I was standing outside as we were wrapping up our church middle school program for the night. That’s when a kid I had been hanging out with came up to me, sat down and wrapped his arms and legs around my leg and started telling jokes. A couple of them were pretty funny, most of them were corny, and one or two weren’t quite appropriate. He even drew a little audience. All while wrapped around my leg. After about 15 minutes or so he gets up and goes and does something else. I was pretty surprised when someone came up to me after he left and told me, “You are so patient.”
I don’t think anyone that knows me well actually would describe me as patient. I don’t think it would even make the top 100. I have to laugh today in thinking about it, because just that morning I was getting extremely frustrated when my computer was acting up and taking a few extra minutes to do some stuff. A few more minutes and I might have thrown it out the window in frustration. (I certainly threatened it with that fate!) I’m not patient, by a long shot.
There are a lot of things I am, by nature, not. I’m not by nature very loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle or self-controlled. And yet, particularly on the things I struggle most with on that list–joyfulness, peacefulness, patience, and gentleness–there are times that I feel my heart has overflown with those qualities and it could all come oozing out of my nose at any moment.
Why such a drastic difference? Is there something wrong with me? Am I schizo? Well, maybe, but I think those times when I have more compassion and empathy than I know what to do with are the times when it is Christ in me that is acting. I live my life mostly as AJ would live his life. It is not such a great place.
But there are times when my perspective could not possibly be AJ’s perspective. When my reaction could not possibly be my own reaction. Something trips, and I become a whole different person. Christ in me.
Should this be at all a surprise to anyone? That is the whole promise of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit are all these good things. (Galatians 5:22-24)
What is a surprise is why, having experienced life the way it was meant to be experienced, I would ever choose to go back to the way AJ would normally operate. Why have I not crucified the flesh with all its passions and desires, as Paul so eloquently described it?
I don’t really know, but I have a new prayer. A prayer that my new norm becomes Christ in me, always. I want to see people with the same loving eyes that Jesus uses, I want to have the same response, always. No exceptions. No excuses. This will be tough, will you pray for me?