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STOP SEEKING INSPIRATION

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by Megan Fate Marshman

 

“Hi, my name is Jessica. Are you calling to give a compliment or a complaint?”

“I’d like to compliment one of your drivers,” my husband responded.

There was a long pause. “I’m sorry, I think I may have misheard you. Did you say you’re calling to give a compliment?”

“Yes, you heard me correctly. I’d love to compliment one of your truck drivers. I’ve been driving behind him and noticed a “How’s-My-Driving?” sign on his truck along with this 1–800 number to call to give feedback, so I’ve spent the past few minutes mentally noting everything he was doing right.” She couldn’t believe it. She immediately got a case of the giggles. After ten years on the job receiving eight hours a day of back-to-back complaints about her drivers, this call was the very first compliment she had ever received.

In her amusement she urged him, “Please go on . . .”

He continued. “He was doing a fantastic job staying in between the lines.”

She burst into laughter. “Please tell me more, sir. What else did he do right?”

My husband managed to be creative while still remaining truthful. “Your driver maintained an adequate distance between his vehicle and the vehicle in front of him. Your driver also made multiple lane changes and used his turn indicator every . . . single . . . time.” He was on a roll.

Screaming with laughter, she requested, “Please say that lane change one again!”

Before my husband continued, we overheard her boasting to her coworkers in nearby cubicles. “Hey, everyone, you’ll never guess what I have on the line . . . a compliment!” She must’ve put us on speaker because we could hear the enjoyment from the other coworkers as we continued. She thanked us, and we hung up laughing, eyes peeled for any other excellent truck drivers on the road.

Since that day, my husband and I have aimed to habitually find the good in others. Since witnessing my husband’s pastime of complimenting truck drivers, I’ve begun to understand the power of seeking to find the good in others, too. And what is the very best “good” we can find in someone? God’s image, of course.

My husband didn’t mention God by name, but he did choose to find His image. He chose to respond to people in a way that illuminates the image of God in them. He chose to see the good, he chose to see the right, he chose to see God’s image. If you are on the lookout for things to complain about, you will absolutely find them. And you won’t just find them, you’ll magnify them. If you are looking for the downsides to yourself and your experiences, you will absolutely find them. But we can find God everywhere instead. We can find Him in the unlikeliest of places—we can even find Him in people who haven’t found Him yet. It’s a promise. Jeremiah 29:13 God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13 is one of the greatest evangelistic texts in the Old Testament. It defines an appropriate approach to God and also presents an astounding truth: God is findable. When you seek to find God, you’ll find who you’re looking for. What a beautiful promise: We must take God at His Word and not add to His equation. Seek --> God = Find --> God! God is both the path and the goal.

What we seek in others is important because it dictates what we find. If we’re not careful, we’ll fall into the all-too-familiar-trap of merely finding and focusing on what people do wrong. If we seek perfection in our family or friends, we’ll find all the ways they fall short. But there’s another way. Rather than falling prey to human nature by seeking perfection, we can instead seek to find the person they’re becoming.

What our community needs is not a perfect standard but people who seek to find Christ in others. If we want to see the people around us growing and becoming people who find the best in others, we need to seek and point out the best we find in them.

Luckily, we’re not without a model ourselves. Jesus saw who people were becoming before they had arrived. From choosing unqualified disciples, to sharing meals with sinners, to the thief He forgave on the cross, Jesus found opportune moments to see who people were becoming. While we don’t have Jesus’s ability to see the future, we can take advantage of the present by seeking and finding the best in our friends and family. We can seek and point out the seemingly small, yet significant moments where they get things right. Not only does it impact them in that moment, it will impact their future as well. In seeking to find the good, what others are doing right, we model for them a lifestyle that is counter-cultural. How do I know? Because it took 10 years for Jessica to receive a compliment.

Will you join me in seeking to find God’s image in others a conscious habit? Let me tell you, we have to be intentional to do so. If we’re not intentional, we’ll drift toward a critical life—critiquing terrible drivers and complaining about frustrating people. Thankfully, intentionally seeking and finding the good in others has become one of my greatest delights—and, as a result, people get to see the good in me.

 

>© 2020 by Megan Fate Marshman. All rights reserved


 

Megan Fate Marshman loves God and His church. She is a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, speaks to audiences internationally, leads the women’s ministry at Arbor Road Church, and serves as director of women’s ministries at Hume Lake Christian Camps. She recently released her newest book Meant for Good and Bible study curriculum. She currently lives in southern California with her family.

 

You can also find out more about Megan Fate Marshman by visiting meganfate.com or by following her on Instagram @meganfate .

 

God has a good plan for you—a plan to give you hope and a future. Are you ready to believe it? Grab a copy of Megan’s newest book Meant for Good and Bible study curriculum.>

 

 

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