Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Protest into Praise

Studies are often conducted about the percentage of people who go to college and earn a degree. A lot of tymes the outcome of such studies is not impressive, but I am of the opinion that 99.9% of people on this earth, myself included, would have at least a bachelors if not a doctorate if the Universities would offer a degree in complaining.

If you think about it, we all do it. We complain when it’s hot and we complain when it’s cold. We complain about the slow moving vehicle in front of us and we complain when cars fly passed us on the highway. We brook no tolerance when we have to wait in line at the grocery store checkout and we have less than positive things to say when people in line behind us express their impatience.

Now, you might be able to justify our cranky habit by calling it an involuntary reaction. We don’t mean to grumble or protest, but society has taught us that we are the ones who know best and that if something doesn’t go our way, we should voice our displeasure. It’s an ironic curriculum, considering that the only way it could work is if everyone had the exact same opinions and ideas; fancy that, we don’t. We live in a culture where new and different ideas are in abundant supply, thus making the ammunition for grievances likewise. There is no shortage of topics, situations or happenings to invoke a criticism from even the most conscientious of individuals, though it seems some people have more access to fire power than most.

Few things are more aggravating than a person who finds fault with everyone and everything and has a particular skill in making his or her dissatisfaction freely known. Every word has a deep, negative connotation. Every breath is taken and released with the fundamental purpose of relaying distaste for a current situation or surrounding. Nothing pleases this person, to the point that even if things were altered to meet every complaint, he or she would criticize the order and manner in which the complaints were met.

Right now you are doing one of three things. You’re nodding your head in agreement because you’ve encountered one of these personalities, you’re breathing a sigh of relief that you’ve yet to cross paths with such a person or you’re jumping up and down, bellowing maledictions because I just trampled all over your feet. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but you know what I mean. I think if we’re all honest, our toes are hurting at the moment, because we all know that from tyme to tyme we catch a case the grumbles.

Years ago there was an era, if you will, when the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” was extremely popular; it’s a shame that the era has passed. The question seemed to inspire people to try and respond to a situation in a way that they knew or thought Jesus might have responded. It prompted them to think before they spoke or before they complained. If you consider it, it makes sense. If Jesus could go through all the horrific things that He did without complaining, protesting, whining or grumbling, then perhaps there is a modicum of hope for us.

There are going to be tymes when things don’t go our way, in fact there will probably be a lot of them. There are going to be tymes when we have to wait in line, when we have to compromise on a movie choice, when the weather offers rain when we want it fair, but we don’t have to let it transform us into Grumpy; Sneezy or Sleepy perhaps, depending on the season or the day, but not Grumpy.

There are so many things for us to be thankful for, to the point that if we stopped to count our blessings, we would exhaust our supply of numbers. God never said that life here on earth would be without aggravation, but He did promise to help us through any and all circumstances that we encounter and that is something to smile about.

So, the next tyme you’re less than pleased because your friend chose to take the long way home from the restaurant, instead of a sullen sigh, let your pallet produce praise to God that He blessed you with companionship. The next tyme you’re sitting at a red light, wanting to grumble about the wait, turn that glare in your eye into a gleam because God wanted to spend that minute with you. Then, when you encounter those with the bane of finding complaint, be a shining red light in their darkness, because you might be God’s minute with them. ~LDK~

Monday, October 4, 2010

Selfish Rehabilitation

I’m not exactly sure why it happens, but no matter how you try to look at it, human beings have innate tendencies of a selfish nature. Even the best behaved and most mildly mannered of children want what they want and with no exceptions. It might be prompted by the want of a specific toy or a desire to watch a certain movie or play a particular game, but whatever its origin, selfishness is palpable. For some reason we are not born with the capacity to think about the other people. We don’t consider their feelings or the desires or opinions they might have, we simply try our best to get it, have it or do it our own way.

Now, as we grow up, we learn to overcome these tendencies. If we’re fortunate, we have people around us that teach us the virtues of sharing and compromise. As we grow up we learn to get along with others and actually take to heart the old adage that it is better to give than to receive. We learn to love unconditionally which breeds the gift of forgiveness and we’re able to be truly happy when someone else succeeds in their pursuits.

So, as adults, have we rehabilitated our selfish ways and become perfectly giving individuals? Unfortunately, no. While we learned to be altruistic, to a degree, there is nothing we can do to abolish the traits and qualities with which we were born. Sure, we can learn to control them, try to overcome them, but the bottom line is, if we’ve got it, we’ve got it.

So, if we’re born selfish, we’re always going to have an underlying desire to think about ourselves before we think about others. The difference, however, between childlike selfishness and adult self-interest is that as adults we use our selfish tendencies to ‘protect’ the ones we love.
That may seem a little upside down and backwards, but let’s consider what it means.

Have you ever had issues that you thought were specific to you and declared that no one else would understand what you were going through or dealing with? You kept your feelings inside and tucked them away so that no one would be affected by what you were going through. To explain what you were feeling would be too complicated and you didn’t want anyone to have to take the tyme to listen, so you store it in the back of your mind and you go on. By doing so, you committed one of the most selfish acts there is to commit. You prevented those that love you from helping.

Here’s a news flash you might have missed along the way: life is not easy! You are going to have troubles, problems and issues that you simply will not know how to handle. You’re going to have questions and situations that are beyond you and …now make sure you’re sitting down for this one, because it might pack a bit of a punch… from tyme to tyme, you’re going to need some H-E-L-P!

All humor aside, for the moment, God is perfect and He knows everything. From the name of every star in every galaxy to the number of sand grains on each and every shore, God knows it all. You can always talk to God about any and everything that is going on in your life and be assured that He will understand, but, being the all understanding God that He is, He gets that sometymes we need something tangible in front of us in order to understand what He wants us to know.

You might wonder what that has to do with our selfish tendencies. Well, a lot of tyme those tangible things that God gives us are not so much things, but people, people that God puts in our lives to help us along the way. Sometymes these people are friends who have overcome their selfish dispositions and truly have your best interests at heart. Sometymes these people are friends who are dealing with their own set of problems and need to know that there is someone out there that’s dealing with similar issues.

The truth of the matter is, God puts the right people in the right places to accomplish His will and to hide from such is selfish. To conceal your feelings and not let people help you, to not let God help you is selfish and it doesn’t do you a bit of good.

Life is a tough, two-way street, but the good thing is, God is the Master of all intersections and He knows when to change the light to put the right people in front of each other. So, if you have an issue let someone you trust help you because you never know who is going through a selfish tyme and your problem just might be someone else’s solution. ~LDK~