Wednesday, October 30, 2013

First world problems

As I finished writing yesterday's post, I considered add in a little line at the bottom about knowing that in the great scheme of things, this was a trivial problem. Then I decided that it seemed pretty obvious that the whole trivial episode ended in my owning up to my poor behavior, but once again, I'm reminded that tone in writing doesn't always come through.

Because I do know that a movie not arriving the second I expect it hardly worth getting my pants in a knot over; it's one of those first world problems, a problem with abundance. Yet I find it is these types of problems that trip me up more than the 'big' ones. For the big things... finances, difficult children, health issues... they feel so big and possibly so overwhelming, that I know I cannot even begin to deal with them. I have no expectations except that God is going to take care of them in the best way possible, even if that turns out not to be the way I would have arranged things. (And I'm great at deciding for God what is going to be the best. Thankfully, He doesn't pay much attention to my arrangements.) I'm not in control and thus have few expectations which means my fits of temper of irritation at them are relatively few.

Not so for those minor problems and irritations. I usually still have the misconception that I have some control over those things and therefore often have unrealistic expectations. And unrealistic expectations more often than not end up with me becoming irritated and/or disappointed. It doesn't seem to matter that I should be thankful I live in a place with stores that sell everything and anything, I still get annoyed (and sometimes ridiculously so) when they have every size except the one I need. It doesn't seem to matter that I should be thankful that I can have movies of my choice delivered to my doorstep and that I have the money to pay for them and the machines to play them on, I am still bothered when it doesn't work they way the company says it will. The list of small irritations can go on and on... cars that don't work when we want, appliances that don't have all the features we would like, clothes that aren't the newest, cell phones that stop working, children who leave multiple pairs of shoes lying around, food that isn't quite to our liking, etc., etc.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one to get tripped up over things such as these. I'm also pretty sure that I'm not the only who knows that my level of frustration and irritation is often greater than most of the situations warrant. Sin stinks and it's hard to get away from it sometimes. And since I'm not the only to experience this, I think there are two things we can learn from our inability to always think rationally and in perspective. The first is that it helps us remember that it is a lie when we tell ourselves if we just had more, we would be better, happier, saner. If that were the case, our current state of affluence (and for the vast majority of us that is the state we live in) would have already made us pretty darn happy. More stuff, more options, better, faster, smarter does not equal happiness or contentment. The second is that we are all pretty much cut from the same sinful cloth and we will all react our of proportion at some time or another. Let's give each other some grace. We've all been there whether we admit it to others or not, and we know how far a kind word can go when in that state.

All that said, I really do think I was completely justified at my temper tantrum at the dog last night. I settling into bed to read a good book when I noticed my arm felt damp. Upon further investigation, I discovered that at some point the dog had gotten on my bed and peed on the down duvet and wool blanket. Oh, so not happy.

3 comments:

Jan said...

loved loved this!!!! yes, it is the little things that can get my panties in a wad more often than i like to admit :) xoxo

Lucy said...

I think getting cranky at little things is a "first world" problem only if the uneven emotions are a result of our first world diet, and they might very well be at that.

As far as they are a reflection of our sinful nature, there is nothing exclusively "first world" about that.

MamaJenny said...

I was feeling frustrated that so many people missed the fact that the point of your last post was recognizing you had overreacted. They perhaps, overreacted? :) I think this post is a very nicely done, impressively meek response.

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