Thursday morning, jumped into the car, started the engine, I hear that ridiculously familiar ding ding ding.
I know, I know. (Terri, you’ve been chancing your arm and running on your reserve fuel for about twenty miles and you really need to wind your neck in and refuel before you end up stranded at the side of the road).
Mentally noted, I also noted. I now have six minutes to get to the bus stop which is approximately a six and a half minute drive away – yes, I have timed it; on several occasions to see if I could scrape another minute of our tight time-frame in the morning.
I’m your typical sail close to the wind type girl. I probably refuel my car only ever when the fuel warning light has been on for a good ten miles. I very rarely ever charge my phone before the battery runs done. I pay my bills on the last possible day. And, you guessed it, yes I iron the uniforms last thing on Sunday night even though I have had all weekend. And I always prepare lunches in the morning even though it’s a super rush.
Some may say it’s just stupid, but it’s kind of my default to work under pressure and now that I have admitted it, I’ve taken the first step in the recovery program and I can seek help and change my ways and who knows maybe that could feature in a whole new blog.
But back to the school run, so thankful traffic was light and I got Ethan to the bus stop with a whole minute to spare; don’t think he knew what to do with that spare minute. Poor crater looked lost just standing there at the stop instead of the mad dash out of the car to catch the bus before the doors close. Ha! Good exercise for him sure)
The ping from the fuel light reminded me I needed to get straight to the garage. As I set off towards the big flashy, newly renovated Eurospar thinking I could pick Joshua up an iced finger from the bakery when I was there. A quick wiggle of my toes reminded me that I had indeed left the house in my lovely grey penguin Christmas slippers, complete with a melted plastic strip from that time I tried to push a burning log further back in the fire with my rubber and felt slipper attached to my foot.
(I know! Right? Lord, deliver me from stupid) all prayers so far have not been fruitful.
A little disappointed I did a quick u-turn in the road and headed back towards my other garage, my local garage who get to see me in all states, and I mean All; hands up! the scale ranges from PJs to full wonder woman attire. I would find it easier to waltz up to the cashier in my grey Christmas slippers complete with singed toe and red pom-poms.
In defence of the slippers, they are actually very cute, trust me, well they were pre-fire incident.
Sure enough, the good Lord doesn’t miss an opportunity to lay a little conviction on my heart.
I almost giggle when I feel it coming because, well I leave myself wide open to it really.
So when I get the little prompting when I feel the question arise in my heart from God it’s unmistakably God. How do I know this? Well, starters I don’t convict me… plus when I ask myself a question it usually involves something stupid, I call them Terriisms. For example, Terri don’t you think Mars bars could do for breakfast instead of shredded wheat? (you deserve a treat go on).
Versus God, where his questions will always benefit and me pull me closer to God and a better version of me.
So when I feel God press this on my heart this morning I laughed because I already know he has got me. Sometimes when God challenges me, my inner diva Terratta comes out and I’ll try to justify my actions or argue (yip I tell God that he is wrong and argue that I am right), I never win like but it does happen right before a nice big slice of humble pie and I back down in surrender to the fact the creator of all things may have a little more insight than me. However this morning it was full on hands in the air, completely busted… no sweet talking out of this one.
He asked me.
Why do you find certain behaviour acceptable with some people and not with others?
Slap! Bang! Wallop! …
Ah man! he got me good and it was only 7.49am.
I tell ya, when you’re praying for a fresh fill from the Holy Spirit and a renewing of your mind at 7am, you better want it. Be prepared and ready for whatever is coming at ya girl, cause if you ask for it you’re gonna get it!!
So why do I behave differently??
I often say I’m the worst witness to my kids. I didn’t end up with the title of psycho mum by skipping through the meadow all day stringing daisy chains while singing all things bright and beautiful with my perfect little angels.
Things at home can get pretty ugly at moments. More than I will ever want to admit, I find myself having to apologise to my children for a bad temper, for a slip of the tongue or an ugly reaction. Thank heavens for forgiveness, eh!
But according to my mummy friends I’m assured that this “less than perfect mum” status is in the majority (first time for everything). I’ve not to beat myself up, just keep striving to learn from my mistakes and keep inviting Jesus into these “moments” and I’ll be grand. Like it’s pretty tough when you have to discipline the you out of your kids. Flash- backs of all those time my parents told me, I’d understand when I’m older. When I thought, no hope! I’m not parenting like you. I thought NEVER! and all of a sudden, you’re standing in the kitchen, face to face with your offspring, muttering exactly the same words your parents once said to you, and in horror you realise, THEY WERE RIGHT!!!. And now you have turned into your parent.
But I don’t feel like God meant in front of my kids.
I feel he meant between different circles of friends, different circumstances, different environments.
Do I behave in church the way I behave in Tesco? Pretty sure that’s a solid NO!
There is definitely a very unique version of Terri comes out in Tesco. Be warned, if you meet me down the isles, approach with care, especially if you find me accompanied by three younger, similar looking humans. WE BITE!
Do I chat with my non-christian friends the same way I chat with my friends in my small group?
(Can I take the fifth here?)
Do I use the same tone, the same language? Do I joke about the same stuff, would I drop an F bomb and let it go, or would I apologise profusely?
I do by the way… I’ll come clean. I don’t say that in a proud way but there are circumstances that I could say something less than admirable and there will be people I immediately apologise to and there will be people I know will accept that. (Sorry if you’re those people).
As the day went on I thought more and more about the comparisons in different behaviours.
Now please don’t let your mind run wild. I’m not leaving church and heading down the local drug den to get my fix and off to hook up with bad boys and talk all potty mouth.
But I’m thankful the Lord got me thinking about the comparison, and to be honest, I’m glad that God ministered to me at the pumps.
Someone once told me a good way to figure out if your behaviour might be wrong, is ask yourself would I still do this if my pastor knew? Would I still do this if my pastor was in my company? Would I? Or would I change my behaviour in front of my Pastor? If so, why wouldn’t I change my behaviour in front of God who can see it all?
I imagine we always have little less than pretty moments in front of certain folk. Regardless if they are Christians, or we are in church or not, but we can strive to do the right thing. To behave in the most honourable way to God. In a way to not react badly to the situation, to control our tongue. Remember God is more interested in the intentions of your heart not the impression you give people.
In Galatians it tells us that God has given us the spirit of self-control, we all have it. I promise you it’s there. It’s maybe just out of practice. Like a muscle that needs to be exercised.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
How do we know we can use this? Because of times like being with your Pastor. (sidenote) Can I just say, my Pastors have got to know me pretty well; there have been many times they have been exposed to momma Terri, Tesco Terri, driver Terri. I don’t have to pretend to be someone else with my Pastors, thankfully I don’t need to because they love and accept me as I am and encourage to be the Terri God intended me to be too.
What about that little old lady who just cut the queue in front of you in the bank? (Well firstly, where are your manners? because you totally should have offered her to go ahead of you in the queue anyway … but tread carefully, some of these independent ladies can be rather feisty.)
I bet you’re not flipping the bird to the police in road rage when they cause a delay. You don’t go dropping F bombs all round the place at your kid’s parent teacher meeting, so why would you do it if you were in the pub on a Friday night?
Please hear me right, lets not be getting all false with our church peeps. All I want to do is to encourage you to be consistent with how you honour God, no matter where you are or who you are with.
“Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 NLT
I pray, Thank you Lord, forgive me for when I let you down when I slip up. Holy Spirit, help me change my ways, lead me in the way I should go. Amen. (see no fancy talk needed)
Refuel & Refill