Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do I Look Like a Bellhop?

I have a set of luggage that I LOVE....no really I do.  Although I would be floored if it was in my fav color (blue), I love it because of its size and the different pieces that came with it. One extra large, one regular, one carry on  (the one I use the most), one large and one small toiletry pieces.  Now when I travel, I carefully select what pieces to take so that I do not have to check any bags...I usually travel with two carry-ons and be done with it, I hate to travel with a ton of luggage.  But I started thinking that if I was going to travel somewhere that has bellhops at the ticket kiosk, front desk or valet station, they would be able to help me at least unload my things from my car or vehicle and/or get me one of those rolling carts.  If I was lucky enough to go to a really nice hotel I may even get a bellhop to carry my things to my room....a bellhop to carry my baggage.

So many times we treat our family and friends like bellhops without even recognizing it.  We start off wanting someone to help us by bearing our burden (although we may not even be sure in what way exactly) and they end up carrying our baggage.  We all go through trials and we need support (emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally) and it may start off with us receiving prayers, words of encouragement, etc. but somewhere along the way, the burden turns into baggage. 
  • The burden of healing after a bad breakup turns into the baggage of being discontented with (wo)men or assuming all of them are dogs, golddiggers, etc. and finding something wrong with everyone else that our friends try to introduce us to.
  • The burden of finding a new job turns into the baggage of others paying our bills because they do not want us to be homeless or go without things we need and in the process we become dependent on them even after we may find a job to pay all our own bills.
  • The burden of self-improvement turns into the baggage of us frustrating others when we fail at keeping up our end of the bargain of being held accountable.
Now, I will go out on a limb and put myself out there (because I definitely do not want to put anyone else out) and I will say this: I will help bear a burden, but do NOT look at me to carry your baggage.  When I have to carry your baggage, I now have to think like you do,  do like you do, and mirror you in every way.  Not because it is necessary for ME to live, but it is necessary for me to carry your baggage.  Now I am not saying this to be rude, but keep in mind, EVERYONE has baggage...whether it be good or bad....and that means I have my own to carry.  Good baggage? Can there be such a thing??? Yes.  Do we call it baggage? No. Why do we not call it baggage?  Because it is not a burden. Think of non-profits...they are functioning to help a cause.  The person who started the non -profit may have had an experience that made them more sensitive to certain situations and whenever that situation comes up, they feel the prompting to help.

But back to the baggage...We always hear that we are supposed to learn from a situation but leave the baggage. So many times we think we do that, only to find that we have been dragging our baggage behind us on a cart tied to our ankle. When our pace slows because we find ourselves back in the same situation, that is when the baggage cart keeps rolling and hits us in the achilles tendon like how kids catch their moms with grocery carts and we are reminded all over again about the baggage we have been dragging.  The easiest way to do a spring cleaning is to go over the baggage that you have (including your carry-ons) and start looking at what is packed in them.  If there is no useful information or outcomes, then it is not worth holding onto. Nobody packs heavy coats, earmuffs, scarves, winter boots and gloves to go to a beach destination vacation...if the items inside the suitcase are not the right ones, you do yourself no favor by bringing them.

Now letting go of baggage can be hard, but believe me, you will start to see how much lighter you feel in all aspects after getting rid of things. Keep this in mind though, you can only get rid of your own baggage....you cannot help someone else get rid of theirs.  People will only get rid of their baggage when THEY are tired of dealing with it. (Reminiscent of my Hoarding and Addition to Hoarding blogs).  When we refuse to get rid of our baggage we build an area around us, where our baggage is just sitting and it keeps others at bay.

Imagine sitting in the middle of a room with about 100 suitcases surrounding you.  Some suitcases are small and light while others are large and heavy. When other people come to you, they cannot even approach you becuase you are surrounded by baggage, they cannot get to know the real you without having to move or carry away some of your baggage.  Now think of how many pieces of luggage you personally can move without getting tired quickly...now imagine someone else doing the moving.  People will give up on trying to get to know you or help you because you have too much baggage in the way.

Remember the bellhop? Everybody has a purpose, everybody has a part to play, and everyone deserves appreciation.  In most areas, it is a general custom to tip the bellhop and we need to remember to tip ours. Most of the time our friends do not want or expect a financial payback for their listening ear or advice, but a word of thanks, a note, text or card is a nice thoughtful way to pay them. Think of how you want others to respond when you come to their aid...Remember, when we remember to keep our baggage light and tip the bellhops, they do not seem to mind helping us when we repeatedly need it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Extreme Couponing for Jesus

So I was on the couch one evening watching the TV show "Extreme Couponing"...to anyone who has never seen this show,  it will leave you second guessing your ability to get every cent worth out of your coupons.  The shoppers are usually moms with multiple children and are stay at home women.  They dedicate about 30+ hours to researching stores and cutting coupons for a shopping trip that will take them about 3 or 4 hours at the least.  They will end up buying 4 or 5 different items but have them in multiples like 70 containers of mustard or 30 packs of hot dogs or 90 bottles of tylenol but the kicker being that when they get up to the register their total may be in the $1,200's but they only pay about $2.00. All that started my thinking, how many times are we presented with a chance to witness to more than one person at a time but we bypass that chance?  We may be in a public area or in the company of more than one or two people who we know are unsaved but we keep OUR (rolling my eyes) Jesus in a box, not sharing him with anyone.  The value of 100 people's lives to God is worth more than the $1.00 worth of our time it will take for us to  say something to them to share Jesus.  I'm not saying that we have to squeeze out the Gospel in a nutshell every time, but we could give a Godly opinion or advice from how God would want us to respond to others and give God a shameless plug. If those moms can go shopping and get 100 cans of baby food for $.02 because they do a little careful planning, why can we not plan the same when it comes to our witnessing? We sometimes think that it takes so much to witness, like we need a committe/board, or to host a huge event....and that is not the case, the way we conduct ourselves is sometimes a huge witness especially if we have been through hard times.  The same way those moms will only get 5- 10 different items, we may only be targeting 5 - 10 different types of people.  But the value is when those 5 - 10 can go back and share what they experienced. We need to look at our surroundings and see every day of our life as a chance to do some extreme couponing for Christ, even if we are a silent witness.