Loving others when you don’t feel like it

When was the last time you made someone’s day? I got to do it yesterday morning, but in a bit of an unconventional way.

I’m writing this morning’s blog post from the hotel dining room in Philadelphia, right next to a big picture window from where I can see towering skyscrapers and beautiful brick plazas. I’m directly across from a 53 story building, at the top of which is my training conference this morning.

I got into Philly last night, after having spent a night with some dear friends. I wasn’t 100% sure that the building across the street was the one I was supposed to be at, so I popped over and stuck my head inside. Only in this building, they have a stereotypical security guard behind a desk.

I walked inside, and he straightened up and scowled at me. So I just asked him if this was where I could find the conference I was attending. He told me that it was indeed the correct location. I thanked him and politely explained that I had gotten in from Kansas and wanted to make sure I wasn’t lost.

The guy broke out into the biggest grin and said: “Well, you’re not in Kansas anymore!” And then he burst into laughter. “I’ve always wanted to say that!”

(not my photo)

(not my photo)

Today’s verse is 1 Peter 4:8.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

It can be difficult to show love at times, especially in circumstances where you’re stressed or unhappy, but love is what makes Christ-followers different from the world. Or at least, that’s what should make us different.

Regardless of our circumstances, we are supposed to love people. We’re supposed to be kind to people. We’re supposed to go out of our way to care for people, especially when we don’t feel like it. It’s that kind of love the world needs to see right now.

I don’t know that man at the security desk. He may be there this morning, and if he is I’ll be sure to say hi. But whether I saw him again or not, whether he smiled at me or not, whether he acknowledged that I went out of my way to be polite when I absolutely didn’t feel like it or not, I shouldn’t be impolite to him. I shouldn’t snub him or be rude to him.

Unfortunately, that’s how we behave more often than not. We treat others the way they treat us instead of the way we would prefer to be treated. But that’s not love. That’s selfishness.

Granted, you don’t always get the response I got. Most of the time, people just look at you like you’re nuts. But sometimes–sometimes you get to make somebody’s day. And there’s nothing like that.

So be on the lookout today for how you can cheer somebody up. Believe me, it’ll make your day.

Beautiful iris at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Accepting the gift of God’s peace

Have you ever had something go horribly wrong and cause all sorts of ridiculous problems? Don’t you hate that? The day can even start out brilliantly, and everything can be going perfectly, and then BOOM! It all blows up.

Well, that happened to me yesterday. The day even started out well. Everything was going fine. And on my lunch break, life blew up.

How do you react in that situation? What do you do?

Beautiful iris at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Beautiful iris at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is John 14:27.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

What would we do without God’s peace? I’m telling you, I think I probably would have gone crazy (crazier) years ago without Him. I don’t know how people make it through a day without Him, knowing that He’s got things under control.

But even though I know He has it all handled, sometimes I forget. Sometimes I let myself worry, and once I start worrying, there’s no going back to peace until I smack myself in the head with a board.

Like in this instance yesterday. I flipped out. I didn’t exactly panic, but I sure wasn’t as calm as I could have been. But fortunately, I gathered my wits and banged my head against a wall a few times until my sanity returned. And then I calmly went about fixing the problem.

What’s the lesson? Well, my day got thrown off almost entirely because of this thing that blew up, but I did have time to fix it because it happened over my lunch. The problem got fixed, and everything worked out.

I could choose to focus on the fact that my lunch got interrupted, because it did. And it was inconvenient. I had other things I wanted to do over lunch than fix this problem.

Or I could choose to focus on the fact that this problem happened over my lunch, when I had time to invest in fixing it immediately.

See the difference? That’s God’s peace. He gives it to us in so many ways, and half the time I think we choose to ignore it. But that’s the way a gift works. It’s only effective if you accept it.

So what’s going wrong for you today? Maybe it’s the morning and you haven’t had your plans screwed up yet. Just wait. The day is young. Decide now to face the challenges of the day with a cheerful spirit, trusting that God has it worked out and thankful that He’ll help you through it.

Or maybe it’s later in the day and you’ve already experienced the trouble. Take the time to look at what happened rationally and look for the positive. Look for God’s hand in the situation, and I bet you’ll find it. Something good came out of it.

It’s your choice what to focus on, but I can guarantee that you’ll have a happier life if you can find the positive aspects to focus on instead of the negative ones. Don’t live in denial, of course. You can recognize that life stinks without focusing your thoughts on it.