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Dealing with a bad attitude

WARNING – If you’re hoping for inspiration, you’d do better to move along to someone else’s blog today. I’ll be back to normal tomorrow. How are those of you who are fasting doing? We’re on day three of this thing and my stomach is not happy with me. Another day or two of this and we coul…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
WARNINGIf you’re hoping for inspiration, you’d do better to move along to someone else’s blog today. I’ll be back to normal tomorrow.
How are those of you who are fasting doing? We’re on day three of this thing and
my stomach is not happy with me. Another day or two of this and we
could have a full-scale uprising on our hands.  Hard to be spiritual
when you’re feeling cranky.  In fact, you can just write off a lot of
this day as far as I’m concerned. 
Ever have a day like that?  OK, I never vent on you guys, can I just vent for a second?
First of all, I was going to miss my jog; it was raining buckets outside. OK, just one little dashed expectation  – no big deal.
Before leaving for the office I noticed that my credit card company hadn’t received the online payment I’d sent from my bank on December 19.  Instead, they’d charged me a finance charge.
So I called the credit card people.  What’s annoying about talking to credit card people is that you always have to deal with a pre-recorded-voicemail-jail-labyrinth to get to someone who may actually be able to help you.  I just mash the “zero” button at each level and usually that gets me to a human quick enough (btw, here’s a great web site to get numbers that get you to actual human beings: www.gethuman.com). 
Finally I get to a human.  Usually I will ask these people about their lives, but this time, we cut right to the chase:  Mother’s maiden name, date of birth, last 4 digits of social security #.
“No, we have no record of that payment.  You need to call your bank and have them send you evidence that they sent the money. ”
And so the games begin.  I  call the bank. Yes, the money was sent. 
“Can you fax it?” 
“No, we are an inbound center.” 
“What? Well, do  you have that information to fax to me?” 
“No, you have to call your local bank branch.”
“So, why am I talking to you if you can’t help me?”  (actually I didn’t say that, I just thought it)
So then I’m talking to the local branch lady.
“Can you fax it?”
“Yes, we can. Do you have a fax #?”
“Can’t you just fax it to the credit card company?”
“Yes, what’s their fax #?”
“Hang on, let me call them.”
More waiting. I get a human.  She says, “I’m sorry, our system is down and I don’t have the fax # memorized, please call back.”
So, I took a break and called back in the afternoon when my nerves were more settled.  Eric at the credit card place was nice.  Nevertheless, my ordeal with him took nearly an hour.  We went on a telephonic magical mystery tour of my bank trying to track down someone who knew something about where the payment had gone. 
At each juncture I tried to escape.  “Please, just let me go home. You’ve already got my personal information, you know I’m me.  Eric can finish this conversation off with you.” 
“No, we can’t do that sir; you’ll just have to wait.” 
And then Eric and I would be transferred to still more waiting-on-hold music followed by another person needing to know my mother’s maiden name.  Eric and I had mini-conversations along the way about getting home in time for a run and the merits of the insurance company’s bank.
Finally (after 5 pm now), we get to someone who knows something and says, “You can go home now.”
I’d been at home for a while and Eric called, “It got applied to your daughter’s car insurance account.”
So, I’m settled down now.  I don’t often have bad attitudes, but today most of the day I had a rotten attitude.  And, wanting to add value to you blog readers, normally I’d moralize and come up with some silver lining.  But, that’s not going to happen.  I’m hungry.  Me and my bad self are ready for bed.  I don’t know what Jesus thinks about all this, but maybe some of you can write that blog.  Hope you do better than I did.

Comments (24)

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    Misery truly loves company. My son’s basketball team lost to the hated rivals, while everyone was eating and drinking, my stomach was growling along with my big mouth. I started out really “holy” witnessing to a youth. Well, thank the Lord that she left, and I only had Christians around me to hear my stomach whine through my mouth. I wish I could sing my own praises on this, but alas! NOT! “””I””””was doing so well earlier today! I guess I now have add to my fast thoughts and words (bad fruit) – I am hungry for “think of these” thoughts, and words that give edification to the hearers.

  • This made me smile in empathy. Call centres, horrible on hold music you never want to hear again the rest of your life, people who can’t actually help despite being a help line, lost payments…….yup been there…..a lot lately over a crashing internet and failing phone line. Some days I think death’s too good for them! Resisted swearing at the people at the call centres but crash around the house complaining and swearing once I hang up about the idiots they are, the frustration they give me and the total waste of time it all was!

    Dross always rises to the surface in a fast. Horrible but true. If it’s there, it’s gonna come out. Personally I don’t need a fast to have it show! What does Jesus think? He’s smiling in empathy too, remembering some of the idiots he did wood working for, loving you just the same and He’s working on making you more like Him.

    Have a better day tomorrow! lol Cxx

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    Thanks Seth & Carol…AMEN! Right now I feel like the little child’s book “Where’s Waldo” in finding the likeness of Jesus in me…lol. However, I always did (DO) find him (JESUS).

  • Hunger is one thing. But I hate the multi-faceted manifestations of my flesh. Even faith in the results to come threatens to be swallowed up by feeling so very unspiritual in the process. When I find others that are on a fast and appear to have no struggles…serene and all that… it doesn’t help. So thanks for the honesty and to all those who commented. (And the “pre-recorded-voicemail-jail-labyrinth” is enough to set me off in my best moments.)

  • I was tired and grumpy all day yesterday and am amazed at how quickly I am tempted to throw in the towel! Last night especially my mind kept reminding me that a pepperoni pizza was only a phone call away… So after feeling sorry for myself that I could not eat anything, I realized that the orphans around the world also tired of not eating, only they’re stuck in their suffering while I am not. A glimmer of gratefulness mixed with serious conviction broke through my heart and I climbed in bed and read a book (instead of calling my good friend “Don”…..that is, Donatos). This morning I am refreshed and grateful I didn’t throw in the towel.

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    Hello All,
    Well, after night’s “Nightmare on Church Lane” (my address) my heart is ready for the day! I will be praying everyone, believing he will manifest himself in us during this fast.

  • I know it’s not polite to laugh at the pain of your day, but your post actually made me smile and laugh at my own. Why? Well, it made my Tuesday feel…well….normal.

    See, I had been dating a guy I met thru e-harmony a month ago and he decided to dump me yesterday by email. Yeah, dumped…..after 3 dates and numerous phone calls….

    I could have chosen to see this as a really bad thing and be buying stock in Puffs, but I do see my silver lining. I see that God cares so much for me that He chose to not allow me to get so far into a relationship that I have my heart broken. I also realized that all along I have been hearing from the Lord on this and He has given me discernment….I just needed perhaps to act on what He was telling me a little sooner. I don’t have any regrets about getting to know the person. Am glad for it actually, as along the way, I find that my relationship with the Lord means more to me than ever and I’m not willing to compromise on THAT relationship!

    I love that God loves us to the depths of ourselves…cares about even the bad attitudes, the tough breaks, the relationships we are in and holds us in the hollow of His hand. The beginning of Ps 18:30 says, “As for God, His way is perfect…” Yeah, gonna stand in that and keep trusting Him! He is in it all…..I don’t know if what I wrote means anything to anyone else….all I know is, I know that even in my “bad” days, I am loved by a God who ultimately has my best in mind and loves me with an intensity and depth that I continue to stand in awe of….He cares about all of my days!

    Thanks for being honest, Seth!

  • i’m just glad to know you have normal struggles just like the rest of us 😉 thanks for your honesty! deep breath…hang in there!

  • Seth, it’s nice to know that you are human like the rest of us. Actually, it is strange but the opposite happened with me. My lack of food lessened my normal aggressive tendencies, not sure why. Maybe it is because I felt weaker. I didn’t feel the need to expend my limited amount of energy by getting worked up about trivial matters. Yikes, is food my enemy? I don’t think so but I certainly feel more spiritually in tune when I don’t eat during the day.

  • Seth, your post, as well as the comments, has rejuvenated and encouraged me. It has also reminded me of the battle, and something in my spirit is rising up to fight spiritually for you, my friends, the kids I serve, and a host of other people and circumstances. I don’t think I’ll ever understand fasting (maybe I need to do it more often), but I know that God honors it somehow, and I am trusting Him to do so, even when I’m struggling to honor Him in the midst of it. Have a great day.

  • Baa~hahahahaha! You’re the best, Seth! The only thing worse than having to deal with automated operators, is dealing with human ones!

    Praying for you today and always! Day 3 for me is quite amazing… Chris broke his with pep pizza last night. The boy went 2 days though! Great job for his first one. It is all I could want.

  • So were you able to minister to Eric? Sounds like God gave you a long time with him.

    Makes me think of Isaiah 58:4 (since you are having some of us read this) – “Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.” Maybe this was the reason that verse stuck out to me today when I reread Isa 58….

    Hang in there! I had to break the fast today, so I could give blood. Will pick the fast back up tonight.

  • Hats off to you Seth!!!

    Ive never fasted in my life.I went all day withour eating many years ago and ended up being rushed to hospital due to crashing sugar levels( I wasnt fasting, just skipped meals due to travelling!).

    So whether you do it with a good attitude or a bad attitude at least you have the willpower to do it at all!

    (The call center episode was funny though, made me smile!)

  • thanks for the rallying words of encouragement folks. Shawn – I thought about ministering more to Eric, but the muzak would swell loudly in the background every time we were on hold together. it was pretty comical all the various voices that would join us off and on. I think if I were talk to him again, that we’d discover we bonded a bit.

  • I dealt with the insurance company yesterday with a similar thing. They said that we didn’t sign something so i asked for the papers again. They said they couldn’t send them.

    I told them that the ones they sent were all blurry. They said that they knew that, but sent them any way. (Apparently, the toner was low in the printer, and it being the end of the year and all, they didn’t think about changing it. Didn’t think I’d mind or something.)

    I told them that I can’t sign something that I don’t know what it says. They said that it says the same thing as my other documents (which I was supposed to have received months ago) said.

    “Great,” I said. “Just email me those.”

    “We can’t,” they replied. And on and on the dance went until they emailed me the documents (surprise, surprise). Sometimes, I wonder if they’re just too lazy or caught up in bureaucratic systems. Sheesh – give me a break, people.

  • I didn’t see this until today (the 7th) but can appreciate your comments. I spent over an hour yesterday dealing with my bank after the ATM debited my account but didn’t give me the money – and ended up with “we think this will be resolved in a few days”. And the third day of a fast (today) is always hard on me – it’s always the day I get a massive headache. So I’m not expecting deep and wonderful spiritual insights today. It’s good to know you have days like that too.

  • I reject that teaching. you can say “mash” without having to drink sweet tea. In fact, they even made a TV show about that word.

  • the “i-really-need-to-vent-to-the-blogosphere-about-the-sheer-absurdity-of-life” posts can be just as inspirational as the more thought-out, poignant posts. maybe they’re more so, if only for the comfort in knowing we can commiserate. plus, i was reminded that we don’t have to deal with *that* stuff out on the race. so thanks for this (and for reading my blog, and the encouragement and. . . )!

  • By the way, in the wonderful north western wastes of England in the county of Yorkshire you “mash” the tea……..as in stir the leaves in the pot before leaving it to settle and brew……but I imagine you mean something entirely different! ;))) xx

  • hahaha! That is so funny cause I saw I had a very large amount on my car insurance debit that would pretty much last me until the death of my car. Very sad to see the money leave, but glad they found it:) Love you!

  • I believe this is what makes you such a good leader and discipler of many…your willingness to be vulnerable and honest and tell it like it is! Sometimes fasting…well…it sucks! Hang in there brother!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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