Have you ever not realized that you were in the middle of a test until you were halfway through? I’ve long been praying to God for more patience and better conflict handling techniques. I usually take “flight” and this tends to leave the problems unresolved.
Recently, I went on a trip with a person that I couldn’t possibly be more different from. We have different personalities, value systems…just everything. It’s not that we hated each other or that it was impossible for us to get along- it just took some work.
The trip was about a week or so long and I found myself getting annoyed by day 2. I was tired and hungry. Perhaps I even had a slight case of the hangries. Anyway, the person that I was traveling with did not use the manners that I, a southern belle :), was raised to have. I found the person being rude to service people and even snapping at me. It just was not turning out to be a very pleasant experience. This culminated in us having a brief discussion about how things could improve. My travel companion quickly brought things to my attention I was doing that I had been asking God to help deliver me from. I should have been exercising more patience instead of flighting the situation. I was so disappointed in myself. All of the hard work that I had been putting in and here I was repeating the same patterns.
For the next half an hour or so, I prayed and asked God for help. This was a test. A hard one. I began to analyze myself and my own actions as much as I was analyzing my companions. I made a sincere effort for the rest of the trip to be more patient, kind and to let my companion know when they did something that I found completely objectionable. I find it wise to pick your battles when faced with situations like this. Not everything is worth an argument. Through this experience I realized that I don’t have to be comfortable with a person’s actions. Truth be told, they might just decide to continue with their course just to make me uncomfortable; I can’t control that. I can only control myself. Whether I chose to refrain from association with that person or not, I just have to be able to handle myself in a way that honors God and loves unconditionally.