A Choice to Shred

This article is an entry in the MAI Devotional Writing Contest. Try your hand at a 400-word devotional to encourage fellow writers worldwide. See contest guidelines and rules.

By Patrick Obinna Anyanwu, Nigeria

I sat on my bed gazing at my laptop …. Or perhaps it was gazing at me. “Write something. Anything!” it beckoned. But I felt like a pressure cooker with a faulty valve. All churnings and steam trapped in. I knew instinctively how bombs are made. In my mind I pictured the wearied wheels of a book cart noisily rolling down to “let off” some books by a heap. “That is not me!” I protested.

But how could my heart feel so full? So run-out-of-space? I stack my books neatly. stack of old books FreedigitalphotosLike one defragmenting a hard drive, I am careful to arrange the hurts and ambiguities of the day in very nice piles. Sortable piles. Like a robot, I can retrieve the files that have my wife’s disrespectful attitude from ten years ago and my boss’ indiscretion five days back. In fact, I do feel proud of my organizational skill. And to be sure, I do not hate them or any other person for that matter. In fact, I love them. The only problem is that the hold, my heart, is bursting, and worse, feels poisoned with a smoldering mind and pen crippling venom. How in the world did I get here?

“…live a life worthy of the calling …. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:1&2)

Superb last phrase. And that has been my basis for “stacking,” but also my pain. The files were meant to be trashed. Bearing or forbearance, it appears is meant to help me make room for my subordinate’s insolence yesterday and how he may treat me tomorrow. A mechanism to help me shift my perceptions so that other people and their idiosyncrasies can find room in my otherwise choking world.

All it achieves: Defragment my hard drive – my heart, the source of my life’s issues. Could that be the reason for a large, accommodating heart? But I have mistaken that for forgiveness, which I guess is like trashing – removing from storage, pulling out of the archive and shredding permanently. I am learning that though I have a great capacity to bear and forbear, the files are not to stay forever nor does forbearance automatically translate to forgiveness.

Lord, I can’t wait to exhale. Help me find the courage today to step over the threshold of forbearance and shred those stack piles permanently. Amen.

Patrick is a missionary with Calvary Ministries CAPRO, a cross-cultural missions agency working in 35 countries in Africa, the Middle-East and Europe. He is part of the ministry’s media operations and operates from the international office in Lagos, Nigeria, with his wife, Ijeoma and their five children. Patrick loves to serve.

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Photo above courtesy Freedigitalphotos

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