by Mary Parker
If there’s a phrase that has always peeved me when others say it, “It is what it is” takes the cake! The writer in me hates the undefined antecedent. All of me is disturbed by the concept that although something is not right, not good, or in some other way displeasing, we must accept it without trying to change it.
Something I’ve learned through a core value in my home church and my walk with Jesus is that growing people do, in fact, change.
Although my wedding day is filled with beautiful memories, I’m happy that my marriage continuously changes for the better, rooted in discipline and intentional improvement. On our wedding day, our marriage wasn’t where it needed to be – Will and I were intrinsically selfish people not yet sure how to navigate the world as a dynamic duo.
We could’ve simply thrown our hands in the air during our first marital conflict and muttered, “It is what it is,” but we decided to fight for one another, not against one another. To fight for the vows we made to God and one another in front of our family and friends. To fight for a love we believe in, and want to learn more about.
There have been times since then where it could have just been easier to quit rather than adapt, too. TDYs, last minute changes in plans, challenges in seeing family and feeling stranded in the Arctic wilderness (strictly hypothetical, obviously), for example.
But we adapt and seek God’s will in all circumstances, aware that His will won’t always match our plans.
Paul writes in his letter to the church in Rome,
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Father, thank you for the blessings you have shown me in this life. I pray you will supply the strength to help me make changes in my thoughts toward others – help me to be more pleasing to you and love others more fully. Show me your will so I may obey any changes in my life and marriage you are asking of me. Help me to live for you today and every day. Amen.
Questions for Reflection:
*What changes can I make to improve my attitude today?
*How can committing my perspective to be more pleasing to God
affect my thoughts, behavior, and relationships?
Mary Parker is an Air Force wife who works as a public relations writer. A South Carolina girl at heart, she and her husband have recently relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. Mary spends her spare time honing exercise and cooking skills, and is a self-proclaimed DIY addict. You can read about how faith and hope shape military family life, and check out Mary's latest projects at her blog, Mary's Mischief.
It is amazing how much God loves us and nourishes our growth each and every day. God formed us “in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). While some good works start outwardly and have an impact on the heart, others begin with heart change reflected in our actions.
God has called me to be more patient. For some people this may not take a lot of work, but that certainly doesn’t describe me, and never really has. The more quiet time I spend with God, the more confident I am that God wants me to focus on enhancing the fruit of the spirit in my life that is most challenging: patience (Galatians 5:22-23).
This morning God challenged me to grow by extending grace to a stranger. I was strolling along down the dairy aisle when a woman in front of me made a sudden, wide U-turn, forcing me to cling to the rack of shredded cheese for dear life. Moments later we encountered one another in the 10 items or less self-checkout lane. As I quickly scanned my three produce items, I could hear her behind me sighing and saying some pretty hurtful things about me. Satan was on my left shoulder telling me to be offended and urging me to confront her in anger.
Instead, I chose to focus my thoughts on Jesus. He challenged me not to judge others because others can’t see God in my actions when I act impatiently. I was convicted to pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139: 23-24). So I scanned quickly, smiled, and wished her a good day.
When we set our eyes on Jesus, we can find the strength to extend patience and gentleness to others under any circumstance. Although a smile in the checkout lane is a small thing, it was given with the patient intention to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”
(2 Corinthians 1:4).
We live by God’s grace each day, and by extending grace towards others, we can do a good work in the lives of others as well as our own hearts.
What situations tempt me to be impatient?
How can I better please God in situations when I choose not to judge others?
What opportunities do I have to pray for others each day?
Father, thank you for always being patient with me, especially when I make mistakes. Thank you for not throwing my mistakes in my face or creating obstacles for me because of them, but welcoming me into your comforting, loving arms so that I might learn. Help me to be more patient with myself, others and my surroundings each and every day so that I may nurture the fruits of the spirit and become closer to you. Help me to be a more godly woman so that others can see your great works and love in my actions. Thank you God for loving me. I love you and worship only you. Amen.
Mary Parker is an Air Force wife who works as a public relations writer. A South Carolina girl at heart, she and her husband have recently relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. Mary spends her spare time honing exercise and cooking skills, and is a self-proclaimed DIY addict. You can read about how faith and hope shape military family life, and check out Mary's latest projects on her blog, Mary's Mischief.