Today I had one of my not-so-finest moments.
My sweet hubby has been on a number of business trips lately, so in his absence, he left me with a "to do" list. As a stay-at-home mom, I view my role not only as a mom who is taking care of our son, but as a supportive wife, who helps keep the house in order and serves my husband in any way I can, since he's a busy, working man that's bringing in the dough for our family. But I confess, there are often times when he gives me a list, that I grumble and complain. Especially when it includes tasks like in the case of today, contacting Blue Cross Blue Shield about a prescription reimbursement. Ugh. Not my idea of a fun way to spend my time.
When I called Blue Cross Blue Shield, as I expected, I was transferred four times before reaching the correct department. To make matters worse, every time I was transferred, I was asked for my Member ID through an automated system, which meant I had to say the number, there was no option to type it in or speak to a representative. After trying to slowly and clearly say the 10 digit number four times, I finally gave up and yelled, "Representative!" I was then transferred to a live person. The lady I reached proceeded to tell me that my Member ID was incorrect. It had 1 T, not 2 T's in it. Well, I explained, the past four people were able to look up my information with 2 T's, not 1. As we went on and on, I just got angrier and angrier. She wasn't the nicest lady, for sure, but that was probably no excuse for my escalating anger. By the end of the call, she told me she would transfer me to yet another departmentt, which lead to me letting out a few expletives under my breath, just loud enough for her to hear and I quickly added in my best sarcastic voice, "You've been so helpful." Okay, it definitely wasn't my finest moment. And I was a little embarrassed of my behavior a few minutes later, when the next lady I spoke with did, in fact, confirm that my Member ID only had 1 T, not 2. Oops.
What's so funny about this story is that just yesterday, Sunday morning, I was sitting at the kitchen table, reading my Bible and spending a few moments with the Lord before we went to church. I heard Jim on the phone in his office talking to a credit card company about some charges on his bill that he did not make. The representative was apparently frustrating him, because as the conversation continued, I could hear him get louder and ruder. By the end of the call, he was practically yelling. During that whole conversation, I was praying, "Lord, please help Jim to have more patience and kindness with people, even if they are frustrating him." HA! How hilarous is that!
What all this reminded me of was how badly I am in need of a Savior and how deeply I need God's grace. As much as I may pray, go to church, read God's word, and get involved in Bible studies, that doesn't change the fact that I am a sinner desperately in need of God's grace. That every day, I screw up. Every day, I need to repent. Every day, I need a new, fresh dose of his loving, merciful, amazing grace.
It also reminded me how easy it is to point out the sin in someone else's life and yet fail to recognize the junk in my own heart. I was in a little bit of a "holier than thou" mentality as I sat and had my quiet time and prayed for Jim as he chewed out the rep on the phone. God knew what He was doing when this situation came up today. It reminded me that I am right there with Jim, no better no worse (and no better, no worse than anyone else, for that matter), but I am another sinful, impatient person who is quick to get angry. We are all desperately in need of a Savior, we all need forgiveness and God's grace! And the wonderful, beautiful good news is that it is by grace and grace alone that we have been saved! There's nothing WE can do to get to God, but He came down to us in the form of Jesus Christ. Thank God!
As a mom, there have already been many times when I've had hard days with Marshall. Whether he's fussy from teething, not napping well, or throwing his food all over the floor, on those days, it's hard to stay calm and composed. Those are the days when I have to cry out to God and say, "Lord, have mercy! I need your grace to get through this day!" But what a sweet reminder that can be...that in the midst of a trying day, we can remember that it's not through our own strength, but His, that we can respond in a gracious, loving way. And when we DO respond in a gracious, loving way, He gets the credit, not us. Isn't that wonderful how that works?
Even beyond that, it challenges me to remember that other people will have bad days and they might take it out on me. I used to work in a call center and I would get yelled at all the time. It's hard not to get angry back. But then, I have to remember, that I, too, have lost my temper and gotten angry, that I, too, am a sinner in need of God's grace. When I remember that, it quickly levels the playing field and reminds me I have no room to judge.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, which speaks to our very core identity as human beings: "We are more sinful than we could ever imagine, but we are more loved than we could ever dare hope."
My prayer for you today is that you would be reminded of your sinfulness, not in a way that is defeating and devastating, but in a way that leads to deep gratitude for Jesus' death on the cross for you, that you would be reminded that you are a sinner saved by grace, that grace is a gift, and it is not by anything you have done that you are saved, but by God's grace and grace alone. What a wonderful reason to rejoice!
And next time...I pray that God would give me the grace to be nicer to the next BCBS rep I talk to on the phone!