Only a Test?

I smile a lot.

Not just because I’m generally a happy person, but because I often feel like I’m on Candid Camera, and I want to make sure they’ve got my best side. Unfortunately, no one has come out of the woodwork to tell me I was going to be a television star.  Maybe my whole life is on Candid Camera? Maybe this is The Truman Show? Maybe I need some chocolate.  Yeah, that’s probably it.

Sometimes, though, you have to wonder.  Are these people for real? Is this how they live their daily lives? Can they vote? Do they really have a drivers license? When do I meet Snookie?  On the other hand, I’ve often found myself in the same herd as “those” people.  Making silly decisions and asking why they don’t salt the inside of a sunflower seed instead of wasting it on the outside.  My poor husband can attest to the many things he’s restrained himself from posting on Facebook.

Other times, the situations aren’t so entertaining. I frequently check in on a blog called Neon Fresh and, a couple of days ago, the author (Roo) posted about an experience she had with a rep from her credit card company that ended up making her lose her patience.  Her Preacher’s wife told her that these moments were to be thought of as character tests, and she should think that her only job is to pass them.


Character is defined as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” In the past couple of weeks, I’ve faced a few of these character tests.  Some of them are repeatedly issued. I’d be willing to say we face them nearly daily.  Boss is a jerk? Character test.  Lady in front of you in the 25 items or less line has 43 items? Character test.  Son spilled Kool-Aid on the new white carpet? Character, patience and does-nature-really-make-me-want-to-protect-my-young test.  I’d have to admit, I’ve not always passed these tests (except the last one. His carpet may have some new red tie-dye, but he doesn’t seem to mind).  In fact, as I grow daily, I often find in reflection ways that would have been much more effective in coping with these situations.  I talk about them.  Out loud. To myself in the shower.  It’s not weird.  Right? Totally not weird.

What Roo’s blog didn’t say, but what I was haunted by, was what comes next.  After passing a character test, I think we’re often tasked with a “Grace” test.

The word “Grace” comes from the latin “gratia” meaning “pleasing or thankful.”  In the above situations, being “pleasing” and/or “thankful” are not my immediate reactions.  No… screaming, yelling and dirty looks come so much more inherently. While Christian character is defined by the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23– “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”), I don’t always find my own imperfect heart defaulting to these things.  It’s a process.  As God strips away the old, He doesn’t do it secretly (and, it’s not always painless).  Often, as I’ve heard said, He issues the test before the lesson. And, why not? Shouldn’t we clearly see what we’re lacking before trying to understand how we can improve?

Yesterday, I had a character test and today I’m facing my grace test.  After a terrible day at work, I went home and cried. Like a baby.  I don’t cry a lot, but when I do the flood gates open.  It was loud enough that my husband came running into our bedroom to see what was going on.  He’s the strong, silent type.  So he did what he does best- he listened.

This morning, I woke up with a still heavy heart. I dreaded coming in today and I wanted to avoid contact with the boss all together.  I talked to God on my commute  and whined some more.  “But, I don’t deserve to be treated this way.  I give respect to others, so why am I not seeing that reflected in my direction? What gives anyone the right to be such a jerk?”  I was reminded of someone else that faced a lot of opposition that He didn’t deserve.  Then my prayer changed a bit.  I asked that God give me the words to say as I walked into the Lion’s den.  Make every word count.  Make them a reflection of my status as a daughter of the King.  I prayed for my boss and for his well being.

Today, my task is to be a light and show grace when I have the opportunity.  It’s hard and it’s bitter and it would be so much easier to be hateful.  However, all that does is give way to the snowball effect.

So, today I’ll smile and remind myself to show mercy when the opportunity is offered to me.  I may not end up on some random Camera TV show, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an audience.

Some thoughts:

  • Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:11-12
  •  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, -Matthew 5:44
  •  The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.-2 Timothy 2:24-26
  • Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. –James 1:12

Sending Love,



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