She said my name with a sense of urgency. She wanted me to do something that was her responsibility. She had forgotten about it. It was now urgent. Do or die time. And now it was my burden. I had now been tasked with the responsibility to make things right.
Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part. Someone close to me uses that phrase. But somehow I couldn’t say those words.
I could feel the bad attitude rising quickly within me. I could have used words that would have reduced her to something small. But that would have made me smaller. I could have slammed a file down on the desk. Or stomped off. That would have caused more problems. Instead, I stewed. Boiling on the inside. No one can see stewing, can they?
Words can hurt people. Actions can hurt people. You can’t take those things back. Both words and actions are devastating. Thoughts and attitudes are just as destructive. Is my bad attitude harmful to others? Who is harmed if I think ugly thoughts? If I don’t act on them?
Bad thoughts and attitudes are destructive to the one who thinks them. They make a person bitter. Or rude. Or greedy. Or judgmental. And they spill out onto the next person.
Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector. Psalm 19:14
Whatever comes out of the mouth begins in the heart. Maybe I should put duct tape over my mouth to keep the ugly words out. Is it possible to duct tape my heart, as well? Would that keep the ugly thoughts away? Would that stop the bad attitudes?
Then I remembered. I’ve been trying to approach situations as if I’m doing everything for Jesus. If Jesus had been the one asking me to do this thing, would I have created stew? Would my attitude be different just because the messenger is different? Is it fair to be willing to do for one what I’m not willing to do for others?
As soon as my thoughts turned to who I was really working for, I felt a shift of my attitude. I was willing to do this.
It was actually a simple task she asked of me. It was just scheduled over an event I had already planned. My schedule had to change in order to accommodate someone else’s need. I knew that no matter what my attitude was, I would still have to do what was asked of me. I didn’t have a choice. Maybe that was the problem. I didn’t have a choice.
Sure, that person messed up. I could help them out. I’m sure they were going to get a talking to later, so why should I make the situation worse by being difficult. It’s all a matter of the heart. The attitude. Whatever is in the heart comes out in actions and words. Kind or unkind. Pleasant or ugly. Good or bad.
There is a choice. It’s really a simple choice. Remove the emotions and treat someone the way you would want to be treated. Sounds so simple, yet sometimes the struggle is very real.