I stopped drinking my coffee to read the scathing email out loud to my husband and I could feel the red creeping up my neck.
Oh, I wasn’t created for customer service.
The email wasn’t to me personally, but it’s hard not to take complaints directed towards your life’s work personal. And I was glad I saw it before our staff did, so I could answer and then delete it.
I thought about my response. I told my husband what I wanted to say, but I’m a nice girl and you would be disappointed if you read it here.
“Here’s how you should respond,” Terrell said thoughtfully, as he shaved over the bathroom sink and our eyes met in the mirror. “Tell her, this isn’t about her.”
I threw a hand towel at him and laughed. “I can’t say that! The customer is always right…even when they are rude.” I answered the email from our generic email with all the politeness I could muster, but I was glad my husband said it out loud.
His words banged around in my heart the rest of the day. Because I carried those harsh words like a stone around my neck for the rest of the day.
But he was right: this wasn’t about her.
And it isn’t about me or you.
We are the result of a culture that is very good at making everything about us.
As a society, we are easily offended, indignant and harsh when things don’t go our way.
If we don’t like our job or something we’ve committed to, we find something else. At the first sign of struggle or difficulty, we walk away. We don’t like hard things. We like easy. We like convenience and comfort.
And sadly, this isn’t just a problem with the world. Christians might be the worst. If we don’t like our church or pastor, we look for something we like better. If we don’t like what people write or share on social media, we engage rather than walk away.
I’ll never forget the first time I recognized this: I was a kid and we were at a restaurant with people eating lunch after church. The waitress was not only slow, she was distracted and kept making mistakes. I watched some of the people from my church verbally attack her, complain to her manager and refuse to leave a tip–all after holding hands and praying out loud, asking “God to bless the meal and the hands that prepared it.” I remember thinking our table full of Christians made her bad day a lot worse.
“We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves,” David Platt.
This is the danger of making everything about us: we lose our joy.
I, mean, how many of us know joyless Christians? They are a delightful bunch.
True joy comes from giving, not receiving.
When we center our lives around comfort, make a habit of complaining about what we receive, and settle for a life void of generosity, we miss the point of living. Losing ourselves–giving our lives away–this is where we find deep satisfaction. The kind that doesn’t vanish when we don’t get what we want. It’s in this pouring out that we find ourselves and abiding joy.
I decided not to delete that email. Instead, I saved it as a good reminder that I need as much as the next person: not everything is about me.