Being single is very convenient sometimes. I have my remote control, I pick the groceries, and I know when the car is being used (and returned without filling the tank). However, it can also make one remarkably self-centered.
Yesterday morning I was in a funk. I was not feeling appreciated enough. I wanted to know what my purpose was in the day. Why was the road under construction on my way to work?
As often happens, the more I was surrounded by people I am paid to serve, things shifted.
There was the coworker who was let go because of timeliness issues. There was the boss who had a few extra tasks to handle. And there was the regular customer who had confided in me that she was secretly interviewing for another job.
In between congratulating her for getting the new position, watching people with asthma try to clear their throats, and interacting with people who have been homeless for decades, a little perspective came my way. I do not have any huge issues in my life that need “fixing”. Sure I can grumble about this or that, but big picture? My situation is pretty delightful.
Still, I am just like anybody else. My default setting is to think about me and how things will affect my standing. I do not enjoy coming home and finding every piece of mail is someone asking for a donation.
In church on Sunday, we were asked to give extra money because we are running a little low. My gut reaction was less than charitable.
Don’t they know that I am making half as much as I did last year? Do they know how close to the poverty line I am? I see a sea of smartphones out there and I am constantly on the verge of cancelling my barebones text-only plan. Here I am, driving a ’97 while there are a bunch of shiny-looking, brand-new cars in the lot. Why should I have my budget compromised by their notions?
(Yes, I come across as a petty jerk. These are things I think, not things I say out loud. Also, I cannot remember the last time I said “notion” out loud. “Notion”? Really?)
As I was driving home from church my gut reaction simmered down a bit. I was certainly not being forced to cough up funds; I was being asked to consider the possibility. If the truth be known, I could probably afford what they are asking and not see too big of an impact. (Living sparsely pays off.)
Clearly, I bristle whenever someone tries to tell me what to do. Bosses, city officials, religious speakers; eventually I go along with those instructing me. But mentally, I “do not go gentle into that good night.”
However, none of that bias really hits the mark. My income? My budget? My money? It was never really mine to begin with. Whatever I have is a gift from God. I am a steward using what I have been given, especially finances, as I feel God wants me to. If God thinks I need a little humbling, my bank account will be hit with plenty of unexpected expenses.
I still do not know if God needs me to give as requested. As requested by the fellow church folk, I am rolling the idea around in my noggin. Maybe I will give to the church, perhaps I am supposed to give to other people or causes, or it could be that I am supposed to have savings for something down the road. Honestly, I do not have it all figured out yet. But I was reminded of something yesterday. My life is a lot more enjoyable, and I am a lot less grumpy, when I pull my head out of my own little vantage point and concentrate on all the other people around me. I am not, nor do I need to be, the center of the universe. God has that covered.
I am still working out the whole thing. The temptation is for me to focus on “My will be done” when it supposed to be “Thy will be done.”