Friday, February 3, 2012

Lessons From the Self Check-out Lane

I was in the store today at the self check-out lane and I clearly had the most messed up register there. After almost everything I scanned, the little voice in the box said, "Please remove the last item from the bag. An attendant has been notified to assist you."

Sadly, it told me that as soon as I scanned the item and before I put it in the bag. I could feel my frustration and anxiety levels rise with each swipe, wondering if I was going to get another good talking to from the voice in the box.

There in the midst of the grocery store, I realized I had two choices. I could complain and pitch a fit in front of the poor checkout attendant who was now standing beside me because I needed him so often, or I could realize this little glitch in my day was being brought to me by, the letter "C". Yes, the letter "C".

You see everyday we get to choose how we will react to the world around us and to the circumstances that come our way. Do we let those circumstances change us, our moods, our attitude and our personality, or do we somehow through our reactions change the outcome of our circumstances?

Part of that choosing, especially in situations like these, is in how we respond verbally. I try to be aware of when I step over from complaining to being critical. One is not a far leap from the other and neither are helpful. Sadly, I can excel at both if I'm not careful.

I can remember a time when the Lord showed me very clearly the level of criticism I was typically walking in. At that time I asked him to show me situations that I knew of, where I was the object of the criticism of others. Ouch! That stung like you wouldn't believe and it left a long lasting impression on me.

That was several years ago, and I'm not the same woman now. While I'm not perfected in those areas, and I still complain or catch myself being critical from time to time, you can bet it doesn't last for very long and I am quick to stop it when I'm aware that I'm doing it. I want the fruit of my lips to be something much sweeter. That and I certainly don't want to be known as one who has a critical spirit.

If I had to give myself a grade for this little test today, I think it would be a B+. While I did get a bit more frustrated over the inconvenience of the situation, I still managed to leave the store smiling, not allowing it to affect my mood. Much.

So thank you, faulty self check out register! You kept me on my toes today. However, I am sure you won't be offended if I decide to choose another self check-out lane next time.