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  • Writer's pictureBrandi Bourne

Failing the “P” test

I am good at those catchy titles huh. It is not what you think. The “P” stands for “patience.” See we used to have this running joke when I was in the East Texas Dream Center (discipleship program) that anytime something frustrating happened or we were stuck waiting for a long period of time, we would ask “who prayed for patience?!?” Now I have heard this in other ministries and churches too so I know a lot of you can relate. You see we recognized that a prayer for patience meant we would be tested in the area of – you guessed it, patience. Pray for strength – guess what? A wise woman I know once said “don’t pray for patience – pray for grace.” So, I admit to this day, I only pray for grace and if the “P” word comes out of my mouth I usually retract it with “grace, GRACE, I meant GRACE!” I admit I’ve also been bad in saying “patience is not my strong suit” knowing that words are powerful. So, take my advice and try not to say things like that! Life and death is in the power of our tongue (see Proverbs). But no matter what I pray, God is still going to test me in the area of patience because His desire is for me to build character. And I’m the one who said “yes Lord” no matter what comes.

So, here’s why I am saying all of this. Today I took my car to the dealership, knowing I would be saying goodbye to my car for who knows how long. I hope for 24 hours but dealerships are known to keep cars for excessive amounts of time. Since I lost my job, I am doing Uber/Lyft which requires me to have a car. So, I had already set up a rental back on Friday (today is Monday), paid and was ready to have it picked up at 10am. Now I wasn’t too keen on dropping my car off at 830am and having to wait until 10 for a rental, but I did not have a choice in the matter. So this morning, I hadn’t heard anything from the rental car place and I was a bit concerned. I waited an extra 30 minutes for the concierge/porter to arrive at the dealership, and due to being late to arrive to the rental car place I figured my car would be ready to go and I could finally get on the road and make some money this morning.

It is 11:17am. I am sitting in a very shady lobby awaiting my rental. The promised beautiful Hyundai Elantra is at the mechanic with no word on when it is coming up. I’ve been offered a Prius or a Kia Soul. Both cars I absolutely cannot stand. (I like Kia’s – I have an unexplainable hatred for “box cars.”) Both are much older cars that barely meet the standard for driving for Uber.

Now the company I used is called “HyreCar” and it is specifically for Uber and Lyft drivers. Though I found out later, you cannot drive for Lyft in a rental (unless it’s THEIR rental – and there are none available) only Uber. The rental company I will leave unnamed for the time being. Finally, a porter came in and told me I am getting a Prius and they are cleaning it out. But inside, I want to explode. I did express my disappointment to the person via “text” because that’s the only way that they are answering right now. I did not exactly show “Christlike character” in my messages (I didn’t cuss anyone out I just made sure to express my frustration and this companies’ absolute unprofessionalism.) I have failed the “P” test.

But – the full test is not over yet. I still have a chance to show kindness to these people when they hand me the keys. I can apologize for getting frustrated with them, though a “hint” of pride is SCREAMING when I type that right now. Is the company wrong for this? Absolutely. But I am not going to put them on blast. Who knows, maybe they will give me a hefty discount for my trouble.

The reason I am frustrated about the situation actually has nothing to do with the company. I am frustrated because I am thinking about how I am going to make up for the $274 I just spent on a rental this week and also pay the bills. I am thinking about how money is “running out” and my brain can’t analyze my way out of this. But our Pastor preached one heck of a message yesterday that has EVERYTHING to do with what is happening today. He started a new series about the miracles of Jesus, and the first one was the water to wine miracle in John 2. Now he dropped more truth bombs based on this passage of Scripture than I could put in a blog post so feel free to go check this out on your own –

But what really got my attention yesterday was the whole part about “running out.” If you’re not familiar with the story here’s the CliffsNotes version – Jesus is at a wedding, his mom informs him that the wine is running out. She tells the servants to do what Jesus says, He says to fill up the jugs with water and they do. The water turns to wine and the host is impressed they saved the best for last. Running out of wine at a wedding was a disastrous circumstance, and as our Pastor explained, one that could bring shame on the family. But in the overall picture of things, as far as Jesus coming to save the world – it seemed like something insignificant. But Jesus cared. He cared about what seemed to be a little thing, and it was the very first miracle He performed. That miracle was recorded for us to read 2000+ years later.

A challenging question was presented by our Pastor – “where do you go when you’re running low?” So here I am still sitting in this lobby, and I am running low. I am running low on money to provide not only for me and my son, but also for my sister now. I am running low on time today to make that money. I am running low on patience. Running low on joy. Running low on energy (and I am hungry now too). So – where do I go knowing I am running low?

It is funny because on the way to the dealership today I was pumped. I said aloud – “today, I am going to see a miracle!” But isn’t it funny how God does those His way? He isn’t subject to our will and our demands, oh no. We are subject to His. He loves us with an unconditional, everlasting love. But He loves us enough to not always give us what we want in the moment. God doesn't owe us ANYTHING. We owe Him EVERYTHING. I still believe I will see a miracle today. And when I do, you all will hear about it. But I have had to take a moment to go to Jesus because I am running low.

Something else that our Pastor brought up was a Scripture in Philippians I have heard 1000 times –

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

Or another version –

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV)

I do not know why, but hearing that verse just hit me different despite knowing it by heart. The minute I start to worry – that is when I need to stop and pray and bring that concern to God. I need to stop allowing those thoughts to stress me out, stop them in their tracks and PRAY. I did this last night. My mind started racing (which usually means I am not going to sleep very well) but I stopped and just started thanking God for what He was going to do today. I fell asleep quickly. So, as I sit here at what is now noon, as anxiety tries to rear up (and hunger…there are no restaurants around here), I will stay calm. I will trust that God has a plan and that the reason I am still sitting here is because there are passengers that really need to hear from Him today in this area that I am in now. Uber and Lyft might be a way to make an income, but the primary purpose is to build the Kingdom. Knowing that should give me all the assurance I need that He is going to take care of my family.

Since I started this post, I have been much nicer in my text messages. I am still not happy about it, but I have to learn to have joy in all circumstances – and that includes sitting in a shady building working with a shady rental car company. So at now 12:29pm – I hand this situation completely over to the Lord and I will hang out in this lobby and finish up this blog post until my laptop dies (knew I should have brought that darn charger).

I hope that this post is an encouragement to you. I hope that you can see that life isn’t perfect and we’re not always going to pass the tests that get thrown our way. But recognizing that it is a test is a start. God will use a variety of circumstances to test our character, they show us how far we have come and how far we have to go. Failure is going to happen, it’s a part of life. But so is winning/passing. We’re all going to encounter situations that are out of our control, what matters is our reaction to those situations. So good luck on your next “P” test!


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