One Day at a Time Devotional
Recently my husband and I created an extra sitting area for our small dining room consisting of two benches to be placed alongside the wall. Our dining table only sat eight (we are a family of nine, almost ten) and so if we had company over, some would have to sit either in the living room or in the basement at another table. Well, this isn’t very convenient or welcoming if you are trying to be hospitable.
So, thanks to my husband’s brain and my brawn, we crafted these lovely benches from extra scrap wood we had lying around. The difficulty to this project was that my husband and I aren’t used to working together this way (that’s what we have sons for, right?) and so we had to learn how to communicate our expectations and instructions without strife. Once that was accomplished, we then had to assemble the benches. There was sanding, staining, and other finish work that needed to be done. Well, guess who got to do the dirty work? You’re right, me (it was my idea anyways)!
I sanded these old pieces of wood until I thought they were smooth. I would then take my hand and run it along the wood to check for rough spots and lo and behold, here came the splinters! So, I would sand some more until I thought it was ready to be stained, I would do the splinter check and then it was time for the stain. The wood looked so nice after its’ first coat of walnut stain. After I was satisfied with my handiwork in the staining department, I moved onto a thin coat of polyurethane – for those of you who don’t know what this is, it is a protectant for the stain and wood and is what gives your woodwork a nice sheen – to complete the project.
After a few days of drying, I was so excited to finally place them in my home. In my excitement, I ran my hand along one of the benches one more time and what do you know? Another splinter! After all the splinters I received, I was afraid to drink water unless I would leak from all the puncture wounds they had caused. Needless to say, those benches are sitting in my dining room right now and have made seating arrangements much more convenient. It was definitely worth the pain and suffering! But, isn’t this how relationships are? Think back to your first years of marriage, your days raising toddlers or even teenagers, your interactions with co-workers or family members. I am sure there were some rough spots that needed to be worked out or looked over.
Recently, my pastor spoke on paradigms – viewpoints – that each of us can have and can gender strife or disunity, particularly if we are not willing to be considerate of another’s way of thinking. Well, it got me thinking about my own relationships in life and the many rough spots I have encountered or have caused. It is something I pray over for myself because I realize, at times, I am hard to get along with and at other times it is hard for me to get along with others.
So, as I prayed over this I began to do some research. I realized that not only did I need to pray for myself, but I needed to pray for others that I felt I was having difficulty getting along with and then I needed to live out First Corinthians chapter thirteen – the love chapter – when it says in verse eight, “Charity never faileth:” In other words, it doesn’t matter what you know or what you do if the person you are trying to reach does not feel loved. Where love is felt, the message is heard.
Admittedly, this is hard for me because I am a loner. I like my privacy, I like my space and I like others to do what I tell them to. I tend to think that my way of thinking – paradigms – is the best way. It is easy for me to assume that others should think like me and do things the same way I do them. This way of thinking is selfishness on my part and is not an attitude of love. Thankfully, God has smoothed out some of these rough spots in my personality, but there are still some areas that need to be worked on.
Now, how about you? Are there some areas that God could smooth out in your personality, relationships, or life? Did you know that it is much easier when we are spending time with Him and are yielded to the Holy Spirit? None of us are perfect and are all clay in the Potter’s hand needing to be molded to God’s will, “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8”
Instantly, how can we get along with others? How can we be easier to get along with? As mentioned earlier, I did some research to answer these questions and according to Dave Packard’s “11 Simple Rules” this is what you and I can do.
- Think first of the other fellow. This is THE foundation – the first requisite – for getting along with others. And it is the one truly difficult accomplishment you must make. Gaining this, the rest will be “a breeze.”
- Build up the other person’s sense of importance. When we make the other person seem less important, we frustrate one of his deepest urges. Allow him to feel equality or superiority, and we can easily get along with him.
- Respect the other man’s personality rights. Respect as something sacred the other fellow’s right to be different from you. No two personalities are ever molded by precisely the same forces.
- Give sincere appreciation. If we think someone has done a thing well, we should never hesitate to let him know it. WARNING: This does not mean promiscuous use of obvious flattery. Flattery with most intelligent people gets exactly the reaction it deserves – contempt for the egotistical “phony” who stoops to it.
- Eliminate the negative. Criticism seldom does what its user intends, for it invariably causes resentment. The tiniest bit of disapproval can sometimes cause a resentment which will rankle – to your disadvantage – for years.
- Avoid openly trying to reform people. Every man knows he is imperfect, but he doesn’t want someone else trying to correct his faults. If you want to improve a person, help him to embrace a higher working goal – a standard, an ideal – and he will do his own “making over” far more effectively than you can do it for him.
- Try to understand the other person. How would you react to similar circumstances? When you begin to see the “whys” of him you can’t help but get along better with him.
- Check first impressions. We are especially prone to dislike some people on first sight because of some vague resemblance (of which we are usually unaware) to someone else whom we have had reason to dislike. Follow Abraham Lincoln’s famous self-instruction: “I do not like that man; therefore I shall get to know him better.”
- Take care with the little details.Watch your smile, your tone of voice, how you use your eyes, the way you greet people, the use of nicknames and remembering faces, names and dates. Little things add polish to your skill in dealing with people. Constantly, deliberately think of them until they become a natural part of your personality.
- Develop genuine interest in people.You cannot successfully apply the foregoing suggestions unless you have a sincere desire to like, respect, and be helpful to others. Conversely, you cannot build genuine interest in people until you have experienced the pleasure of working with them in an atmosphere characterized by mutual liking and respect.
- Keep it up. That’s all—just keep it up!
I realize that these simple steps came from a man, but I think it is important to realize that he was leading a large corporation permeating with relationships. Getting along with others is difficult and being easy to get along with is also difficult. Let me encourage you to be more understanding of those who are hard to get along with and pray for them asking the Lord to remove those rough spots. If you are one who is hard to get along with, pray for yourself and work on this personality flaw.
Remember, there are always some rough spots to be smoothed out, even when we think we, God’s project, is nearly complete and we are better than we have ever been. Jesus Christ was our example as He ministered to and loved many, including Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him. Is this not what Christ would have you and I to do when He challenges us to, “love one another as we love ourselves?”
& One Day at a Time Devotional,
a ministry of Riverview Baptist Church