November and December usher in Retail Overdrive for most of America. Being in the retail business myself, this season means busy, busy, busy....but, not necessarily happy, happy, happy. The super highway of holiday gift shopping can translate into anxiety for a lot of people. In the midst of thinking through the next couple of weeks, it occurred to me that most of the population has been on at least one side of the retail counter, either as a consumer or in sales; however, I bet it is safe to say a great percentage has also experienced both. Think about the number of transactions that occur in this community during the course of a day. Two people face to face for a few minutes. What does this translate into from an eternal perspective? Answer: An amazing opportunity.
As believers and followers of Jesus, we are called to love loud in our community......just by being nice. Think about it. The hustle and bustle. The crowds. The sales. The lack of inventory. The lines. The dreaded traffic. All of these factors really could justify a short fuse or an ugly tone. As professed followers of Christ, our reaction is not a matter of emotion or mood, rather is it a matter of obedience. In the above passage, Jesus gives the two greatest commandments. He kept it short and simple for a reason. He wants us to get it and he wants us to live it (notice present tense). We can accomplish loving others through words, actions, and the all telling body language. Yes, Sisters, if you are like me, you express a novel's worth of words with the crossing of arms, rolling of eyes, exhaling of sighs, and sucking of teeth. Let's not waste a unique opportunity by communicating frustration instead of compassion.
Hear me out. I am not promoting being a pushover or an irresponsible consumer; however, I am saying that we all can handle inconvenience and wrongdoing with honor, dignity and respect. And believe me, they are watching. Every cashier. Every associate. Every manager. Every teenager. They are watching....listening...hoping. Is there anyone who will stand out? Is there anyone who is different? Is there anyone who will go out of their way to serve them with a little grace and understanding? And if you are different, what makes you different? Poof.....a seed is planted. Now, who will water it? Maybe someone else who will be different for the sake of loving loud?
I'm not judging. I'm confessing. I might be in the retail business, but I am most definitely a consumer (probably more than my ever patient husband would like). And this weather (for goodness sakes); I'll just confess it right now. 85 degrees in December makes the choice of being in a foul mood rather tempting. The other day, I just stood in the sticky, humid rain in my #bejoy shirt as a reminder that I always have a choice.
Therefore, this is my list of behaviors to practice when I am in the consumer world. Feel free to join me.
1) I am going to arm myself through review of Ephesians 6:10-18 and prayer before I walk into a retail setting. I may put this passage in the notes section of my phone or go old school and write it on a notecard.
2.) When I walk into an establishment, I am going to look for what is right before I criticize what is wrong. I will talk myself into position by thanking God for 3 positive observations.
3.) I will ask the Lord to lay one sales associate on my heart so I can say a silent prayer for that person.
4.) I will not consider my wants and needs the most important factor in the scenario. Fact: It is not all about me.
5.) "The customer is always right" does not excuse my reaction to inconvenience. I am 100% responsible for my own behavior 100% of the time. I don't think Jesus is going to buy the old, "But there were 50 people in line and they only had one cashier open." excuse. Speaking from an eternal perspective that is.....
6.) I will look to serve someone else through offering them a dose of kindness, pleasantness and patience bathed in the relentless love of Jesus. After all, I am sure I have committed many epic fail moments when it comes to serving my Lord and Savior. And yet, by the grace of God, He still loves me.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.