There we were at the airport in Bergen, Norway, expecting to fly out at 6pm when we found out our flight got cancelled. After a few moments of trying to figure out what to do, we eventually got checked in but only to realize our rebooked ticket was scheduled to take off at 6am.
I head straight to the customer service when I noticed there was a long queue of people behind the counter. There they were, the rest of our fellow passengers waiting to find another flight or at least get hotel vouchers. I went and joined them to do the same, then an older gentleman came and stood behind me.
Frustrated, annoyed and inconvenienced as he was by the cancelled flight, I struck a conversation with him. I tried to make the conversation as light as possible, trying to make him smile, as all he was doing was complaining. I got to ask him about what he was doing in Norway, and I got to share likewise. As it turns out, he was a professor and also a Christian.
When it finally came to be my turn, I noticed the lady behind the counter. She was trying to hide her exhaustion through her smile. As people were sharing their complaint and grumbling, she could still keep her composure to do her job with kindness and patience. My heart went out to her, so I decided in full gratitude to encourage her that she was doing a great job thanking her for taking care of us during an unfortunate event.
I intentionally turned my body hoping the older gentleman would see my interaction with the lady. I wanted him to overhear our conversation as I lift her spirit up so that somehow I might actually change his perspective so that rather than complain to this lady when it came to be his turn, he might be able to encourage her as well.
After my friend and I finally got our hotel voucher, we walked to the hotel which was pretty close to the airport. We checked in, rested for a bit and met for dinner.
As we were hanging out, we were interrupted by the same old gentlemen I was standing in line with. However, I almost didn’t recognize him. The countenance he has now had been completely transformed. He told us that he had this realization while waiting in line that complaining wasn’t helping his situation so he decided to change his outlook.
There was such a huge difference in him that he took this opportunity to write a love letter to his wife.
He was at his sixth page of the letter.
It gave me so much joy to hear what had happen to him.
I wonder if what I did actually worked? I would like to think so or else he wouldn’t have have come over to our table to tell me he wrote a 6 page love letter to his wife.
Commanding Your Experience
As I sat there and listen to him talk, I saw the fruit of the spirit at work in him. Love is the fruit of the Spirit and one of the way it manifests itself is through self-control. What if the the Spirit of God inside of us, as he strengthens us in our inner world, can actually help us command our experience?
I was able to stand in line without grumbling and complaining because I just didn’t have in me to do so. I choose to experience this moment differently. I wasn’t going to let what’s happening outside of me affect my internal world while the older gentleman did. Because of that I had the opportunity to disrupt his current paradigm. That he can live above what’s happening to him. It helped him decide to use this as an opportunity to change his internal narrative and choose a different story.
The world no longer was the problem. He took responsibility of his own perception, commanded a different response and decided to put his energy elsewhere because he saw that he can.
It’s the difference between finding Jesus sleeping and the disciples panicking in the midst of the storm. Jesus didn’t plan in calming the storm until He was woken up by the disciples. He was at peace. He was steadfast. And when it came that he needed to affect the situation for the sake of others, He was able to. It wasn’t forced, it was an overflow.
You might not be able to command the storm to leave, but you can command a different internal experience.
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
If you find yourself in a situation where you are frustrated, disappointed, fearful, or anxious; invite God into those moments. Let him show you what peace looks like and how you can partner with him to choose a different response, help you command a different experience, and bring clarity to what you really need in the moment.
I wonder as we grow in the Lord, and we become more emotionally healthy, and are able to discern how and why things affects us internally; that these are actually parts of the building blocks of what it means to be peacemakers where we get to show up in difficult situations and help cultivate true peace to those around us? I know this is the journey I’ve been trying to discover with the Lord.
As we go through the series on becoming Communities of Transformation, I encourage you to continue learning what it means to become emotionally healthy in your spiritual walk and what it is to be fully alive in Jesus. Let the difficult moments and your responses become a feedback. Use it as your own internal measurement on how you are growing in the fruit of the spirit (not just self-control). And I encourage you to practice and pay attention to opportunities that you might encounter where you get to show up as a peacemaker in someone’s life.