When the Calling is Exhausting Series Part 4

Clean My Heart

Going to the grocery store with a 7-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 5-month-old is too adventurous for me. I decided quite some time ago to do the bulk of our grocery shopping online to save time and sanity. Not because I’m reticent. But after I sit an infant car seat and a rambunctious toddler in the shopping cart, there’s only enough room for a bunch of bananas, a bag of Goldfish, and a loaf of bread.

So I ClickList it.

I order online and pick it up on the way home after from Christian’s school. It’s convenient because my card is on file, they substitute unavailable items, and they load the groceries in your trunk. Easy button pressed.

This day was typical. I had all the boys and headed to Kroger to pick up my groceries. I parked and called to let them know I was there. But instead of the usual, chipper “we’ll be right out,” I got a hesistant “we got a little backed up so can you come back at the end of the hour?”

That was fine. They’re usually very good to me and I had some errands to run so no big deal. I took my precious time, went to the bank, and got gas. I headed back early and did some budgeting while I waited. But the baby boys were getting antsy. So I called at the top of the hour, only to hear a frail voice murmur, “it’ll be another 30 minutes.”

Ok Lord, I thought. Help. Because I can see this going left.

He did, of course. He’s always there in the time of need. His Spirit cautioned me to be prepared to extend grace.

But I’m human, and long-suffering had been long enough. The warning was not heeded. I dove deep into the well of my feelings.

It took another phone call and fifty more minutes before my groceries were delivered. With a screaming baby and an irate toddler in the back, my patience evaporated. I was ready to shake fingers at managers and send diplomatic compliant letters to corporate. The committee in my head wanted to make a martyr out of this young clerk, so I figured it best to keep as quiet as possible to avoid saying exactly what I was thinking.

I rolled down the window as she walked toward me. “So sorry for the delay. We didn’t have the French Silk ice cream you wanted.”

Oh no! Not the French Silk! That was it!The committee had a field day with that one. They were yelling at me to yell at her until streams of tears rolled down both cheeks. They wanted her to pay in the currency of shame and defamation. Her tab was due.

I didn’t say a word. I didn’t even look up. I was disappointed, disgusted, and disgruntled. And I had no ice cream to soothe my sorrows.

She said goodbye, but I barely heard her. I was already drafting my letter of character assassination in my head. I couldn’t wait to get home, to frantically type the tirade of thoughts that were coursing through my mind. Oh, just wait until I get home, I thought. Your manager is going to hear about this.

Then, in typical innocent childhood fashion, my oldest awakens me from my destructive daydream to interject. “Mom, do you want me to pray for that lady?” Sarcastically, I responded, “Yes, yes I do,” adding to myself, because she’s going to need it after I get through with her.

Christian continued, “Yeah because she looked really sad.” I finally looked up. “You know, like she was having a bad day.” I looked back down. My heart sank. I wasn’t the only one getting groceries that day, so I can imagine how many angry customers she’d had. For all I know, she could have been there alone. It could have been her first day. It may be her last after the way I acted. “Yeah Christian, you’re right buddy. She probably is having a bad day,” I remarked, as God had shown me the state of my heart in such a simple matter.

The calling is exhausting when your heart is in the wrong place.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10 ESV

David sings this verse after receiving the news that his indiscretion with Bathsheba would cost him the life of his newborn son. He pleaded with God, hoping that God would have mercy on the child, and Psalm 51 is a cry to the Father clamoring for forgiveness and forgetfulness. Based on the account in 2 Samuel 12, God forgave him but didn’t forget. David lived with the consequences of his actions, all derived from the muck that stained his heart.

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind

Psalm 26:2 NIV

My situation isn’t catastrophic or life-shattering. But it was attitude-shifting and heart-revealing. I don’t have the pure, soft heart that I’m called to have for others. If I’m having an issue, I don’t consider the other person’s perspective. I’m selfish and self-centered, and my heart can be cold and unforgiving.

Being a Christian isn’t easy, especially when you’re called, even more so when you’re chosen.

Exhaustion sets in when pride prevails.

But peace comes when humility reigns.

I’m thankful that God revealed this area of my life that needs growth through a small event to prepare me to extend grace going forward in more serious occasions. There’s so many reasons why I need Christ to come into my life, but mainly because I need my heart washed, scrubbed, and rinsed clean. My heart needs a detox that only His love can make pristine. His righteousness can remove the impurities from my heart and replace them with this long-suffering kind of love that showcases His unique character above my own. I need Him to take over the matters of my heart so that I can look like His love.

What simple lesson has God taught you about the state of your heart? How did He choose to reveal this state to you?

Share your revelations below.

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