While traveling over the weekend, I found myself at the mercy of the TSA agent. I wasn’t sure if she was having a not so great work day, or if us “travelers” had gotten on her last nerve. Mind you, it was only 8:30am, but nonetheless she wasn’t having “it.” At any rate, provoking fear was her weapon of choice. She forbad anyone to move forward to place their items on the conveyer belt until she angrily provided the invitation. No instructions, just demands. I’d watched the victims ahead of me and elected to take notice to their demonstration. When she called me forward and didn’t have to yell, she gave me a nod to stand in line for the security screening. Not long thereafter, I watched one of my bins assume the alternate route, which meant my bag was going to be inspected. When the second attendant looked inside my bag, she said, “You have a laptop inside.” I responded, “Yes. I wasn’t told to remove it; in fact the agent on the aisle over from us stated that it wasn’t necessary to remove our electronic devices.” She responded, “That’s for aisle 5 and 6, but not this one. I’ll have to run your bag back through.” I apologized and continued to wait. There were two people after me that had the same issue and shared, “We weren’t told that information.” I looked at the agent and chuckled. She then realized that there was a breach of communication, resulting in additional time and effort being exhausted because one person elected not to share vital information. As I gathered my bags, I overheard the same conversation playing out again with another traveler. After taking the tram to my terminal, I stopped by the restroom and noticed that the attendant in that space was overly communicating. She was thoughtful about pointing and even ushering folx to an open stahl. She greeted everyone. She wished everyone safe travels. She was the polar opposite of the person at the TSA area. Just shy of being “judgy,” I recalled how God must feel about me and my response to circumstances. Do I mirror the person that was causing a traffic jam in the screening area or the person who directs others to openings with compassion?
Sometimes I am the frustrated TSA employee and other times, I’m content to be in messy, gritty and thankless but necessary spaces in life. Thank God for Jesus who elects not to discard me when I’m not at my best. His grace and mercy runs me back through the screening instruments of His Word, prayer, worship, confession and solace with other saints, granting me time and space to be still, appreciate where I am and prepare myself for the next leg of the journey. Philippians 4:11-13 admonishes the following: “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” When we find ourselves in the most difficult spaces of them all, we can rest in God in the secret of being able to do all things as we hold close to His heart and His hand. The woman in the restroom demonstrated to me yet again that we can be content wherever we find ourselves and bring joy to others. When each of us “do our part” and are responsible for what God has entrusted us with, others don’t have to go back and engage a “do-over” because we failed the first time. Each of us holds the ability to move things along or stifle them from moving forward as a result of our demeanor and for the “youngins,” our energy. How we deploy it or damage others in the process is totally within our realm of control and influence.
God desires to show us great and mighty things, but He can’t use us when we are so busy pointing out the speck in other’s eyes while ignoring the plank in our own. We were not called to be perfect, but we were called to serve a perfect God. As we do that, we can find happiness in the most mundane because we know and are convinced that our reward is just a praise away. In a world that is fast paced and driven by technology, we must consider the devices we carry on our person. Dictionary.com defines device as, “a thing made or adapted for a particular purpose.” Coincidently, the “device” in my bag was the culprit of the delay and the additional screening. God birthed us into the earth for a purpose. We can choose to be a conduit and obedient in our calling in the world or we can operate in resistance and slow the progression of those around us who are attempting to act as the device God purposed them to be. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to slow anyone down to hinder God’s intentions.