Tag Archives: What have you done for me lately?

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

16 Jan

Okay, I am really venturing onto dangerous territory this week.  More than once.  Ha!

I have many young friends but I am going to say this–I think the generation currently in its 20’s and 30’s (is that just one generation?  I can’t keep track) is the most entitled generation ever.  

Some of my friends will know straightaway that this doesn’t apply to them.  Even if we joke about it.

Some will know that it sometimes does apply.  And we may joke about that, too.  

I kind of understand how it must feel.  We have kind of put you guys in a position where you are on the hook for our social security, and now our health care, without any guarantees that both of those systems will not bankrupt before you need them.  We are like a giant generational Ponzi scheme.  Not at all cool!

We were probably the last generation ever that wound up richer than its parents’ generation.  Then there were too many of us Baby Boomers and too few of you and . . . that just doesn’t sustain (do the math!).  

However, there is way to tiptoe around these realities with good will prevailing between us all and there is a way to crash like a bull through the generational china shop.

In general, when we can help you financially, we jump at the chance.  Even when we are not your actual parents, but just a couple of surrogates enlarging your world and your financial situation.  However, no one likes to be taken for granted.  We all like to feel that we belong in this world–that we are appreciated as people and not just as wallets with legs.  

So . . . you can play the game, or not.  

What is a good way that we can tell when you have chosen to not play the game?

Well, when we get laid off and you suddenly change your relationship with us might be one way!

That said, though, my main concern this week is not finances, but rather the fact that we may be inadvertently teaching you that envy and jealousy are okay.  

You see, we all get envious/jealous at some point in our lives.  But when I was young and found that happening, I would examine my heart and work on myself, with God’s help.

I am afraid nowadays we may have passed along the message to you that it is justifiable to feel envy toward others and that we totally understand if you let your envy harden into bitterness.  

Think not?

What happens when your children don’t receive as much attention as other children at church, Bible study, or playgroup?  What do you do?  What do we counsel you to do?

In general, no one is going to have all the same friends as another person.  You and each of your friends have a different network because you are different people.  If you have an older couple in your life who adore your kids, you are blessed.  Please don’t compare yourselves to others and get upset if you find another family that has two older couples loving on their kids!!!  Don’t plot to have your kids compete with the kids of another family for attention.  That is a lot to put on your kids.  Enjoy the friends you have, especially if they dote on your kids!

And don’t mope about uneven amounts of attention given by adults to other adults either.  The same thing goes.  We are all in different networks.  We also all have different personalities and so no two people will ever get the same amount of attention in the same situation.  It is statistically impossible.  

For example, I got a huge amount of attention the year I lost 100 pounds.  It was like everyone in my life became my cheering section. As outgoing as I am, I was constantly reporting to close friends, casual friends, and even perfect strangers the number of pounds I was down!

I think I got more attention that year than all other weight loss folks I have ever known put together!

But . . . I have a summer birthday and, ever since high school when I realized that birthdays are often celebrated by going out with friends, I have had spells of regretting that I was born while school is out and most people are concentrating on their vacations.  I have had one self-catered birthday party with friends (when I turned 40), one party at my best friend’s house when I happened to be visiting on my birthday, and one surprise slumber party when I turned 18 that still makes me giggle because there is no greater way to create shock than to plan a surprise party for a person with a summer birthday who doesn’t even have the concept of celebrating with friends!!!

So . . . see how that works?  I got dollops of attention for my weight loss but have bypassed the birthday parties that many others take for granted.  And every one of us has things like that–areas where we have received abundance to an overflow and other areas where we can feel somewhat left out at times.  

When we feel left out, let’s not institutionalize that.  Let’s find the parts where we can count blessings and feel grateful.  

Otherwise, we risk having an attitude of “what have you done for me lately?” coming across in our relationships and poisoning them.  

For truly, we are responsible, working with God, to find our own happiness and to live in our own state of contentment.  

If we don’t do that, it is not something anyone else can do for us, even loving surrogate (or actual) parents.  


Baptist Food Fights: Letting Pastors Bid for our Membership

4 Feb

Okay, I haven’t always been a fundamental Baptist.  I was for my first eighteen years, then I took an interlude in the charismatic and Episcopal circles for over 20 years.  Have been back for 12 years now, so I guess that is exactly 30 of my 54 years.

All that to say, sometimes I still think like an outsider.

I love our high regard for the Scriptures and clear preaching.  I do not like some of our silly rituals though (I know all denominations have them!).

One that still has me scratching my head, because it seems specifically Baptist and Southern, is the auction bidding that happens when a family starts trying out the fundamental churches in town.

I mean, they never just head to one church and give it a try for two or three months.  They always visit them all, then wait for the pastors of the various churches to make them an offer.

I didn’t know this when we first joined our fundie church (where it later happened that the pastor’s wife became one of my best friends ever), but people actually expect these pastors and their wives to court them with appropriate amounts of attention, time, services, food, and possibly even monetary gifts.


Where did  the idea go about praying to find the right church where we might serve God with a compatible team?

No, instead, we show up with the idea “What have you done for me lately?” ringing in our brains.

It isn’t even enough if the pastor and his wife provide meals and childcare for us if they don’t continue to do it consistently.  I have known people to let themselves be courted by a pastor and his wife, join the church, hang around a couple of years till a disagreement with the pastor erupts (as it always does within a mindset intent on making mountains out of molehills), and then rancorously leave the church, claiming the pastor never did anything to show them he cared.  Well, not within the past 20 minutes anyhow.

And if we have an attitude of ingratitude, we can’t remember back past 20 minutes ago anyway.

So pastors and their wives get slandered for no good reason.  “They never came to visit us, regardless of the crisis we went through” (said with not even a trace of irony after accepting childcare from the pastor and his family for almost a year!).

I always thought it funny that I didn’t know enough to expect goodies from our pastor just for trying his church!!!  In fact, the original pastor’s wife wasn’t well when we arrived and I didn’t even meet her for about six months.  And never realized I was supposed to feel cheated by that <joking!!!> .

My vote is that we let pastors and their wives relax and quit trying to court us.  That we just go to a good church where the Lord leads us to show up ready to get to work!

“What Have You Done for Me Lately?”

19 Dec

I Corinthians 13:4, “Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,”

Now, on the flip side of the post I just wrote about loyalty as a friend (“Sorry, I Like Her”), there is the idea that some friends do sport the attitude of “what have you done for me lately?”

I will just say I refuse to play that game.  Generally, there would be a long laundry list of things I could name:  attending your parties when you are selling something (and giving you a good sale), attending your children’s graduations and weddings (and giving great gifts), visiting you in the hospital or rehab, sponsoring you when you walk for charity, listening to you when you need a sounding board, not letting others speak ill of you behind your back . . . But usually, when someone is in the “what have you done for me lately?” mode, nothing you can say will work with them anyway.  So I usually let that be between that person and God.

With my elderly friends, I have even gone as far as cleaning homes and moving my Bible study group from a church over to a member’s home while she was recuperating from surgery, so I know the lengths I have gone to in being a friend.  And I know that doesn’t need defending.  So I just don’t do it.

Just a recommendation.  When people have expectations of you that are either invisible or impossible for you to meet, let it be up to them to look at your track record as a friend and see whether it is loyal.  If so, no worries for you.

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