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Monday, December 06, 2010

Be Intentional!

Ronie Kendig grew up an Army brat, married a veteran, and they now have four children, a Golden Retriever, and a Maltese Menace. She has a BS in Psychology, speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers. Her novels include Dead Reckoning, a spy thriller and 2010 INSPY Award Finalist, Nightshade, Discarded Heroes #1, and Digitalis, Discarded Heroes #2,, will release January 1, 2011--just a few short weeks away! Ronie can be found at www.roniekendig.com or www.discardedheroes.com.


Bellies full of turkey and pumpkin pie, we fall into
a contented sleep. Then, as night still drapes the sky in darkness, Black Friday launches the holiday madness. With it, there’s chaos, rushing, and the stress of getting that perfect gift! Three Christmases ago, I worked at a large department store on Black Friday. What I saw and experienced stunned me stupid. It was appalling. People so obsessed with deals and saving money that they forgot how to be civil. They forgot those around them were people too. Working that weekend changed me.

As a writer, I see the chaos and ugliness of other “Black Fridays” that happen at conferences. Or in writing contests. Or on Facebook. One writer sees another get that publishing contract they wanted. Or perhaps they’re published with one house but see the benefits of being published with another. Someone hits the bestseller list and they don’t. A friend is a candidate for an award and their name is nowhere on the list. I know I’ve experienced some of those pangs of professional jealousy. And it’s changed me.

It’s so easy to get down, discouraged, and lose the drive to continue on. In church one Sunday, my pastor used a phrase that completely resonated with me: Be intentional. He was talking about getting out of bed and attending service, but I realized. . .it applies to just about every area of my life. Friendships. Shopping. Attitudes. And it changed me.

We live in a world obsessed with attaining success. . .then the next measure of success. . .and the next. Driven to succeed, to do this, or that, we forget. . .we aren’t the only human populating this incredible world we live in. There are people around us, people longing to hear some good news, one word of encouragement, whether it’s about them, their writing, or whatever. So, I’ve determined to be intentional about my attitudes, about what I let affect me, and most importantly. . .I’m determined to be intentional about people/friends. That changed me.

Getting out of the “me-me-me” syndrome shifts our attention. . .and ironically, brings about blessings and joy that we couldn’t imagine. By removing the mask of gloom and doom over all the tings that aren’t the way I want them to be, I now REJOICE in the things that are sweet, or unexpected, and in their own way, so very beautiful. And it changed me.

One day, we were at WalMart, and my daughter whispered to me that the cashier was very nice. I told my daughter, “Then tell her. There's enough negativity in the world already."
Blushing, she told the cashier. And that young lady lit up and smiled. I’d almost pay to see that change effected in someone’s day. It changes you!

Things are harried, there are disappointments—maybe the house you wanted to write for isn’t taking your genre anymore. Maybe your crit partners have all gotten contracts and you’re the lone duck without out. There are a million reasons that are easily found (no digging required—they’d be glad to introduce themselves to you!) to be discouraged and discontented about. But you are so much more important that those things, and your spheres of influence (those around you) are so much more important. Be intentional to spread cheer and joy! I promise, it will change you!

In the grocery store and have a check-out clerk who is kind? Thank them. Can you tell that barista is having a tough day? Compliment them on something. Make their day.

BE INTENTIONAL about being a positive force. I promise you. . .it will change you.

6 comments:

BK said...

Ronie, this is so important. People are often rude by ommission. They accept the grocery cart from the greeter at Walmart without saying a word, ditto the cashier transaction, etc.

I make it a practice to go out of my way to greet them, maybe crack a joke or two (as a frequent Walmart shopper, I've had much occasion to talk to the staff lately as I try to find my way around the store after the remodel. LOL!)

RE: Black Friday--I NEVER go out shopping on that day but our Pastor was just telling us that he went out. I said "You should have let us know so we could pray for you." (and yes, the jostlers, shouters and other rude people were served before he was)

Michael Ehret said...

Ronie, this is such an important life attitude to have. Thanks for sharing it. I know it has made a difference in my life. And I hope because it has, that I've made a difference in others' lives.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Thanks, Ronie, great comments. Your post reminds me of Phil. 4 where Paul says he's learned to be content in whatever circumstances he is.

Challenge for the Christmas season: bring a smile to the face of every clerk with whom we come in contact.

Becky

Ronie Kendig said...

Great comments, y'all! Becky, I loved your challenge.

I was so impressed to find out that my eldest daughter was saving up her coins the last month or two so she could put them in the Salvation Army buckets. Talk about being intentional!

It's easy to be grouchy and grow frustrated and irritated with the crowds and demanding personalities...but I am tired of it. LOL I want joy!

Ane Mulligan said...

We think it but so often don't do it. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Nicole said...

Excellent, Ronie. Truly.