Monday, February 11, 2013

What keeps you from cracking?

Mondays are notorious for being frustrating and full of issues. They're the days when getting up is the hardest, there are a million phone calls at work, a family member gets deathly ill and just when you think it is all over, you arrive home to a messy house. How do you keep from cracking under all of the pressure?
We've had chickens for as long as I can remember. Everyday we had to feed them, water them and get the eggs. The biggest pain was cleaning out the chicken coop. As you can imagine, it was extremely dirty and very deep with crud and we'd have to scoop it out shovel by shovel. Needless to say chickens aren't one of my favorite hobbies but from them I've learned some valuable lessons. 
Have you ever had chicken eggs that had soft shells? If they weren't soft, I'm sure there has been times when the shells were much thinner than usual. The reason that chicken egg shells get this way is that they lack calcium. Thus, many chicken owners feed their hens oyster shells. That's right! These shells keep a high level of calcium in the hen's diet and it is this calcium that allows egg shells to be hard and durable. 
So, I ask you, what's your oyster shell? What keeps you strong? I know in my own life that if I don't stay focused on my list of priorities I begin to let little things get to me. I am easily agitated and it is not a long trip for me to arrive at my wits end. 
So I have three options:

1. I can allow myself to be like the soft shelled egg, vulnerable without a shell around me and I will quickly crack. My best idea for preventing this from happening is waking up just about 30 minutes earlier. During this extra time  I focus my day by reading a devotional and giving my day to God. I ask Him to use me in the way He sees fit. This totally works because on the days I miss my devotion time I am crabby and irritated all day long - very easy to crack. 

2. I can allow myself to turn hard hearted and insensitive towards others, like an egg that boils under pressure. It's become a popular way to conduct ourselves in our modern culture. We blame someone else, say it's their problem and assume that it is our right to be grumpy. I love the saying, "A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you can't go very far until you change it." We are supposed to reach out to others in love. In no way do we ever "deserve" to run around grumpy and uncaring. Don't let pressure "boil" you. 

3. I can clean my "coop". No, I don't mean a real coop but the coop of our lives. Sometimes stuff gets so built up that the diseases of hate, bitterness, covetousness and self pity begin to spread. We may get so deep in it that we aren't even sure what went wrong. Every hurt relationship we rebuild, word of encouragement or forgiveness we send, each time we do something for someone else and when we deal with  issues God's laid on our hearts, we are taking another shovel scoop of chicken crud out of the coop of our lives. It is often times the hardest part but it is also the most rewarding after you've finished. 

So now, being part way through  your Monday, be encouraged because every time God puts a test in front of us, he is molding and shaping us into the people he made us to be!

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