This past weekend my daughter and I went shopping – a rare treat for us. She had birthday money to spend and wanted some new clothes since she’s lost weight. Her choice of store was called Last Chance. I’d never been there, but I was up for an adventure!
The parking lot was crowded and she warned me that this was always a busy place. She also warned me that the clientele weren’t usually nice since everyone is bargain-hunting and it’s a ‘grab while you can and before anyone else gets it’ kind of thing! I gulped. Not my kind of place, but I would be a good sport since she wanted to go there.
Yep, it was crowded and full of cranky people and at one point I tried to move out of someone’s way and said I was sorry and excuse me. My daughter leaned over and reminded me that this wasn’t that kind of place – one where you are polite. We laughed, but it was then that I wanted to ‘shift the atmosphere’ and I saw it as a challenge. Why couldn’t we bring a change with kindness and politeness? Why couldn’t we be ‘life-givers’ with our attitudes and words? We didn’t need to become like everyone else just because we were in “that kind of place”.
We as human beings carry an atmosphere with us. Ever have someone walk into a room and you feel something change? Me too. I either want to run to them or away from them.
I’m learning that I get to influence the world around me as a ‘life-giver’ and often a kind word or just being patient can go a long ways. It seems especially tough during this season when we fight crowds everywhere and are trying to be thrifty with both time and money.
Gary and I were in another store recently to pick up something I ordered online. Gary’s not a big fan of shopping, and I’d promised him this would be fast and painless. Note to self – don’t make promises to husband that you have no control over. No one was near the online pickup counter. We looked around and couldn’t even see anyone working close by. We watched for a few minutes for someone to see us waiting and then we got a grouchy clerk. Great. As she left to get our order, we looked at each other and sighed. Then it hit me. Another challenge – let’s see what some kind words would do. Such a small thing really, but it changed everything and we left her in a much better mood than we found her.
I’m certainly not touting my greatness here. I haven’t been very good at this and I know my triggers – one is dealing with medical offices. Pretty sure the change in me is elevated blood pressure! Maybe even that can change. I recently took my friend to the ER for stitches. We’d been to Urgent Care first. After all the stuff she’d been through that day, her comment on the way home was how nice everyone was everywhere she went. My thought was that she had brought the ‘niceness’ with her and changed the atmosphere everywhere she went even though she was in great pain.
If you are a believer in Jesus and His Holy Spirit dwells in you, you are a carrier of His presence. That presence can affect the world around us. Our words and attitudes can influence and bring change. That can be an amazing thing, although it must be genuine. In the Bible, Proverbs reminds us that “life and death are in the power of the tongue”.
Who and what you spend time with affects who and what you become. If change isn’t wanted and you have the option not to hang out in that place that’s negative, why would you?
Last Chance wasn’t a good place for me to hang out and I’m pretty sure it was my first and last time there! The ‘bargains’ weren’t worth the atmosphere to me. When my daughter volunteered that she thought we should go elsewhere, I couldn’t help myself, it just popped out, “Yep, I’m ready!”
Never underestimate how powerful you are. We don’t always have a choice of where we go, but we always have a choice of who we are in that place.
Copyright © 2015 Nadine Patton.
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