Service with a Smile

If you want to change the world, start in your own backyard.

Omaha has such a great selection of different restaurants, but I have to admit that the last two times we went there over the past several months, I have made my husband go to Chic-fil-a.  Not only do I really like their chicken nuggets and special sauce, but the staff treats you sensationally.  Any time you thank them, they say “my pleasure.”  Now perhaps if I one was the working there that phrase would get a little old, but when you are told that by a young person, you just can’t help but smile.

That is not always the response that I get from my family when I do things for them.  I really do not even feel my kids are ungrateful.  They generally thank me for something at least once a day.  But there are so many thankless jobs that a mom does throughout the day, that it would be impossible to be appreciated for all of them.  And I wish that I could always say that I complete those tasks with pleasure, but sometimes they tend to be done with a grudging and even frustrated spirit.

The biggest lesson that I have learned as a mom – I have been shown repeatedly what a thoroughly selfish person I really am.  Reaching out to others beyond my walls feels like more of a blessing than taking care of whom I live with.  While doing for others outside of your home is important, I also think that type of service is far easier than the acts that occur within our own homes.   For one thing, more recognition is often given, but in addition the things that I do other places are not immediately undone as they are at my own house (such as the way my kitchen sink fills with dishes again so quickly.)

I do want not want my kids to be helpless, and one my biggest goals is for them to learn responsibility.  I also do not want to be an Eeyore mom, “Woe is me, I have to clean again.”  My kids do need to do their part, yet I need to still look for possibilities to bless them.  For even more than being independent, I want to teach them to follow Jesus’ teaching of being a servant in Mark, chapter 9.

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.  35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” 36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

These verses remind me that I need to lead by example.   I was blessed to have had this servant’s attitude modeled for me.  My parents have always been godly examples of what serving others means.  I distinctly remember them living that out at home too – they have always taken the time to invest in our lives and to help and assist us.  They still do!  I am sure that serving has not always been easy for them, any more than being unselfish is easy for me.

Oh my, does God send situations my way to test if I really want to have a servant’s heart!    As I was in the middle of writing this entry, I was requested to grill our supper and build something out of Lincoln logs with my child.  Neither of which I am exceptionally good at – cooking over flames scares me for good reason (since I tend to be good at singeing things, including my hair!)  But I gave my best effort.  Thankfully my kids are willing to eat burnt hot dogs, and my daughter forgave me for knocking over her tower two times when I was trying to help.  I am hopeful that if I continue to say “yes” when asked to join my kids in activities and to serve  them & my husband when requested, that at some point putting aside my own desires will become easier.  I want to actively seek out ways to bless those I love the most.  Possibly I will no longer struggle as much with selfishness and will actually (almost) always be able to serve with a smile.  Until that day, I am pretty sure God is going to give me plenty of opportunities to practice!