Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Unappreciated? or Unappreciative?

That's a title that just screams self-pity, isn't it?

Sadly, it's how I felt all day Tuesday. I got up way too early after way too little sleep and went to work. Then, I put in a full day of homeschooling, and it was one of THOSE days where nothing goes right, where homeschooling is not fun or productive and to spare you any more self-pity details, it just plain sucked.

That night, before I went to bed I told God that the day had pretty much sucked. I felt like nobody appreciated what I did. A little recognition would be nice! (how selfish am I?) I went to bed angry, defeated and turned my back on my husband in bed.

Yesterday morning, with husband and kid still in bed, I made my way to the living room and picked up my Bible. I don't remember where I read, but I do remember the overwhelming feeling that God was telling me that the prior day wasn't the problem, my attitude was.

You're upset that nobody recognizes you?

You're upset because people aren't willing to do things for you?

What have you done for OTHERS lately?

But, Lord, You don't understand. I'm so busy all of the time doing things for others. I'm so busy and nobody notices what I do.

Oh, they notice.

No, they don't! Nobody notices ANYTHING I do.

That's because all they notice is your attitude.

Conviction hit me like a wrecking ball. My attitude? Well...

*I snapped at my daughter
*I rolled my eyes when I realized that we had a minor plumbing problem that my husband couldn't fix, and muttered the whole time I was fixing it.
*While I made dinner, I clattered kitchen implements as loudly as I could.
*And let's not forget, I picked a fight with my husband before bedtime.

Once I got over the shock of what a JERK I've been, I decided I was going to devote Wednesday to SERVING other people. And not in the way I had been.

So, I finished up my Bible reading and set about making breakfast. Cinnamon rolls. Bagels if the family didn't want cinnamon rolls. I prepared Ella's lessons. Lovingly fed the fish and kittens. I sat around for another while, reading a devotional. Ella woke up. We had a long talk about the previous day.

Lessons flew by. There were no problems like the day before. We were nearly done with school time when Gabe ambled into the kitchen, sleepy-eyed before work. I apologized, and he looked at me as if I had gone crazy. I never apologize. (yet another fault I need to work on desperately)

I told Ella about me wanting to serve others, and she jumped right on board with that idea. We saw our neighbor Denise and asked her if we could do something for her. She asked us to run to the store for some butter. Happily, we obliged. On the way back, another neighbor handed me a bag out of the blue.

"Here, take this."

Organic peppers. Organic broccoli.
I said, "I can't take this! Don't you need it?"
He replied, "Nope. Besides, you're doing something for someone. I overheard you and Denise talking."

Not thinking anything else of it, I went to church last night. Made it a point to be friendly to everyone. Talked to a lady who had been at Bible Study the previous week but I hadn't really noticed. Turns out our daughters are friends. How had I not noticed this?

Today, I decided to keep on serving others. I was friendly to everyone I talked to. (Apparently, this isn't always the norm for me. What's WRONG with me?) Ella and I helped a neighbor harvest flower seeds.

The seeds. When they are planted, and grow, they will turn into these yellow and orange flowers
Aren't they beautiful?
I texted my Sunday School teacher to check in. We talked gardening and she told me she would be in my area in about 30 minutes. What on earth for? She brought over some cabbage, potatoes, zucchini and kale...and....
I now have two arrangements gracing my kitchen table. Aren't they lovely?
When I made up my mind to commit to serving others, I let go of my selfish notions of what others should be doing for me. And then...I didn't feel unappreciated. I felt loved. Not because people did things for me, that was something that happened by God's grace, and unexpectedly...but because I saw that one small act from me actually made a difference to someone.
My attitude while helping someone made a world of difference, both to me and the person in question. What we do needs to be wrapped in love, whether we're running to the store for someone, or folding yet ANOTHER load of laundry.
After all, everything God does for us is wrapped in His love, isn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment