Pride & Dunkin Donuts

Not feeling successful is a blow to any man. He was working at a world-famous restaurant a short time before and moving up the ladder and now he was scrubbing baseboard at Dunkin Donuts at 3:00AM.

And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (Deuteronomy 8: 2)

download-24Sometimes God allows us to go through situations to try our hearts. Pride can really hurt us in our natural life and our spiritual walk.  The scripture above talks about three things: humbling, proving and knowing.   Being put in circumstances that are humbling, can be trying for anyone and it can lead to knowing and understanding what’s in your heart.

A few years before we learned this lesson; my husband went through the torment of losing a $30,000 a year job. In 1988, that was a pretty good salary. My husband worked for an exclusive restaurant that catered to celebrities.  It was normal for him to serve Michael Jordan, Governor James Thompson and various high-level Chicago businessmen, politicians and actors.  Nice work if you can get it and great tips.   My husband lost this job because unfortunate for him he had a personal conviction  about serving drinks as he moved up in the ranks  He was one of their best workers, but he was given an ultimatum to serve drinks or quit. The way the job was structured everyone was in training for the next step up.  He felt he could not keep that job and his Christian testimony.  It was at this juncture in life that he learned what he now calls the “Tarzan” rule, “Never let go of one vine, unless you’re holding another one”.  So instead of waiting to ease out, he quit and ended up bouncing around in  a variety of jobs he didn’t want and that were barely meeting the bills.

To keep things going, he found a job at an all-night Dunkin Donuts working the night shift.  One night he was scrubbing the baseboard and an old friend walked in. Now, he wasn’t so much embarrassed at where he was working, but what he was doing—scrubbing floors and not managing the place, he had been in restaurant management level jobs on and off for years., and was just embarrassed at his situation.

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Even though his friend did not seem to care and gave him praise for being willing to work hard, all he could see was that he was scrubbing floors for a living. He quit the next day, saying he would find something else.  While his friend said he was so proud of him being willing to take a tough job for his family. All my husband could think of was that he was working this low-level job, and his other friends were all doing well. It’s funny how the enemy makes you think that you’re the only one in a tough situation–the liar.  Anyway, he was too embarrassed to continue.  Well, he didn’t tell ME that he was quitting.  He was just eaten up with humiliation about the whole thing. He didn’t consult with ME about this at all.  I was hot.  How could he do that?! We needed that little bit of money he was getting.  We patched that up, and  he apologized to me about quitting but it helped him to see something about himself–PRIDE!  Yep, that big ol’ thang that sticks out its foot and trips many of us.

He failed to see the big picture which was working for the good of this family, keeping food on the table and keeping a roof over his head. Not feeling successful is a blow to any man. He was working at a world-famous restaurant a short time before and moving up the ladder and now he was scrubbing baseboard at Dunkin Donuts at 3:00AM. However, he realized that pride was playing a part in all of his recent decisions.  Like most people, my husband could not have foreseen the chain of events that would follow from a decision to quit. In the end, though, we all do what we have to, to survive. So he went back to school and  got a trade that led to a great career. He currently owns his own trucking company.

Most people do not live their lives perfectly and make perfect decisions. God understands when we are ill-advised or hasty in our decisions and some of those decisions can be devastating and will send us on the wrong path.  Yet, if our love for Him prevails, God will open our eyes to the root of the problem.

–excerpt from How to Walk on Water: A Christian’s Survival Guide for Going through Trials at Amazon.com

Monday Meditation: 

  1. Will pride keep us from seeing the big picture of God’s plan for our life?

  2. Do other people’s perceptions of us affect our decisions about our lives? Is this what God wants us to do?

  3. When we stay honest about our mistakes, God is faithful to come to our rescue. Is it harder to be forgiven or to forgive ourselves?

Learning to Communicate

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Commuinication can be a painful process. It can also be dangerous if not handled properly.   Here are 5 things to remember:

  1. Listen carefully to the tone and emotion of the words people send your way.  Then respond to the words and actual issue and not just the emotion.   Listening can make a big difference in how you respond.   Most communication is non-verbal, so if you are in front of a person, look at their eyes and body language as well.
  2. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Use the “room” perspective.  If two people are in a room, siting at opposite ends of a table, will they see the same thing?  Will they have the same view?  Of course not.  One person will see one side of the room and the other person, the other side.  The only way to see what another person sees is to get up and sit on their side of the table.
  3. Stick with the subject of the discussion and don’t bring in other things that have nothing to do with the current problem.  Save that for another time.
  4. Never send other people to communicate for you.  “Ask John if he really liked the party and let me know”.  Ask him yourself or live with not knowing.  When you have 2nd and  3rd hand communication, problems are just waiting to happen.  People more often than not put their own spin on the words said and it can skew your view of the answer.
  5. WATCH YOUR WORDS! Often when we are trying to express ourselves, our emotions are part of the package deal.  We need to learn self-control from God, since he created communication, he can show us how.  If you have time, think about the bottom line of what you want to say.  You don’t have to mention every iota of what came across your mind.  Get to the basics.  ” I felt…bad  when you said that”.  “When I thought you had ignored me it really hurt my feelings”.  In the book of revelations, when Christ had faults to tell the church, he first told them what they were doing right.   Always find that good side so that the person is not always on the defense in the conversation. Nobody likes a total putdown.   Hopefully you’re trying to build a bridge and not tear it down.

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