So. If you have read this at all, you’ve heard me say that the phrase I want to characterize my life is living generously. By this I don’t mean giving donations, though I am a firm believer in charitable, even sacrificial giving. Nor do I mean giving time, though one again, I believe service is key–for the success of organizations as well as the individuals who serve. What I mean is that I want to consistently choose a generosity of spirit. Especially when “push comes to shove,” I want to be counted on to offer grace to my fellow passengers on this journey called life.
I had two chances to put this into practice yesterday. Both instances were phone calls with customers. And both customers were people we’ve worked with in the past. They are friendly and pleasant…usually. But yesterday was not their day. I can’t tell you how freeing that is to say: to determine that their somewhere-less-than-friendly-and-pleasant attitudes were because of simple things like bad timing or pain meds or embarrassment or they just finished a meeting that didn’t go their way.
You see I’m a bit of a grudge holder. Well, maybe not a grudge holder so much as a remember-er of negative emotions. During my first VBS at New Hope, about a month after I started, I had a difference of opinion with one of my leaders. I felt horrible–I had disappointed her, failed to __________, neglected to _____________. And the end of the chapter is me in a room crying, because I HATE that. But the end of the story is that then it translates into me replaying the situation every.time.I.see.her. When she’s dropping off her kids for class, on her way to Bible study, at someone’s house, out in the community, every time our paths cross I am replaying the conversation and wondering if she is remembering how I wasn’t enough. It was years before I got past that. Ridiculous.
So you can see how I am so in love with this new (to me) strategy. By making the choice to understand their behavior as a) unusual for them, b) unrelated to my behavior, c) a passing thing, I free myself up to be kind and gracious, friendly and compassionate to them. And who doesn’t want to do that for a living?
I suspect that some if not most of you have already figured this out. But if you are a people-pleaser personality like me then this is HUGE. Fur realz. A break through. So well done, all of you, confident, generous people. And people-pleasers? C’mon in, the water’s fine!
P.S. There’s still time to enter to win a “live generously” key chain! Check it out!