Making Everyone Happy

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You can’t make everyone happy.” Someone said that to me this week, and it triggered my reflection about their motive for making that statement. You see, it was pretty evident they were hungry for approval. Their quest to please others was really a reflection of their need for love and affirmation. Their striving to be people-pleaser came from a feeling of emptiness and a desire to be served, not to serve.

If we’re honest, everyone has a little people-pleaser in them. Some have more than others. A good question to ask in response to a people-pleasing tendency is “How concerned am I with me?

Is my striving to please, at its deepest level, a striving to please myself? Am I attempting to garner some praise, make myself look superior, put someone in my debt, or simply to be loved? Would I still freely serve the other person if I got nothing in return?

If the answers to the above questions are yes, yes and no, then we have to unlearn what we have learned. There is a way to make everyone happy, but it’s not by trying to please them for your benefit.

To unwind worldly people-pleasing, you have to shift your focus from pleasing yourself to pleasing God. God-honoring people pleasing is about glory. Ask yourself these questions instead:

  • Am I content to get out of the way?
  • Who get’s the glory?

If your answers are yes and God, then you’re on the right track to unlearning what you’ve learned. To the degree we are seeking His glory, our people-pleasing becomes faithful, beautiful and liberating. We are called by God to please everyone in everything we do, and it is possible, as long as we do what we do in God’s name and humbly give Him the credit.

This is what I mean by being content to get out of the way. My aim is to give no offense to anyone, specifically an offense that might get in the way of them knowing God. They may be offended by Him, because of what he says, who he claims to be and what he demands, but not with me. As far as I’m concerned, I will go great lengths to say what I say and do what I do so that they will be pleased with me. I will be kind, calm, grateful, gentle, joyful, patient, respectful, caring and loving. In my experience, that is the only way to make everyone happy.

Neighborly Love Podcast, Episode 4 – Arlene Weichert (Christmas Special Episode)

Ordinary People. Extraordinary Conversations.

If “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” collided at an intersection, then the Neighborly Love podcast would be the result. It features casual conversations over coffee in a “virtual coffee shop” that lean into the power of empathy. It’s about feeling heard, valued and understood. It’s about serving others. It’s about depositing money in our relational banks.

Neighborly Love is an original podcast by MindWolves. Host Marc Casciani, author of Craft Your Calling and Neighborly Love, interviews ordinary people about their heart for God and serving other people for the greater good.

Episode 4 – Arlene Weichert

Marc interviews Arlene Weichert, Executive Vice President of Sales at Automated Control Concepts. Arlene answers three thought provoking questions: (1) Tell me about a time when you did something nice for someone?, (2) What would you do for a living if money weren’t and issue?, and (3) Do you have a dream that involves serving others? Arlene reveals her affection for her local woman’s club and working through them to help a diverse spectrum of people in need, including families at risk of losing their homes and young, pregnant, homeless, women who need Godly women in their lives. She also describes her passion for her profession and her love for her teammates. Her dream of serving others entails creating some bandwidth and confronting a fear of being bold in her faith.

Neighborly Love, Episode 4 – Arlene Weichert (12-22-20) – Christmas Special

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The Parable of the Good American

A man was walking to his car which was parked on the street, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A Orthodox priest happened to be going down the same street, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Protestant minister, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But an American, as she was driving, came where the man was; and when she saw him, she took pity on him. She stopped her car, put him in and drove him to the local emergency room. She waited as the doctors treated him and once he was doing better, she took him to a hotel to heal and rest, and she cared for him that night as he slept. The next morning, she gave the hotel manager her credit card, instructed them to provide anything else the wounded man may need as he recovers and offered to pay for any additional expenses.

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? Correct, the one who had mercy on him.

The American woman in this story allowed her day to be disrupted to help a fellow human. We don’t know where she was going or what she was doing, but it did not matter to her. Consciously or subconsciously, she prioritized her likeness, over differences, with the man and put his interests above her own.

What if the key to being brave and defying the divides that have formed with our families, friends, neighborhoods, communities and governments has something to do with forgetting ourselves? What if we hold our own stories with confidence and tenderness, appreciating what we’ve learned, but don’t consider them or our values the most important thing?

This American’s act of mercy symbolizes the journey of human-kindness: knowing and loving ourselves fully, honoring the hand life has dealt us, emptying ourselves for others, seeing joy and hurt and pain in every interaction, yet choosing to serve other people with humility, selflessness and kindness.

This is true neighborly love, a unity that rallies us together and calls us to pursue relational healing with a higher purpose, anchored by the freeing power of the good news of God’s grace. Please join me in the Neighborly Love Rewards Program where we can earn points by:

The Neighborly Love Rewards Program Card
  • Denying ourselves
  • Showing compassion to the needy
  • Treating our enemies kindly
  • Giving generously
  • Enduring difficult circumstances while trusting God
  • Persevering under persecution
  • Extending hospitality to the poor

At the end of our lives, the points earned can be redeemed for a, “Well done, good and faithful servant.

Your Neighborhood Sphere

We all need a safe space where we can explore what lies beyond our brokenness and limitations. Even if that space is available for only moments at a time, if it’s truly a safe space, it’s sacred because it also points us to the safe people who love and care about us.

I am grateful for my own broken journey. Through it I’ve discovered my passion, purpose and identity as a coach to serve others in God’s name by creating a safe space to know the mind of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the opportunity to remind my “athletes-in-training” that their dignity is theirs for the taking. I am thankful for the ability to establish vulnerability-based trust with them so I can call them out and up, to catch them when they have nothing left, and to lift them when they’re ready to be strong.

Together, we gain unity of mind and spirit because I seek to stand in their shoes to learn about their experiences, aim to get in their mind to understand their viewpoint, and strive to put myself in their place to imagine what they’re feeling. In these safe spaces, they find their feet and freedom and are transformed to be a safe space for someone else. My teacher is Jesus. His humanity allowed Him to have human experiences, which in turn, gave Him the ability to empathize. With practice, we all can learn to lead like Jesus, the ultimate Leader.

In these safe spaces where they practice, transition occurs. Transition is a phase where some things are ending that they’re not going to go back to and new things are beginning that they’re going to permanently change. Things such as how they think, feel and identify themselves as well as the sphere of influence they’re going to impact. Transition is the process of convergence of their ideal alignment with their ultimate calling. Transition is the process through which they end one season of life and become equipped to enter a fresh season. Through this transition, the leadership style of Jesus is manifested through them, and they are placed in position of influence within a smallest viable audience. We call this audience their neighborhood sphere.

Everybody has a neighborhood sphere of influence, but unfortunately, not everyone discovers it. Everybody has equal opportunity to seek it, but not everyone finds it. I am called to hold the hand of those who want to embark on their quest. Eventually they will be able to see and say, “For this reason, I was born. For this cause, I came into the world.

The moment someone chooses to seek their neighborhood sphere they are a success, no matter what happens. Why? Because success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal and because they are attempting something in faith for the glory of God, they continually progress to that end and cannot be considered a failure. All they needed was a safe space in which to experiment.

Sent. In Love.

What if everywhere you went this week, physically as well as virtually, you imagined you were sent, in love? Your mission, your purpose for being there was to touch someone’s heart in the moment. To reach them at a very human level because of something you noticed, felt, heard them say.

Imagine for every conversation, every meeting, you prepared not by practicing what you’re going to say, present or argue, but by how you’ll listen. What questions will you ask out of genuine curiosity about the other person? Imagine your goal is to understand what the other person feels or needs, not what you want.

Imagine everything you say is said with a kind, compassionate, caring tone. Imagine every word you chose is chosen to elicit an calm, honest, transparent response. Imagine creating a safe space for the other person to feel comfortable being vulnerable with you.

If you tap into this super power, then you’ll get a glimpse of why you’re hear on Earth. You see, we’re all here to love and be loved. Unfortunately, soon after we exit the womb, worldly forces start to influence our minds such that we learn to believe the lie that the world revolves around us. We are taught that we’ll be happy if we pursue our own self-interests. The paradox is the only way for humans to experience true happiness and pure joy is to serve others in love, not ourselves. That’s how we’re designed.

The good news is that it’s never too late to unlearn what the world has taught us. We simply have to stop believing the lie. This is accomplished by building new habits that recalibrate our minds. Recalibration results in a renewing of the mind that produces a new spirit that yields the fruit of that spirit. The first fruit is love.

Do you want to achieve great things? The greatest among us will learn to humble themselves and become leaders that act like servants who are sent, in love.

Neighborly Love Podcast, Episode 3 – Stacy Richter

Ordinary People. Extraordinary Conversations.

If “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” collided at an intersection, then the Neighborly Love podcast would be the result. It features casual conversations over coffee in a “virtual coffee shop” that lean into the power of empathy. It’s about feeling heard, valued and understood. It’s about serving others. It’s about depositing money in our relational banks.

Neighborly Love is an original podcast by MindWolves. Host Marc Casciani, author of Craft Your Calling and Neighborly Love, interviews ordinary people about their heart for God and serving other people for the greater good.

Episode 3 – Stacy Richter

Marc interviews Stacy Richter, Manager of Client Services at FNB Insurance. Stacy answers three thought provoking questions: (1) Tell me about a time when you did something nice for someone?, (2) What would you do for a living if money weren’t and issue?, and (3) Do you have a dream that involves serving others? Stacy talks talks about helping a man in a Walmart parking lot and influencing her children, her affection for older animals and wanting to create a sanctuary for them, and inspiring people to reach their full potential. Stacy has a heart for mentoring women in the workplace and serving them as a Godly role model.

Neighborly Love, Episode 3 – Stacy Richter (12-4-20)

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The Neighbor Economy

The Neighbor Economy is a free market, freewill system characterized by a spontaneous, decentralized decisions through which individuals invest in a joyful heart and return generosity to meet the needs of others. It’s a perpetual cycle of joy, generosity, gratitude and grace.

Joy

In the context of the Neighbor Economy, joy is not a function of circumstances. It is a state of the mind and heart whereby one believes they are loved by God and are enough in His eyes. That state is achieved by establishing a set of habits that build a relationship with God. That relationship gleans an awareness of purpose (who you are) and calling (how you deliver your who to the world). Therefore, joy is intrinsically linked to your identity and love for God.

Generosity

The investment in joy produces a generous posture towards others. Simply stated, the investment in God’s love returns a love of people, fellow humans created in His image, and the desire to meet their needs. One gives without any expectation of getting anything in return. However, God promises that such generosity will be rewarded because the motivation is to serve others in His name.

Gratitude

In the context of the Neighbor Economy, gratitude is a joyful thanksgiving and praise to God for using you as a conduit to spread His kingdom on earth. It is a genuine, heartfelt thanks for His blessing and grace. Even though you’re flawed, you are enough for Him to use for His glory. You are grateful because He gives you the strength to resist dipping into the stigma of your past failures that attempt to define you. He leads you not into temptation, but delivers and empowers you to live according to His purpose and will for your life.

Grace

God’s grace is the foundation of the Neighbor Economy. Without it, joy, generosity and gratitude is not possible. It’s the humble acknowledgement that we have what we have because God allows us to have it, both the good and the bad, not because of anything we have done to earn it. It’s the awareness and belief that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters in the Neighbor Economy.

A Person to be Loved

In my 51 years on Earth, I don’t recall a time like this. The longer the COVID-19 pandemic goes, the more depressed we become. It seems like America, in particular, has reached a point of systemic depression. I believe the reason is because the disease is now prevalent in small town America, “fly over” country as it’s often referred to. This is the heart of America, and it’s hurting. As Thanksgiving celebrations are being canceled, genuine depression is setting in. Throw in the chaos of race relations and the discord of politics, and it’s overwhelming.

Yet, I’ve have never felt more strongly called to influence. The disease is real, and the risk of contracting the virus is real, however I practice the “big three” daily … mask up, physically distance and practice good hygiene … and live my life with a joyful hope. Why? How? Because I have been transformed by the renewing of my mind, and therefore I don’t conform to the patterns of this world. Conformance to the worldly patterns is what The Enemy wants. It’s how they gain strongholds in our lives. It’s takes influencers of like mind, heart, soul and spirit to reverse those trends, including our systemic depression.

So here’s a counter-cultural thought I pray more and more Americans, and people of all nations, are influenced to embrace: Everyone is a person to be loved.

  • That friend of yours who’s addicted to drugs is a person to be loved.
  • Your cousin who is transgender is a person to be loved.
  • Your daughter who has come out as a lesbian is a person to be loved.
  • Your neighbor next door who is Muslim is a person to be loved.
  • That young woman in your church who just got pregnant outside of marriage is a person to be loved.
  • Your coworker who is a different color than you is a person to be loved.
  • The arrogant CEO who flaunts their wealth is a person to be loved.

As we begin to see people for who they are – created in the image of God – we think less of issues to be solved and instead see people to be loved. As a Christian, this is how I operate. The standard I set for myself is to be the most loving, kind, respectful and teachable “neighbor”, always going the extra mile to understand, to listen and to give grace far beyond what is expected. When it comes to relationships, tone matters as much as, if not more than, substance.

The world can not force anyone to love what they ought to love and hate what they ought to hate. That power belongs to God. He alone has the power to change hearts, but he needs people serving others in His name to influence that change of heart. The change the world groans for belongs to the very God it rejects every day. However, no change occurs unless we see ourselves and others as a person to be loved.

Today is the Only Day We Have

If we get relationships wrong, nothing else matters. Relationships are the engine of God’s transformative work in us. Here are some relational best practices, no matter your race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, and marital status:

  • It’s not about you. It’s about making the other person feel respected and valued.
  • It’s not about agreement. It’s about alignment. It’s ok to agree to disagree in a likeable manner.
  • Confirm you heard the other person, even if you don’t have an answer or want to debate it at the moment. Focus on being present with them and show genuine curiosity for their worldview. Consider the following:
    • What do they know?
    • What do they believe?
    • Where are they from?
  • Always show mercy. Mercy is not giving them what they deserve.
  • Always give grace. Grace is giving them what they don’t deserve.
  • Always forgive. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget. It means you move past the past.

Relational strife is caused or sorrows fester when we don’t employ these practices. Today is the only day we have, not tomorrow, to embrace them. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

In my experience, I have learned healthy relationships can be built by embracing the enduring lessons of the gospel. The book of Luke, in particular, shows how the power of the gospel reconciled hostile peoples. Multiple stories in Luke show how bridges were built between Jews and Samaritans, two groups for which a fierce hostility existed. J. Daniel Hays writes in his book, From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race, “The ethnic and cultural boundary between the Jews and Samaritans was every bit a rigid and hostile as the current boundary between Blacks and Whites in the most racist areas of the United States.

The Good Samaritan story in Luke 10:25-37 shows a path forward for Neighborly Love in America. It destabilizes our inherited “Black-White” worldview and challenges us to move beyond the “us-them” mentality to an “us-us” in Christ unity that demolishes the ethnic boundaries of our culture. It teaches us how a Samaritan ignored the then societal norms to care for a beaten, bloodied Jew lying in the middle of the road. The Samaritan prioritized their likeness (they were both humans) over their differences. He valued the Jew’s life over the disruption of his plans for the day.

As I study God’s Word in Luke, as well as the book of Acts, Samaria emerges again and again. I feel the familiar friction of ethnic and relational distrust and discord. Yet, I’m touched by the surprising stories and lessons of unity, harmony and peace and from which we can learn so much. As the church grew throughout Judea and Samaria in biblical times, it had peace. What a thought. What a God.

If the Spirit of God truly lives in us, then no prejudice or bitterness or hatred is too great to overcome. Any reconciliation is possible. It all starts with the posture of our heart for a relationship with God. Then relationships with others can heal and blossom.

Start today. It’s the only day we really have.

Neighborly Love, Coming Soon!

Stories about prioritizing likeness over differences and others over self

Get notified of the Neighborly Love release by subscribing here.

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