Baby boomers, Gen X’ers, and non-Christians are not off the hook. The whole of humanity needs this lesson. But I’m directing this to my generation, my spiritual family, because we’ve got to get our own lives together before we go telling others that they need to change.
My generation is continually obsessive about only doing things that benefit us, make us happy, and work out for us, while immediately cutting out everything that does not fall into one of those categories. We are in charge. Our lives are about us, therefore if we don’t like something, we change it. If something’s not working for us, we just aren’t going to have it. We run our lives, and we are in control of our situation.
So if we don’t like our job, by all means, we’re just going to quit showing up. If we don’t feel like helping that friend move, we’re just going to bail. Because we don’t have to do anything we don’t want to do.
I have lost count of the amount of people with whom I have come into contact that have proven themselves to be unreliable. These people give their word on something, then back out, or simply never show up, and never apologize for it. And it’s not just one or two times - it’s a habitual, consistent practice.
Someone asks us for help on Tuesday, we say yes, then Tuesday comes and we “don’t feel like it” or “don’t think we can make it after all”. Quite simply, we’re being lazy and selfish and only thinking of our needs in the moment. While it is true that we do not have to do anything, this behavior of just dropping everything we don’t feel like doing anymore, is immature.
I get it that situations change, and sometimes your original word might not be possible to carry out. That is understandable as circumstances sometimes need to be altered.
I realize that sometimes, we have every intention of keeping our word, but later realize that the follow-through is going to be more difficult than anticipated. It may be difficult, but we’ve got to keep it. We’ve got to stop shying away from doing hard things.
Another instance that has driven me to my current point of frustration, is the witnessing of multiple Christian young adults in the workplace, deciding individually that they want to quit their jobs, and quit.
I am all for moving on if something isn’t working for you. But there is an honorable way to do so, a way that is respectful of everyone involved. Not showing up is not that way. Furthermore, there is much to be said for sticking it out beyond the initial frustration to see if, in fact, perhaps your character may be developed a bit more before calling it quits. Perhaps not everything in life exists to make us happy.
There is a fine line between changing something we don’t like in our lives that only affects us, and not showing up to work because we aren’t going to work at a place that isn’t benefiting us anymore without even giving a two-week notice.
I am appalled at the times I’ve witnessed this by people who say they are Christians. This is one of several reasons Christians have terrible reputations. Do we really think Jesus is pleased with this behavior? While he isn’t going to throw stones at us for it, he will consistently, gently hound us and give us circumstances until we start to grow and change, because he is interested in making us like him. Transforming our character to reflect that of his character. Molding our behavior to accurately portray his heart.
Being reliable is a small thing, but it speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. Being able and willing to follow through on what you say, is a habit that will earn you the respect and trust of others.
Now, maybe you aren’t interested in being trustworthy to others. But I’m pretty damn sure that you want to be respected.
This isn’t hard to understand. It’s common sense. You may know it by another name: people skills.
We all know that you aren’t going to get very far in life without people skills. You can have all the talent, intelligence and wealth in the world, but if you don’t have people skills, there’s no point. You’re going to crash and burn, because people aren’t going to like you, and you’re not going to realize why until you look around and survey your life and realize that you don’t have real friends.
Saying you will do something and then doing it is one of the best people skills out there. It shows the world that you are confident, dependable, and capable. It places a high value on your word. It shows that your word is meaningful to you, and you don’t take it lightly. This teaches others to value your word.
Saying you will do something and then not doing it tells everyone that you are wishy-washy and don’t know what you’re doing. You aren’t sure what you want. You are dependent on other things, situations, and people to dictate your actions. You’re a responder, not an initiator. Your word is flippant, and not worth very much.
People will stop believing what you say. “I mean, she said she was coming, but that doesn’t mean anything - she bails out all the time.”
Do we really want to be that person? Or do we want to be high quality, the best version of ourselves we can be?
Friends, we need to be able to count on others. We need reliable people in our lives. Let’s do the same, be the same, for those we care about.
Let’s show others that Christians are the people on whom they can rely. Christians are the people who say they’re going to do something, and do it. They don’t back down on their word. Let’s be trustworthy and respectable. It won’t cost us anything to do so. In fact, it will greatly enhance our lives and the lives of those around us.
We preach boldly through our “ministry”, let’s do the same in the smallest areas of our lives that people are indeed watching, just as much as the big areas.