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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

Have you ever planned something special for someone? You become filled with excitement and anticipation. You start to imagine their reactions and envision every detail of the day. On top of the special something, add the 'surprise' element to the mix. The element of surprise is exciting in itself!



I am not just talking about BIG surprise birthday parties but also the simple things, as in a candlelight dinner waiting for your spouse upon arrival home from work, or the surprise weekend getaway, or even the surprise visit to the office to bring a treat.


Then...the day comes for the unveiling of your surprise. More often than not, the idea that you have conjured up in your head is not the actual sequence of events. Let's just play out a few 'hypothetical' situations-


1. Scene: You have surprised your spouse with a candlelight dinner.


a) Envisioned response: A delightful smile, an uplifting swinging hug, romantic music playing in the background, beautiful conversation during the incredibly delicious meal, followed by a gorgeous sunset.


b) Actual response: Spouse comes home with a migraine headache and nausea, is in no mood for the candlelight dinner, barely acknowledges you as he/she walks in the house, you burn the dinner, the kids are screaming, and you end up eating leftovers for dinner while your spouse sleeps off the headache.


2. Scene: You plan a surprise trip for you and your spouse to get away for the weekend.


a) Envisioned response: You and your spouse grab the bags as quickly as possible and head to the airport filled with excited conversation about the upcoming possibilities of the weekend. Your spouse can't stop thanking you for your effort and planning!


b) Actual response: Your spouse can not be out of town, has too much work to finish, and has an overlapping meeting with the trip. A quick phone call is made and the trip is cancelled. You are left unpacking the suitcases and cancelling the babysitting.


3. Scene: You surprise your spouse with a visit to the office with a special treat.


a) Envisioned response: You have perfect timing, your spouse is at the desk with a gap in the schedule, excited to see you and the kids, loves the treat and the cards the kids spent all day making. You and your family have a great visit!


b) Actual response: Your visit is in the middle of a meeting. Your child knocks over your spouse's drink into their lap. You leave abruptly.


In these type of situations and really any situation that does not go as you expect it to go, what is your response? Most of these situations might cause you to feel deflated, disappointed, dismayed, and disheartened. All these feelings would be a normal 'flesh' response.

However, what if you begin to change your mind set. Instead of seeing the absence of God and the presence of sin, you turn your attention to the presence of God, to see God at work at ALL times. God is at work whether or not you feel Him working. What if your response was an evidence of grace. Grace by definition is any observable attitude or action brought about by the presence of and empowered by the Holy Spirit dwelling in a believer. God, the Holy Spirit, is at work in all Christians at all times!


What if we adjusted our response to reflect grace in the unexpected, to rejoice, to lift one another up in our words and actions, to truly shine the light of Jesus.
Let's replay the situations:


1. Scene: You have surprised your spouse with a candlelight dinner.


a) Envisioned response: A delightful smile, an uplifting swinging hug, romantic music playing in the background, beautiful conversation during the incredibly delicious meal, followed by a gorgeous sunset.


b) Actual response: Spouse comes home with a migraine headache and nausea, is in no mood for the candlelight dinner, barely acknowledges you as he/she walks in the house, you burn the dinner, the kids are screaming, and you end up eating leftovers for dinner while your spouse sleeps off the headache.


c) Evidence of Grace: As your spouse comes home with a migraine and nausea, you realize he is in no mood for a candlelight dinner. The kids are screaming, so you take them outside to play so your husband can rest. While you are outside playing, the dinner burns which gives you a great excuse to have a picnic of leftovers with the kids outside while your spouse sleeps off the headache.


2. Scene: You plan a surprise trip for you and your spouse to get away for the weekend.


a) Envisioned response: You and your spouse grab the bags as quickly as possible and head to the airport filled with excited conversation about the upcoming possibilities of the weekend. Your spouse can't stop thanking you for your effort and planning!


b) Actual response: Your spouse can not be out of town, has too much work to finish, and has an overlapping meeting with the trip. A quick phone call is made and the trip is cancelled. You are left unpacking the suitcases and cancelling the babysitting.


c) Evidence of Grace: Your spouse can not be out of town, has too much work to finish and has an overlapping meeting with the trip. A quick phone call is made to a dear friend that you have not been able to spend time with and could not afford to take a trip otherwise. Your childcare is already arranged, so your spouse is able to get work done and you are able to have some much needed relaxation quality time with your friend.


3. Scene: You surprise your spouse with a visit to the office with a special treat.


a) Envisioned response: You have perfect timing, your spouse is at the desk with a gap in the schedule, excited to see you and the kids, loves the treat and the cards the kids spent all day making. You and your family have a great visit!


b) Actual response: Your visit is in the middle of a meeting. Your child knocks over your spouse's drink into their lap. You leave abruptly


c) Evidence of Grace: Your visit is in the middle of a meeting. Your child knocks over your spouse's drink into their lap. You smile and laugh- sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.


God orchestrates great plans,
not necessarily the way you want it
but EXACTLY the way He envisions it.
Step back and see His glory in it all.






2 comments:

amanda said...

Love it!!! Wonderful reminder to show Love and Grace at all times and under all circumstances. So hard to do...but always striving.

GreenGirl said...

What a wonderful post!