I read a story last week that convicted me. And it wasn't until after I read it and processed it a bit that I realized God was using this story to convict me about my reaction to my hair cut. It was God's living and active word playing out in my life (Hebrews 4:12). Let me start at the beginning.
While studying the book of Esther, I encountered this story about Haman. Take a moment to read it.
Esther 5:9-13 New International Version (NIV)
Haman’s Rage Against Mordecai9 Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.
Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.”
I had mixed emotions. I was so sorry for my reaction and behavior. I was also incredibly thankful because in the midst of my hair mess, God was pursing me. He was true to His character: compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love (Nehemiah 9:17). He opened my eyes to sin so I could receive His mercy and grace. I quickly repented letting God know how sorry I was for letting my hair cut get the best of me.
Have you ever overlooked your blessings because you were focused on circumstances that you didn't ask for? Or because you couldn't control the situation? Or maybe it was because you didn't get your way? Isn't it crazy how we can let one thing, like a hair cut or not getting the respect that we think we deserve, steal our joy? Change our attitude? Transform our perspective? And once you start down that slippery slope of negative thinking, complaining, rage, frustration... it's hard to stop, isn't it? Don't you just want to let everyone know how you've been wronged? How it should have been? That's what Haman did. He gathered his wife and friends to tell his story. And that's what I did too. I wonder if you can relate...
I'm so thankful that God loves me enough to point out my sins so I can receive His forgiveness. I wish I could say that after reading Haman's story, I was cured of my negative thoughts. But it wasn't instantaneous. I've had to continue to work through my feelings. And my perspective change is getting easier and easier, especially since I had a hair intervention this week. What's that, you ask? It's where you get your hair cut again. And this hair intervention has completely changed my perspective. I now look in the mirror and think I look pretty. The gal who intervened was such a blessing to me. She listened to my hair concerns. She added layers, coached me on products that would work with my hair type, and taught me how to work with my bangs and style my new do. The fact that God would choose to bless me with a hair cut I like... after my bad attitude... just blows my mind. I don't deserve it, but His scandalous grace intervened. And His scandalous grace is available to you too. Have you noticed how God blesses you in spite of your sin? He. truly. loves. us. so. much!
I'm a huge Francesca Battistelli fan and her song "This Is The Stuff" reminds me of Haman... and of me too. Especially these lyrics:
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I've gotta trust you know exactly what You're doing
Might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use
To break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations
I've got a new appreciation
It's not the end of the world
This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff, someone save me
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
Here's a link to the YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe4SckesWLE
So let's resolve that when we are in the midst of our messes, that we won't forget how big we're blessed. Let us put 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 into practice: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. And know that when our messes overtake our thankfulness, that God is patiently waiting to be gracious to us and show loving-kindness to us (Isaiah 30:18 AMP). For God promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6)... even in the midst of our messes.