Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Controlled By Circumstances

Last week, a friend of mine called me to ask if I would be interested in taking his tickets to the Detroit Pistons vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game in Detroit (which was in the afternoon on Sunday, prior to the Super Bowl). I said, “Absolutely!” My son was out of town at camp with his youth group from church, so I went with a good friend of mine.

Needless to say, we had a blast. The Cavaliers won the game and Lebron James put on quite a show, but the thing that made the game more interesting and more fun were the 10 or so Cavalier fans who sat a few rows behind us. In talking with them at halftime I discovered that some of them went to high school with Lebron.

Anyway, what made them stick out was the fact that they were over the top in their passion for their team. They were actually downright obnoxious…but hilarious. They were chanting some funny things and they were also drinking pretty heavily.

At one point, we saw one of the guys spill his beer on a guy in front of him. Amazingly, the one who was now wet, took it very well and was actually laughing about it.

In contrast, another man was sitting with his wife and two children in front of these fans. He looked like he was having absolutely no fun whatsoever. He was obviously so furious that these “hooligans” were seated behind him that it looked like he would rather be anywhere but there. Here he had spent tons of money to take his family to this event and he was having a miserable time.

Two people sitting next to each other, basically experiencing the same thing, yet two very different responses. The first man was not going to let circumstances dictate how much fun he was going to have. The second one was letting these guys get under his skin. As I sat there I thought about how sad that was. I thought that I certainly wouldn’t let that happen to me.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, yesterday I had a very tough day (and was taught a great lesson). My planning and calendar software was totally freezing up (which it had been doing since last Friday) and I spent a good part of the day chatting with their customer support department. I was so frustrated and I was not dealing with it well. It was impacting my entire day!

Wow, did God put me in my place quickly. I realized last night that I was acting exactly the same way as the second man above. I was letting my circumstances dictate how I was feeling. I guess the Bible is right when it says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (emphasis mine)
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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