A few days ago, my attitude turned on a dime. Ever happen to you? A minor disappointment, then an email that just hit me the wrong way and all of a sudden, I've got a major chip on my shoulder. Why? Neither was earth-shattering. Blips on the radar screen of life. So why did I allow such simple things to alter the mood of my otherwise relatively easy day? Good question. I once heard a preacher say that when something upsetting or unpleasant happens, you need to hold it up to the light of eternity to see how it really measures up. A good habit I need to get into BEFORE allowing the chip to form.
I thought about that later the same evening when something else turned on a dime - my ability to breathe. I had tickets to a game for the local Double A baseball team. It was a beautiful night in the company of family and friends - no humidity, no clouds, a full moon, an awesome fireworks display...and the home team won. As we began to exit the park, I walked on some peanut shells.
Did I mention I'm allergic to peanuts? It's an allergy I developed about 7 years ago and it's the throat-closing kind. I carry an Epi-pen and Benadryl at all times now.
Well, I had flip flops on and I guess somehow oil or dust or something from those shells got on my feet and was absorbed into my skin. My sister, nieces and I piled into my car, but I had started to cough and clear my throat repeatedly. I knew what that meant, but couldn't believe something so simple could really be causing this reaction. I asked my niece for my bottle of water. I drank half the bottle but the coughing didn't go away. Now my throat was feeling sore, and was that...yes, the telltale sign...there was a huge lump forming fast in the back of my throat. I opened my mouth to tell my niece where the Benadryl was and scared myself - I could barely speak. I began gesturing rather wildly...pointing to my purse...'pink pill'...now! (I use the Epi-pen as a last resort - I hate the side effects of the epinephrine, so the Benadryl is my go-to solution whenever possible.)
I popped the pill in my mouth, took a swig of water and prayed. In a few minutes the coughing and throat clearing had mostly stopped. It took more than an hour for the lump in my throat to fully go down and when I finally allowed myself to sleep, my throat was still sore.
Aren't we like that sometimes with the sin in our lives? We think...it's just something small...it can't possibly have big consequences...let alone life-altering consequences. We try to ignore it, try to brush it away from our consciousness, but it's insidious and it begins to fester, choking the very life out of us.
Take my poor reaction to the disappointment and email earlier in the day. I didn't even consider my attitude sin at first. But when it began to change my perspective on the entire day, it should have been obvious something was wrong.
Our lives can change in an instant. An illness, an accident, the simple act of stepping on a peanut shell can change everything. So when it comes down to it, how important are the petty annoyances we deal with every day? It took my encounter with a peanut shell to make me see how quickly things can turn around.
God has a lot to say in His Word about the subject of turning. We are told that all have turned away. We are entreated to turn from our wicked ways, to turn from evil and do good. We are also told that God will not turn His face from us if we return to him. Turning is an action with huge consequences. Will I never experience my attitude turning on a dime again? Unfortunately, I'm sure that's not the case. But I do know I can turn it back again - it's matter of choosing. Choosing to turn the other cheek, choosing to turn the battle over to God, choosing to turn the annoyance of the petty bothersome things in my life into an attitude of gratitude for all that I have.