I’ve had a bit of a bad attitude lately. It’s hard to admit that, but it’s true. I’ve felt defeated, discouraged, and simply like “why do I even bother?!” (I’ve even said that outloud.)
I’ve attempted kindness and grace only to have it discarded. I’ve attempted courtesy and just had it overlooked. I’ve attempted to try harder, do more than what was asked if me, but it was only to have my efforts completely dismissed. It’s hard to have a good attitude when that happens.
Have you felt that way lately? Have you felt like you’re doing the best you can, really giving it all you have and either no one notices, no one cares, or it doesn’t change the circumstances one bit?
Do you have the “why bother” attitude like me?
While in the midst of my pity party and bad attitude, God reminded me of why I need to bother, and why I need to do my best to have a good attitude while doing it.
But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
(Matthew 5:39-41 NKJV)
Turn the other cheek? Really?! When someone else’s bad attitude slaps me across the cheek, I’m supposed to offer them my other cheek rather than slapping them back? When their ungratefulness stings like a slap I’m just supposed to deal with it?
If someone sues me for my tunic, simply giving them my tunic isn’t enough?! They need my cloak also?? They didn’t ask for my cloak. If they want my cloak they could have just told me that’s what they wanted from me in the first place!
They tell me to go one mile, but I’m supposed to go two?! TWO MILES?? I don’t even like to run! One mile is torture enough! (Seriously, don’t put me down for cardio!) If they wanted me to go two miles why not ask for two miles? They asked for one, why isn’t one enough?
Gods word commands me to do more than what is expected of me. God commands me to bother with what I’m doing. He doesn’t say to do only what is expected of me and then it’s ok to have a bad attitude, He commands me to give more and some days that seems completely impossible in my own strength. If He wants me to do more than is expected of me, and do it with a good attitude, He’s going to have to help me out because my human nature really takes over some days.
My why bother attitude has been like a plague lately. We are starting our busy season at work and tensions are always high this time of year. Many times it feels no matter how hard I try, someone is unhappy with me. Sometimes its customers, sometimes it’s co-workers, sometimes it’s my supervisors, but someone is generally unhappy. If they only knew my heart, if they only knew how hard I was trying, maybe it would matter? (Maybe it wouldn’t.) My why bother attitude has spilled over into the ministries where I serve. “Why bother organizing a meeting if no one is going to come? Why bother being faithful with blogging when you writing isn’t as good as ‘so-and-so’s’? Why bother preparing a lesson for the junior high girls when they aren’t even listening to you, and won’t engage no matter what your approach is? Why bother?” My why bother attitude has spilled over into my responsibilities as a parent. “Why bother fixing a decent meal when they complain and would rather just have cereal? Why bother picking up the house when they come right behind you and destroy it? Why bother?”
This is why we’re supposed to bother with the things that seem to not matter to anyone but you, when your efforts seem in vain, when other people expect more when you have nothing left to give:
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
(Colossians 3:22-24 NKJV)
We’re supposed to serve with a sincere heart as service to the Lord. He has trusted us with tasks and responsibilities both great and small, and if He has trusted us with it, He will be with us as we serve. He will be with us as we serve our families, our ministries, our employers, our customers, for it is Him who we truly serve.
A funny thing happened as I was writing this message. I woke up with an ugly attitude because I didn’t sleep much at all last night. I reluctantly started writing this post in the car on our way to work as my husband was driving. As I was typing on my phone he gently and quietly said “I put gas in your car last night. I know you don’t always have time to go get it, and I didn’t want you to have to worry about it, so I filled it up for you.”
My husband went a second mile for me, and he wasn’t even grumpy about it. Last night, after a long and physically demanding day at work, he went grocery shopping, like I asked (mile one). Then he went and filled up my car with gas so I wouldn’t have to worry about it (mile two). One little act of going a second mile really put things into perspective for me. He did more for me than was asked or expected just because he thought it would bless me. He didn’t do it expecting a grateful response (I hadn’t even driven so I didn’t notice how much gas was in the car) he just wanted to go the second mile. I love it that God teaches me things using every day situations.
So how do we (I) change from a why bother, ugly attitude? For me, I repeat this verse to myself over and over and over again.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV)
I need to work unto the Lord in all I do. I need to do more than what is expected of me, and I need to do it with a joyful heart. When that seems like it’s not possible I need to let the Lord be my strength.
Sometimes (often) I’m the one with the heart that doesn’t notice other people’s efforts. Sometimes (often) I’m the one with high expectations. Sometimes (often) I sting others like a slap because of how I deal with their efforts. I need to give more grace towards others and take notice of their efforts too, since I seem to desire the same grace towards me.
In His Love,
*Previously published September 7, 2016
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