Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Competitiveness, Jealousy and Invincibility

So, yesterday wasn't such a good day. I drove in to PE to visit some people. The Methodist Church where we had our phase 1 college was robbed of the Sunday collection on Monday morning while the admin lady was counting it. The bishop's secretary hauls out a newspaper and says 'did you see this?' An Anglican priest has been murdered at the college in Grahamstown (the town where I stay). I go to the Christian bookshop - 'we had all our takings stolen this morning'. The bishop's secretary says there is just a feeling of oppression around.
So, I got five hours sleep last night and woke up feeling grumpy and bad tempered. At least I knew it would be a busy day, so I would cope. Spent three and half hours in 30 degree heat driving around the township taking communion to the elderly. I don't mind doing this, but by the time I was saying the communion liturgy for about the fifteenth time my mind was wandering all over and I felt I was letting the people down. My husband smses to say that we lost the option to rent a house in Pietermaritzburg that the family was hoping to stay in.
I guess I was feeling pretty flat by this time. Get home, check in to the internet. Load Facebook and there are the chirpy doings of my less busy, higher achieving friends. I just wanted to give up and go home. I hated them for a moment. There is some competitiveness in me that I see when I am at my weakest. You can't beat me. You may not do better than me. You can't have more friends than me or more blog readers than me or a better ministry than me. So there! I know that competetiveness is always there, but usually it is controlled (not always in the best way, but that's another story . . .) It frightened me to see it so near the surface at that moment when I felt so insecure.
I've got a Learning Partnership meeting tonight. I didn't want to go feeling like this. The heat is oppressive. It physically drains me. But it's 5 o'clock and I'm going to run. I'm going to do my longer route. I've gone 200m and I feel the life pour back in. I am invincible. I can run forever. And I do. There's a male runner pounding it out ahead of me. Wow, he's going. I'm not that good. But check out that stomach - I guess running doesn't help you lose weight. There it is again. Can't let anyone beat me. I catch up with him a little way on. He's walking now. Everyone's walking now, except me. The route that took me twenty minutes last time took me fifteen today.
What am I doing with my life? What is God doing?


Gigi said...

praying for you to fall smack dab into His ridiculous GRACE..... Grace it fits here...:)

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Thank you Becky! Yes, I need him right now.

Steven Jones said...

I'm not sure if this will make you feel better or worse, but you probably saw from my post yesterday thst my ministry has also seen some better days. Much prayer is needed. Will continue to pray for you.

Neill said...

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!'

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it!'

'You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?'

He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood can choose to be in a bad mood

I choose to be in a good mood.'

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or...I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.

'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices.. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations.. You choose how people affect your mood.

You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life'

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?'

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.'

'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked.

He continued, '...the paramedics were great.

They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action.'

'What did you do?' I asked.

'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply.
I took a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity''

Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live.. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude...I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything .

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' Matthew 6:34.

After all, today is the tomorrow you worried about.... yesterday.

You know the choice I made.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Thanks Neill, that's a good reminder.