Blooming Where You’re Planted

I caught the end of the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus” recently. The movie released in 1995 and remains one of my top favorites of all time. The ending of the movie never fails to move me.

Mr. Holland, played by Richard Dreyfuss, is a frustrated composer who finds fulfillment as a music teacher. Mr. Holland spends 30 years as a teacher, something he never wanted to be. But when the school system cuts the music program and he’s out of a job, he realizes that teaching is the thing he loves to do the most.

I could write several blogs about how life takes us in different directions than we dreamed, but that’s for another time. Today, my focus is the end of the movie.

(SPOILER ALERT) Mr. Holland is packing up his classroom, getting ready to leave the school for good. He believes that no one will miss him and that the last 30 years have been a waste. As he’s leaving his classroom, walking through the empty halls, he hears clapping and music coming from the school auditorium. As he enters the auditorium, it is filled to capacity with current and former students, and it turns out that they are all there for a farewell celebration for Mr. Holland.

The governor of the state was one of his former students, and she arrives to give a speech about how Mr. Holland may feel like most of his life as been misspent, but in reality, he has touched the lives of every person in that room.

Besides the wonderful tribute to teachers, this movie can teach a lesson for all of us. We never know what impact we’re making on other people. A lot of us yearn for something greater than our daily routine. However, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of what’s happening right where we are.

In the way we conduct ourselves everyday, working honestly and ethically, showing integrity and character can make a bigger impact than we realize. Just smiling and talking with the person ringing up your groceries in the checkout line can impact their day. Showing kindness wherever you go can make a difference.

Whenever we think we’re stuck in a dead end job or frustrated with the mundane of day-to-day life, we need to understand what influence we may be having on others. I hope it’s always a positive influence. Your attitude makes a big difference there.

With an attitude of gratitude and always showing kindness, you may influence and impact someone else’s life far beyond what you can ever imagine.

Be grateful for wherever you are. Remember to always “bloom where you’re planted.” You never know the impact you will make.

 

Scoring For the Other Team

This past weekend, the Senior Pastor at my church delivered a message called “Know Your Enemy.” Our enemy is Satan, a fallen angel. This enemy can have us turn on each other. He can have us do things that take us further from our walk with Christ.

Our pastor gave a good analogy of how sometimes we think we are doing good and doing the right thing, but maybe we’re not. Like a hockey player who has the puck but he is going the wrong way down the ice towards the opponent’s goal, and ends up scoring for the other team.

How often have I scored for the other team by my actions or attitude? Am I doing what I want or want Christ wants?

I’m also studying Romans 8 right now, via Dineen Miller’s “You Are Loved” book. In Roman’s 8:1, it states: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

Dineen also states that the enemy’s mission is to condemn us and destroy our faith. If we have no condemnation as Christ followers, then how can the enemy do this to us? Easy – he is a deceiver. And if we’re not paying attention, then we’re scoring for the other team.

We need to remember how Jesus treated others. Are we so busy judging everyone else that we forget to take a look at ourselves? Are we so self-focused that we don’t care what anyone else is doing? Do we say, “I have to get there faster, I have to take care of my own stuff, I’ll ignore that because it has nothing to do with me.”

If we are no longer condemned as Christ followers, then what gives us any right to condemn others? If we are forgiven and set free, why can’t we forgive others? If someone lives a lifestyle different than mine, am I treating them with kindness or am I condemning them? Judging them? Spitting in their face because they’re different than me?

Or are we so busy trying to shine our light for Jesus that we end up with a strobe light in someone’s face instead? How can they see the light of Christ when we’re blinding them? Blinding with our attitudes and judgment.

It’s a dark world, but we know who has the ultimate victory. So, this week, as I think through all of this, I have to ask myself, “Is my light shining brighter in kindness, or in condemnation?”

In other words, I don’t want to keep scoring for the other side.

 

 

Being Positive, Even on a Bad Day

I’m feeling like a bit of a louse recently. Whether I can cite the excuse of the holidays, or how busy work is, or whatever, those reasons don’t excuse poor behavior.

I was unintentionally sharp with someone, who didn’t deserve my attitude, and who happened to be on the receiving end of a bad day.

We’re all guilty of snapping at someone who was just in the way of our bad mood. But because we all may understand that doesn’t make it right, and now I feel like a heel.

I’ve done what I can to rectify the situation. But that impression of me and my actions are still out there and still affected this person.

No matter how nice I will be going forward, does this person I treated poorly have a long memory or will my actions always be part of how they treat me going forward?

I can’t take it back.

What lessons can be learned?

First – the golden rule still applies: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. In other words, treat others with kindness. In fact, I love the phrase “kill them with kindness.” If someone is being rude and having a bad day, the best way to diffuse the situation is to stay calm and treat them with kindness.

I’ve found the yelling or matching their level of rudeness only escalates the situation.

Second – the other lesson I’ve learned is to be forgiving. It is true that if you hold a grudge against someone, even if they are in the wrong, you’re the only one who continues to be hurt. You’re not hurting them by holding that grudge and by remaining angry.

We all need to “Let Go and Let God.”

God needs to work through me to make me aware of my actions and how those actions affect others. My thoughts, actions and words can have a positive influence or a negative influence.

When I had that bad day recently and exhibited poor behavior to someone else, I may have hurt them, but I’ve also hurt myself.

The whole conversation would’ve turned out different had I been able to hold my tongue, answered their questions and moved on, instead of lashing out at them.

Taking a deep breath, not having a snap response, especially when it’s not a good day, can make all the difference…not just to someone else, but to myself as well.

To the person to whom I snapped, I hope they forgive me. And I hope I show that same spirit of forgiveness the next time someone else has a bad day and snaps at me.

How do you handle your bad days? What do you say when you do have a bad day and have hurt others?

How do you show a spirit of forgiveness?

I’d love to hear from you so maybe we can all help each other be a positive influence.