April 8, 2014

Interrupted by Grace {Day 8}: Doing the Taxes

Well friends, it's that time of the year again when we render unto Caesar or he renders back to us, depending upon how the numbers work out!  Usually my brave-hearted, knowledgeable husband takes care of preparing our taxes, but with his duties as a first-year professor, I knew it would be a great relief if I tackled the task.

I went into it feeling confident, believing the tax software could move mountains, if necessary. True to my assumptions, I found the federal tax process was fairly straight forward.  Then I started into the state process and about half way through I was no longer sure whether I understood English.  Honestly, Pennsylvania, do I need a PhD to understand your tax forms?  Good grief.

Since this month seems to be all about sharing my stellar character traits, I've got another one for you.  When I encounter something I don't understand or can't easily do, I get all hot and bothered and quit, because I'm embarrassed by how asking for help will reveal my ignorance and I pridefully think I should be able to do it.  This came out mid-PA taxes.  I could not figure out where to find a couple of pieces of information (some codes) and after texting Colin to see if he had a clue - so much for not bothering him - I left the office after a final, "Nevermind, I'll do this later," text.

After a few minutes of putzing around in the kitchen still feeling agitated, I was compelled to admit  to myself how my sin was getting in the way of making more progress on the taxes.  Timidly, I marched back toward the office, swung my legs over the baby gate, and got back down to business by making a phone call.

I don't like making phone calls.

But God was interrupting me by grace, helping me to face down my fear of others' perception of me and kick my pride to the curb.  I didn't feel chastised for my immature running away from my "problem," but I did feel a little sheepish about my behavior.  Just enough to get me back into that office and be a big girl!

Maybe this all sounds silly.  It is.  I was really worked up about something that had a solution, if I was willing to chill out and ask for help.  Undeserving as I was, there in my silliness the Lord met and helped me.

Jesus's Gentle Way

I've been struck this month by how Jesus is portrayed in the book of Mark, even being only five chapters in.  Yesterday I read chapter four which ends with the story of Jesus calming the storm.  You remember the story, I'm sure, about the frightened disciples waking Jesus with questions about whether or not He even cared about their lives.  First, He calms the storm.  Then He asks them, Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?

Often I have imagined Jesus asking those questions in an irritated or disgusted tone.  However, yesterday morning, several hours pre-PA tax exasperation, I had imagined Him inquiring with compassion.

Children, why are you so afraid?  Do you still - after seeing what I can do, hearing my teaching, and walking with me - have no faith?

And I imagine the disciples (who were, incidentally, then terrified by Jesus' power) thinking, Wow, Jesus is right.  Why are we afraid?  We're with HIM!

Yesterday afternoon, I got caught in a taxes storm, afraid and expressing zero measure of faith in anything but myself.  It was not working out well.  How profound that Jesus calms storms that rage around us then turns to us in compassion and says, Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?

Makes me wanna sing one of Katherine's favorites:

God is so good.
God is so good.
God is so good,
He's so good to me.

How was he good to you today?

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