Have you ever watched someone take a frustrating, disappointing situation and make it not just good, but great?
This week should have been the last week of school. However, the horrible, forever-long winter gifted us with never-ending snow days. Yay. [insert sarcasm]
The message came from the superintendent late March. We will be making up snow days. Here are all the state rules. You must send your children. So instead of finishing at noon this Friday, the kids go back for two-full days on Monday and Tuesday.
When the added days were first announced, I asked my teacher friend at T-Rex’s school what in the world they would do for those last two days. She looked at me and said, “Honestly, I don’t know. Report cards are done by then.” I could tell she was discouraged, tired, and probably a bit frustrated. Honestly, we all were. We were just so ready to be done. It felt like those extra days would just be daycare. We were all dreading it.
But then something happened.
A few weeks ago, I again asked my friend if they’d figured out what they were going to do for those last two days of school. I prepared myself to cheer her up and encourage her to hang in there. Her response shocked me.
“Oh my, yes! It’s going to be so much fun!”
At first, I thought maybe she was being sarcastic. I didn’t see how corralling kindergarteners and first graders for two more days when the weather is finally beach-worthy and everyone would rather be anywhere else but school could be “fun.”
But I quickly realized she was quite serious. She was ecstatic about those last two days of school.
While my mind made the mental adjustment from “These last two days are the worst idea ever!” to “These last two days are going to be awesome!” she filled me in on the details.
“All the teachers got together, and we started brainstorming. We figured if we have to be there, we might as well make the best of it and have fun.” She outlined their plans to make those last two days a “bug camp” complete with special songs, snacks, and hands-on learning activities.
The excitement and attitude the teachers are displaying in this less-than desirable end of the school year has infected everyone, me included. Just a couple days ago T-Rex was ticking off his fingers how many days of school were left, and then cheered “Two days of bug camp!”
How often do we trudge through something we’d rather not do and grumbling and complaining and just hoping to get through it?
What if we approached those unwanted situations with the attitude of, “How can I make this better for everyone involved? How can I serve others through this?”
Taking something frustrating or disappointing and making it great begins with being others focused.
When we are wrapped up in our own emotions and wounds and hurts, we can’t see any further than ourselves. But when we we step away from ourselves and our own frustrations, we have the great opportunity to see how others are impacted not just by the situation, but also by our response to it. When we focus on serving others, we find the load is lightened not just for them, but our own heart is lightened as well.
When we are others-focused, we take on the mindset of Christ, and open the door for Him to work through us, even in the midst of our unwanted situation.
A servant mindset, especially in the midst of unwanted situations, is what sets Christ followers apart.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Whether it’s a project at work you don’t enjoy.
A job loss.
A life transition you’d rather not be facing.
Whatever it is, if you come willing to serve, God will be honored. Serving changes everything, but mostly it changes you.
Serving others absolutely makes the best of a bad situation.
What if we approach unwanted situations with the attitude of, How can I serve others through this?
A servant mindset is what sets Christ followers apart.
photo by gorand1983 on sxc.hu. text added by amelia.