Pam Taylor - Christian Life Coach

Grumblings. A 4th of July Story.

Every year since I moved downtown, I’ve dreaded the 4th of July. It was high on my list of things I had to just “get through”. Survival of the fittest mentality took over…which meant THEY always win! And I always lose!

“THEY” were the carnival people. They came into our town in the dark of night and disrupted–no, prevented–my sleep for literally the entire night. They set everything up only one block from my apartment building. By morning I could see the Farris Wheel through the trees and the merry-go-round at the end of the alley, along with all the fast and furious rides looming and blocking the sky from my view. Let the festivities begin!

It’s a really big deal — 4th of July Independence Day here in this town. The town doubles or triples in size the week of July 4th. All week long the loud music blared and destroyed my peace. And it got even louder after dark, when I wanted to sleep. In my mind, I felt I had a right to have my town back. It didn’t feel safe when they were here. The carnival brought a lot of strangers to town. People arrived from far and wide.

Every year I grumbled. Every year I murmured. Because even the day they left town they would tear everything down and pack it up all through the night. Another night of absolutely NO sleep. Grumble! Murmur!

Every year I felt superior, but I didn’t call it that. (I’m not sure what label my Pharisee mindset put on my feelings to justify them). I just knew that my comfort was infringed upon and sleep was impossible. (Oswald Chambers said, “Pride is the deification of self.” OUCH!)

Then…there was a change…I was stunned…God turned my murmurings to gladness! Let me tell you how that happened…
Last year — 2011 — something changed. I changed. Actually, God changed me. Unexpectedly…without warning, God showed up and showed me His heart. And then He showed me my heart in comparison! UGH! It was not a pretty sight!!!

He gave me His heart for the people that actually BLESS our town with the carnival every year. What’s going on here?? What did I just say?? Let me tell you how that mindset shift happened…

The youth of my church (Zion Lutheran Church in Clear Lake, IA) made yummy & nourishing individual breakfast meals for the set-up crew on the morning after the all night set-up of the carnival. And the youth let me help them put it all together into bags. Then, we went to the carnival area and hand-carried a meal to each person individually…along with coffee and/or bottled water. I had a blast! We all had a blast! It was so much fun! And…The carnival crew were so grateful.

The youth and youth leaders taught me…no…they modeled something to this “grown up” (I use the term loosely). They modeled TRUE Christian love! It was their vision and hard work that made it happen.

I have more stories to tell you sometime about that week! It was a week of mental shift, spiritual growth, and a transformed mind!

I will tell you that I have some new friends & mentors since that day. And I will tell you that they (the youth, youth leaders, and the carnival crew) modeled grace and mercy and true caring for “one another” for me. I learned a lot that week and it has stayed with me all year and you know what? For the first time…I can’t wait to hear the all-night-sounds of the carnival setting up, because that will mean more opportunities to learn what it really means to truly live in Christian community.

Yup! Last year I also discovered that the Carnival is owned and operated by Christians who run a “tight ship” and that they purposefully model and mentor the Christian walk to their employees. (BTW, we are again making breakfasts in a bag to take to the hard workers that bring the carnival to our town for the 4th of July. Can’t wait!)

I’m so glad that God is a patient Father because I have a lot to learn! ‘Scuze me while I go wash the egg off my face. I’ve been busted by God! Again! and you know what? It FEELS like LOVE! Here’s what God says about it…

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit in without thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-informed maturity in you.” (Romans 12:1,2 THE MESSAGE translation)

God the Father loves us enough to take the time to mentor us toward maturity. And when we are His, that feels like LOVE!

I don’t want to grow old without growing up, do you?

Filed under: Holidays,Spiritual Life — Tags: , , , — Pam Taylor @ 4:20 pm

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