Weekend Challenge…

The other day I was sitting in a very hot vehicle waiting for my nice cold slush to be delivered. I was on a “schedule” (self-imposed) and I was already behind, but the sweltering Georgia heat was too much to bear, thus making a Sonic run become an absolute life necessity. (FYI: Sonic was actually created just to make lemon-berry slushes. Truly. It may or may not be the only reason they exist.) I tapped the little red button and I waited. Then I waited some more…and a little bit more…and finally a voice came on to take my order.  One slush.  It wasn’t even the really big one.  And then I waited. And then I waited. (yes, I meant to say that twice) And then, just as my fingers headed toward the little red button one more time–to cancel my order (I was on a schedule–self-imposed, you know!!)–a small little figure emerged from the building and headed toward me.

You could actually see the dread on her face as she hurriedly approached. She handed me the slush and began to apologize profusely for my wait and then she took a small step back, kind of braced herself, and just stood there. She was waiting on it:  the big fuss. It made me wonder how many times that day that she’d been the one to take the brunt of whatever caused the delays.  All of the sudden, those words behind my teeth–those absolutely true and deserved words about the service/wait-time–decided to just stay with me.  I handed her the money–with a nice tip included–and I smiled and nodded at her.  I didn’t say a single word.  You should have seen her smile!  Her face totally changed and her shoulders relaxed and she just looked so grateful…because I didn’t say anything…even though I had a “right” to do so?

That experience changed me a bit this week.  I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  This girl’s day was suddenly brighter because I kept my mouth shut.  Revelation.  What if I could make other people around me have a better day by choosing not to exercise my “right” to speak up, speak out or “educate by way of criticism”?  What if I extended grace?  What if I made the choice to pass on some of the grace God has extended to me…by being quiet?

Some days that is a lot harder than others, isn’t it?!  Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself in several other situations where I literally felt as if the words were pushing at the back of my teeth trying trying desperately to escape. Honestly, in every single instance, the words weren’t really my best ones, either. It was up to me in each situation:  I could choose to release the words clamoring for escape, I could change them, or I could choose to keep them to myself.

I know it’s happened to you, as well.  Can’t remember any right offhand?  See if the  following sound like anything that’s happened in your life lately:

  • If you have to pick up one more pair of socks or step on one more out-of-place toy or find one more half-empty glass left in the living room…
  • Seriously?  The line to check out was forever long and the clerk waited until the person just before you started to unload their cart before announcing that her line was closing because it was time for her break…
  • You made the call and then sent the text and then…nothing.  No response.  You need a response.  You need it now and…nothing…
  • They promised.  You heard it and they know it, but they didn’t come through…and it might have even made you look bad in front of someone you want to impress…

Yep. I know. It happened at your house, too, didn’t it?  (grin)

cropped-heartSo here’s OUR challenge for the weekend:  Forget about your right to be right and just be quiet.  Extend grace.  It doesn’t mean you have to be falsely complimentary, just quiet…for the next three whole days. If you find you’re up to it, you just might want to extend the challenge and take it in to work with you next week…

Bonus:  For those of you who really enjoy God’s sense of timing/perspective, here are a few illustrations of what He might think about this challenge. If you think of any others that also fit the bill, please feel free to share them with me!  Some days I need all the help I can get! (grin)

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”  James 1:19

“Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.”  Proverbs 11:12

“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah”  Psalm 4:4

“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”  Proverbs 29:11

“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.”  Job 6:24

and, of course, my own personal favorite…

“…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”  1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

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