should be a 'doer' Father of Your precious word
and not just walk away forgetting all that I have heard


Priscy said...

"Lord help me to listen when I hear You speak
create in me a spirit that is lowly and meek
that I should be a 'doer' Father of Your precious word
and not just walk away forgetting all that I have heard"
Amen! and Amen! to your prayers. I love the way you always relate everything that happens to you with God. was just gonna drop a comment that it's been a while I read from you. thank God all is well with you.

Brenda said...

Hi Priscy,
Lovely to see that all is well with you too. Love your new hairstyle.

Eya Ayambem said...

That was a lil test of the patience you learnt about. This happens to me too. Surprisingly, at that moment we forget completely about the Sermon, only to remember later. I am happy about that prayer cos I need it too. Thanks Brenda and sorry I laughed while reading.

Brenda said...

Hi Eya,
I laugh too when I think about it, but it takes a long time to get the message. I've always been glad God is so patient. We'll get there eh?

Eya Ayambem said...

Yes we will!


Impatience... That's what we feel and what happens to us whenever we struggle with following God on His terms and refuse to see things the way He does... I say Amen to your prayer. It's a prayer for the hour. Grace and peace, to you and yours

Brenda said...

Hi brave African,
I think the problem is not always that we refuse to see things the way He does so much as getting our minds to obey what He is telling us to do, and refusing to let it control what we do. I believe absolutely that God's ways are best, but the old mind can be very strong. Change from the old nature takes time. Eventually we get stronger and are able to get the victory in Jesus.
God bless you

child of God said...

Hi Brenda,
Thank you for sharing this story and your cute drawing.
Isn't it most often when we learn a lesson and are proud of our accomplishment in learning and obeying that God comes in and humbles us but showing us we still have a far way to go. I am learning to keep in a humble stance but by just admitting that I am yet still to proud. :s

Blessings hon,

Frank E. Blasi said...

Hi Brenda,
The test for my patience would have taken place inside the supermarket rather than on the street outside. I am one of a minority who had never turned a steering wheel. But nothing blows my fuse faster than gunpowder than a slow moving checkout queue. Especially if the one being served argues with the teller over a coupon worth just a few pence, or an item missing its price tag, forcing us to wait for the store manager to arrive to clear things up.
More recently, self-serve checkouts have helped ease the problem, but even to this day I find queuing up an issue that needs to be dealt with.
By the way, thanks for your comments on my blogs. I appreciate them.
God bless,

Just Be Real said...

If we could only see the Big Picture like God does we then would not have to worry about if we are following God the way He wants us to. Or how we wait..... Blessings to you Brenda.

Bishop Dennis Campbell said...

Wonderful and amusing story; humorously tells about something that has happened to most of us.

Sateigdra knowles said...

Miss Brenda I cannot begin to tell you how needed this was for me to read this. I truly have been feeling this same way. I've heard people say don't pray for patience because when you do God sends trials and it's usually really tough things you don't want, but somewhere in my mind I can't seem to grasp that concept, it sounds really fleshly.

How can I not ask God for something because I fear how it will feel, how can I not ask God for something I really need, something honestly if I don't have I would snap every time and be very unloving to people.

This story was so great, I felt like I was in the car right beside you waiting for that parking space, you have a way of telling stories that place the reader right there, I was also in that grocery store with you and your friend while I was reading this. I love your stories Brenda I really do.

I pray to God for patience, I mostly need it to deal with people my age who tend to be very rude, and inconsiderate and selfish and mean, sometimes i want to snap, but I have to remember God said to overcome evil with good not the other way around.

Just now my brother ordered pizza and the guy who lives with us always comes around when my brother orders things and he has an attitude like he's suppose to get some, like it's somehow apart of the tenant agreement, when it's not. I try to tell him we'll share, but you must not be so ungrateful and you have to lose the attitude, when I say that he starts going off on me. He does it every time like clockwork, so much that when my brother orders stuff i say in my heart ok, im going to let this guy have it.

Then tonight i realized he's not the one who's mean and insensitive and selfish and rude, it's me, yeah he's only a tenant but I know what's expected of me from God and i thought the same as you thought "where's my christianity?" if Jesus came at that moment we got that pizza I would be in big trouble for being unkind. It's hard sometimes dealing with attitudes and things like that but I try to pray to God to strenghten me to deal with the selfish mean insensitive contentious people who honestly i get the urge to snap on them every time.

Brenda said...

Hi child of God,
absolutely right. We have to be very careful if we think we stand, I learned a long time ago it is not pride that is the outcome of salvation, it is gratitude to God for wanting to make me a better person.
God bless you

Brenda said...

Hi Frank,
well I laughed when I read your comment because I had a picture of my husband in a supermarket queue, that is exactly how he feels. I never have a problem there (I hope I'm not tempting fate), but I think that is probably down to the Lord stepping in to teach me about patience a long time ago. I looked up the word patience in the dictionary and it described it as 'the ability to endure with calmness'. I asked Him to teach me patience and He sent me to work in a home for the elderly. It was the best thing that could have happened, I loved it and it brought me to see the other person's situation and point of view.
God bless you

Brenda said...

Oh Sateigdra,
I love your honesty, and isn't that what it's all about with God. The greatest thing we could do when we want help is ask God for it, that is why Jesus died for us, so that He could be our mediator. We have a God who loves us and who allows things to come across our path so that we can be changed in areas where we need to be changed. I know this as much as anybody and also know that it is an honour to be able to ask help from the One who is able to do all things. This is what He wants us to do, we cannot change ourselves. Patience is the ability to endure with calmness, and 'gritting our teeth' is not calmness. God coming in and changing us is a wonderful thing. I join you in prayer that the Lord will grant you patience. Don't worry about the way He will do it, it will only increase your love for people, and who wouldn't want a gift like that eh?
God bless you Sateigdra.

Brenda said...

Hi JBR, I really love the way God teaches us because we have to see our own faults before we can be changed, and seeing things as God sees them is life changing in itself because it makes you realize that God's correction comes out of His love for all of us
God bless you

Brenda said...

Hello Dennis,
yes this is very true. The lovely thing is that, as much as we may have known that our attitudes are sometimes wrong, it is only God's Word and His ability to place us in certain situations at certain times that appears to bring about that change in the heart.
God bless you

S. Knowles said...

Thanks Brenda for your prayer, I really appreciate it.

S. Knowles said...

And God Bless you too, *Big Hug* :-)

Just Be Real said...

Brenda, I so appreciate you responding back to your followers. I am one that comes back often to reup on comments. Blessings.

Reformed rebel said...

Isn't it funny how the Lord gives us the opportunity to practice what we think we have learned?! Great post Brenda.

Blessings Chelle

Brenda said...

Hi Chelle,
absolutely, that is how He grounds it into us. The carnal nature is so much stronger than we realize, and it takes time and practice to renew that human mind in Christ. It is wonderful how long suffering our Lord is, and although I can say I have matured in the Lord since that experience, I still have a long way to go.
God bless.

T-Childs said...

I guess most people have issues with patience and waiting; no one likes being patient and no one likes waiting for things; we all want everything straightaway. My real pet hate is when I go to a supermarket and am about to go to an aisle for a particular thing...and someone stands right in front of me and stops for a time! I get real angry...inside of course; I don't lose my temper with that person! It goes to show that we all have things that need God's attention... none of us are perfect after all, even though we probably think we are. Great post.

Brenda said...

Hi Tim,
yes you are right, I think mine there was a little bit off balance though and it was me that ended up worse off for it.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
I know I have a constant battle between my sin nature and the indwelling Holy Spirit, as has every born again believer including Paul. Praise God that His mercies are new every morning, and that He has given us the whole armor of God to withstand Satan's attacks.

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting on Saved by Grace!
Your blog is a blessing and I am now following it, and I invite you to follow Saved by Grace also:
Love in Him,
Laurie Collett

Brenda said...

Hello Laurie,
how nice to hear from you. I clicked onto your blog before going out and thought I must come back to this blog and read more. I found it very encouraging.
God bless you.