It’s The Little Things

In January I started doing Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) for the first time. Yoga is not new to me, but going to a studio and taking a class with an instructor is. I have to say I love it. Do I love dripping with sweat? Do I love stretching my body like it’s on a torture rack? Do I love twisting my body like a pretzel? No, not really, but I do love how limber, renewed and clear minded it makes me feel.

What I have noticed in yoga, especially in a studio with all those mirrors and an instructor watching you, is how the littlest change in a position makes a big difference. Changing the angle of your hands or feet, holding your head in the correct way, dropping your shoulders (my biggest challenge), reaching just a tiny bit further, holding a pose a fraction of a second longer, engaging your core and flexing the correct muscles while relaxing the others, all make a huge difference in the benefits and purpose of the individual poses.

Little Things Make Big Differences.

I don’t think we really grasp the power of a small gestures: a smile, a nod, eye contact, a firm hand shake, punctuality, consistency, etc.

We see the obvious connections. For example, when we work hard on a job we get a positive response. – When we study hard, we get a good grade. Or the opposite: If I forget to do something, or do it poorly, I get a negative response.- If I don’t pay attention in class and I don’t study, I get a bad grade. This we understand. But I don’t think we really understand how important the little things in life are. If we did, we would pay closer attention to them.

I am often reminded of Song of Solomon 2:15, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” (NKJV) The little foxes represent the things in our lives that we may consider small or of no consequence, but these are the very things that can ruin the fruit we desire to produce in our lives.

I want to talk about a one of those “foxes” that I believe is spoiling the fruit of our lives and our society.

Rudeness

I have noticed a trend in our culture right now. Rudeness is on the rise. I don’t think people mean to be rude, and most likely are unaware that they are being rude… but rude they are.

Common courtesy isn’t so common anymore. Sadly, public edicts are becoming a thing of the past. I am amazed at how oblivious some people are. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to step out of the way to avoid being ran into by someone walking and texting. I have had to wait patiently (trying to be patient) to get around someone while they become aware that they are blocking the way. People are rude because they are clueless.

Selfishness and laziness are big contributors to rude behavior as well. One of my biggest pet peeves is litter. How selfish and lazy does one have to be to just leave their trash where ever they are? Do they think there is a trash fairy that is going to deal with it? There are trash cans everywhere! How hard is it? Just throw it away!

Another pet peeve: abandoned grocery carts. This is a mystery to me. I think the rudeness of this speaks for itself.

“No one is more insufferable than he who lacks basic courtesy.” Bryant McGill

Small things like letting someone go ahead of you in line or holding the door for the person behind you is all too rare. I realized this the other day when, after holding the door for a couple behind me, the gentlemen said, “Wow. I haven’t seen that in awhile.” My response was, “That’s sad.” and I believe it is. What does it cost to wait two seconds to be helpful and kind.

“… always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NIV)

Cell phone edict is becoming a big problem in the rude factor. Volume, for starters. Some people are unmindful of where they are and how loud they are talking when they are on the phone. Standing in line the other day, the gal in front of me was having a long drawn out conversation to what I could only assume was the father of her child. I guessed this because her phone was on speaker! Really?! Everybody in line got to hear about the drama they were dealing with. I did get a kick, however, out of watching the irritation and disdain of the customer directly in front of her.

Another way people are ill-mannered with their cell phones is when the conversation via text or voice becomes more important than the conversation they are having with the person they are with. I get answering a quick text or taking a quick call, but feeling like a third wheel to a person and their phone is very awkward.

In the words of Stephanie Tanner (Full House) “How rude!”

I’m sure I sound anti cell phone. I am not! I love the convince my cell phone provides, but one has to admit, for all the good cell phones have brought, they have certainly increased the rudeness in our society. It could be defined as a “little fox” if not used with appropriate edict.

I have noticed an incline of  rudeness on the road as well. People seem to be in their own little worlds when they drive. This is a problem, because there are a whole lot of us on the road with them having to slam on the brakes when they pull out without looking, and swerve to miss them when they drift into another lane because they are texting or something. Don’t even get me started about High School kids who cross the street at will whether a car is heading right for them or not!

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.” Ephesians 5:15 (NKJV)

I have lived long enough and seen enough to realize how much impact all these little things make. Favor is very fragile, and it is won or lost with the little things. Little things like: kind gestures, warm smiles, thoughtfulness, listening, caring, faithfulness, diligence and promptness may seem small,  but they make a big difference in the favor and fruit of our lives.

In our years as Senior Pastors we have employed a number of people, and I have to say it is seldom the “big things” that results in their dismissal, although that has happened. It is most often a build up of “little foxes” that ruin the vine of their employment: a negative attitude, laziness, selfishness, tardiness, and unwillingness eat up their favor and their opportunity to serve with us.

I can’t really do anything about the state of our society, but I can do something about myself. I know I have been guilty of most of these things at some point in time, but my goal is to learn from it and do my best to show the love of Christ through the little things; through common courtesy. After all, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

 I want to encourage you to “catch the little foxes” that may be spoiling your vine of relationships and opportunities so your life will be filled with favor and wonderful fruit!

  • elainemedina

    Oh Joani, you so hit this nail right on the head!! Being rude is one of my biggest pet peeves, and I mimic Stephanie very often by saying, ‘how rude.’ I remember being in Jack in the Box one day and asking a woman to use her ‘inside voice’ as she was so loud, makes you wonder what people are thinking when they go off in their own little worlds, oblivious to us earthlings. 🙂 Aloha from Hawaii….

  • Robin

    I totally agree with you Joani. Rudeness drives me bonkers. I know that no one is perfect, and we all might have a moment of self absorbtion that lends to being rude, but I, like you, have noticed the growing trend, and when it is accompanied with attitude that really fires me up! What happened to social graces, and treating others the way you want to be treated? I sadly believe those days are long gone. Hoping for sweeter days….