The alert sounds just as I pull into my parking spot at work. The front passenger tire has low pressure.
I hear the hiss of air streaming out of the tire as soon as I get out of the car.
But I’ve been here before, so I don’t panic. I let my lunch date know I’ll have to miss her in lieu of getting my tire patched at noon.
I make the call to AAA, and someone is scheduled to meet me in about an hour to replace my tire with the spare.
I thank God for AAA, for the spare in my trunk, and the tire place just up the road from work. I add a quick request — please let my tire be fixable.
All of this before I sit down at my desk to begin the day. The Monday.
But on this Monday, I’m able to see the turn of events for what it is — a nuisance that can be handled in about an hour during lunch — rather than a day-defining event.
It’s about 6:30 p.m. now, and I’m watching my Kindergartner play basketball in the gymnasium of our local YMCA. He makes five baskets during warm-ups. A career high.
The events of this morning are a distant memory.
It’s not lost on me that one bad thing at the start of my day didn’t lead to a “bad day.” A younger me would have allowed this, plus a series of other daily nuisances, to define my day.But I know that a bad thing doesn’t have to mean a bad day. And a bad day doesn’t have to mean a bad week. A bad week doesn’t define my month or my year. And the worst thing doesn’t have to define my life.
God defines it for me.
The stories in the Old Testament, the ones that tell of God’s people, show me the God who defines me. Challenges that could be deadly, prove to be fertile ground for victory and God’s glory (see David and Goliath). Mistakes that could have defined a man provide the backdrop for God’s unmerited blessing (see Jacob). Elsewhere in the Bible, God says who I am (1 Peter 2:9). And that should define my day, my week, my year. My life.
What makes a life? The hundreds of small, faithful decisions we make by the power of the Holy Spirit. These are the decisions we make that can almost surprise us as they remind us who God says we are.
The decision to forgive swiftly. Who is this selfless person I’m becoming?
The decision to speak kindly. When did this patience grow in me?
The decision to bite my tongue. I do have a bit of self control, don’t I?
The decision to stand firm. I fight for what is right.
The decision to follow through on a commitment. I persevere.
The decision to just let it go. I am not too proud.
The decision to actually own my life. I have a race to run.
The decision to trust God. No matter what. I trust.
The trick is knowing that these decisions are mine to make. I get to choose to learn who God made me to be.
And then, I get to decide to be her.