How to Turn Aggravation into Opportunity
I was already in a bad mood when I arrived at the doctor’s office. Add an extra helping of unnecessary aggravation, and my attitude turned downright sour.
Let’s just say I’ve needed orthodontic care so long, I’ve seen the retirement of two doctors. Even after wearing braces for four years as a teenager, (the full bracket kind, replete with headgear, folks) and two years as an adult, (aaaannnnnd surgery for TMJ), my jaw slips out of socket and my teeth won’t stay aligned. When options boiled down to an $8,000 surgery to break and reset my jaw – um, no thank you – or Invisalign, well, I chose the latter.
So here I was, ready to get my impressions and pay my down payment, when we hit a snag. I had my bank account and routing number from my personal savings account all ready when the accountant let me know the funds had to be automatically withdrawn from a checking account. After 15 minutes of haggling over a solution, I lifted my cell phone to flushed cheeks and called my husband, Dale.
“Hey, I don’t know what to do but this account won’t work for automatic withdrawal,” I said with a twinge of irritation.
“I’m almost to the bank. Let me run in and see what we need to do.”
30 minutes later, my jaw sore from probing and impressions complete, Dale called back.
“It’s all squared away. They switched your account from a savings to credit, but they didn’t know why the doctor’s office couldn’t just take it. They said that’s never happened before. Call me back when you’re done.”
It wasn’t until I left the office that I realized the unnecessary aggravation was a set-up for divine opportunity.
Dale began to tell me what happened in the bank…
We’ve used this bank for over 15 years, so the manager said she would help me switch everything, even though she didn’t see why we needed to. In the middle of the business transaction, her voice quivered.
“Dale, can I ask you a personal question?”
She hesitated. “If you don’t like somebody, are you going to go to hell?”
My husband adjusted from patron mode to pastor mode. “Well, I don’t think so but…is there anything you want to talk about?”
“No… I just don’t know why bad things happen to good people and bad people continue to get away with things. I don’t want to start crying.”
She shifted back to business until she couldn’t hold back her tears.
“My mom passed away last week, and this is my first day back.”
He offered his sincere condolences and identified with her ache, having lost his dad just a few years ago. As she shared, her pain became palpable.
“My niece is not making good choices. She’s a terrible parent, and now I’m raising the child she had out of wedlock. She just keeps on being irresponsible, and she’s pregnant again. Why would God allow my mom – a good, loving mom – to die unexpectedly of cancer, and yet allow this mom to go on acting the way she is.”
Ah, the truly gut-wrenching questions of life. We’ve all been there…when the pain of a situation threatens to strangle our joy. Dale continued to talk to her, ministering to her broken heart. They finished the business matter and she wiped her tears.
“Dale Donadio, you were just supposed to come to this bank today. This shouldn’t have even happened – that company should’ve been able to take funds out of either account. But I needed to hear what you had to say.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call a divine appointment. Sometimes we get so frustrated with unnecessary aggravation that we miss the divine opportunity. When we look through the lens of God’s perspective, we realize that He can actually set up aggravation as an opportunity to bring hope and healing.
So how do we turn aggravation into opportunity?
Listen. Dale was barely 3 weeks out of knee replacement surgery. Yet he chose to be fully present, and actively listen. He wasn’t on his phone, in a rush, or spiritually unprepared. It’s amazing what God can do with us when we’re ready and listening.
Empathize. To enter into someone else’s pain requires us to be dependent on the Holy Spirit and vulnerable. Dale shared some of his own emotions during a difficult season of his life, letting her know that she wasn’t alone in her struggle. Empathy is powerful. Use it lavishly.
Ask. Most people want to unburden their heart, and many are open to prayer. Stay sensitive to the needs of others and the voice of the Holy Spirit. Dale asked open-ended questions and let her control the direction and pace of the conversation.
The next time a situation begins to frustrate you, look for the divine set-up. God may be trying to develop His character in you and use you to encourage someone else. Stay open to a possibility that you didn’t see at first glance. It might just be opportunity knocking.
Make Your Life Matter No Matter What
Facing a situation that’s strangling your joy? My new Bible Study, “Finding Joy When Life is Out of Focus,” will help you look through the lens of God’s perspective and love the life you see! Order on my website or your favorite online store.
Follow me on my adventures!
Last month my husband, Dale, and I led a team of nearly 30 to Israel! We had an amazing experience walking where Jesus walked and I filmed the video resource for my next Bible Study launching October 1st, 2019! I also had the honor of speaking at “PINK’D OUT” at Zion Church, an event honoring brave, cancer-fighting women. Check out pictures from October at my Gallery here! If you’d like to see where I’ll be next, visit my Schedule page here!
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart! Listen to how I’m navigating this season of being a mom to 2 young adults on Carol McLeod’s podcast, “The Joy of Motherhood.”
It was an honor to interview live with Rev/Rabbi Eric Walker for his broadcast, “Igniting A Nation.” His questions and responses challenged me and expanded my frame around my near-death experiences. Watch the interview here!