I just opened up my utility bill. I just fainted. Excuse me while I come to.
Usually I never open the bills. I let Dave do that. He's the one who does the actual physical running around and paying of it, so I just basically let him do it from start to finish. But our utility bill, which includes electricity, water, sewar, and gas, was late this month. And when Dave phoned about it last week, they said it was late because it had been flagged and there was some changes that had to be made to it. We are on a budget amount. I don't know if you have that where you live, but if you don't it's basically where they look at your usage history and you pay a set amount each month rather than a whole bunch in some months and not so much in others. It evens out your payments throughtout the year.
So I opened it. Because I was curious what and how much. You know what I mean? Shouldn't have done that. Because this is what I saw: SPECIAL MESSAGES: Budget settle-up. Please pay the total amount due. $1,148.41.
Yes, that was One Thousand, one hundred and forty eight dollars and forty one cents. Our budget amount monthly for the year was $133.00. So we've already paid them over 1500 dollars.
So now they want $1,148.41 more. Because they did not estimate it high enough. Now Due.
Now I have a few little emotions and stuff running through me at the moment.
Shock being one. What?! They think my Ohio Buckeye tree out in the backyard is growing hundred dollar bills this year as it's fruit? Or maybe that I have a printing press in a back corner of my basement?
Fear & panic being the major one. Where?! Where on earth is the average person supposed to just come up with that kind of money? If you know, please inform me because I really need to make a stop there. And fast. Because you know, it's "now due".
Anger. Oh yeah. Do I feel mad. How could they have miscalculated by about $100 per month. Shouldn't they suck up their own mistake? How is it fair and right that they should think it's okay to hand someone a bill like that? And then give you about 3 weeks to pay for it.
So when I phoned the company, which is really phoning a call center, and very sweetly tried to get info out of the nice young lady, I was given the "miscalculation of the estimate answer". So while biting the inside of my cheek off so that I could remain nice with her, because it is not her fault and my hubby who works for a call center has taught me to do, I tried to wrap my brain around this. All the while hearing her tell me that what the lovely billing department will do is up my bill by more than $100 per month to pay this little "Now due" off over the next year and oh yeah, they'll also up my monthly rate even more so this won't happen next year again. "Is there anything else I can do for you? Thank you, have a nice day" she says.
Okay, fear. Panic. Mix in a little mad. Add more fear. More panic. Agitate slowly until well blended.
What? What is that I hear. Just barely whispering in my heart. Barely making it past the anger, shock and fear? * "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" . And right on it's heels came + "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenver you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
But God! My head and flesh are screaming. I want to get mad. I want to bawl somebody out. I want to negotiate and force them to take their bill back. I want to report them somewhere, anywhere. My flesh wants to worry and fret and wring it's hands. So God, can I? Indulge the flesh and emotions just for a few days and do all this and get it off my chest? Again, very gently and quietly: ** "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition [definite requests] with thanksgiving continue to make your wants known to God". ++"Consider it wholly joyful...."
Oh. So I guess now I have a choice to make. Do I indulge the flesh and emotions and wallow in it or do lift it up before the Lord, and leave it there may I add, and trust Him and His word? It's all about the choice.
Dear Lord, please give me the grace to step by step trust you with this little "SPECIAL MESSAGE". With your grace ('cause I'm going to need it) help me to give it to you and to leave it with you and trust that you will take care of it, however you will. Lord I realize that this is simply a difficulty everyone faces in life. Unexpected bills. Help me to find joy in it by accepting it for what it is -- a place of learning for my soul and an opportunity to watch you work in my life. And Lord I just want to lift up others who are going through so much more. Kelli and Heather come to mind, as well as others we come across in our blog travels. May your Spirit of grace and mercy and peace be upon them and may your joy be theirs as you lead them through their trials. Thank you for you Word. Thank you that it is a comfort. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.
*Philippian 4:6 NIV
**Philippian 4:6 Amplified Bible
+James 1:2-3 NIV
++James 1:2 Amplified Bible