Grinning from ear to ear, she eagerly announced “Mrs. R. I have brought you a birthday present today and I want everyone here to know I spent TONS of money on it!” I couldn’t help but smile as the first thing I noticed was the beat up Christmas bag was filled to capacity with a purple balloon already blown up. Underneath were other interesting treasures that included a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy, a plastic flower, and some shiny bracelets. She could hardly contain her excitement and it was very evident. Her kind gesture touched me and I thanked her very much for her thoughtfulness, as her classmates watched with keen interest. Later on that morning as others scurried off to recess, she curiously lingered behind looking quite sheepish as she asked if she could speak to me “privately.” As we chatted she said “I have to be honest with you. I didn’t spend a ton of money on your gift I, well I…. found all this stuff in my room and I am so sorry. I just wanted so badly to give you something.” O.k. how sweet is that? I thanked her for her honesty and assured her that I found her gift very meaningful as it was truly the best she had and was given with such love. She clearly gave her best to someone she loved.
Next I recall another little boy I had one year. Whenever he was faced with a challenge in class, he was known to always say “I will try my best.” He clearly lived up to that motto as no matter what came his way at school, following that premise, he was very successful. He clearly gave his best day after day.
Giving our best means different things for different people. The smallest gesture can have the greatest impact, especially when we know that there has been a sacrifice involved. We have just come through the Christmas season. It is often the case that we can get caught up in spending way too much, yet it is sometimes the simpler gifts of the heart that leave the most lasting impression. Those are often more heartfelt and sincere as they have involved sentiment towards the one they are intended for. There is a great Christmas book out by Peter H. Reynolds called The Smallest Gift of Christmas. In the book the little boy kept wanting a bigger gift under the tree as he could see nothing worthwhile from anything in a small box. In the end he realizes that the gift of family and love, though some may think is small, is truly the biggest gift of all.
People may wonder: how do we give our best day after day when life is just plain hard at times? We need to make a commitment to strive to give our best to each other. One way we can do this is by limiting our screen time. Almost everyone has cell phones these days, but life goes on beyond the tiny screen. I am trying to be more mindful of this and more emotionally present for my family. Facebook and Twitter can’t hold a candle to some honest and meaningful conversation with those you love, trust me.
Giving our best means accepting our limitations and just being content with what life brings our way. It is easy to get discouraged when things aren’t going according to schedule or things are not going as we planned. It is during those times that we have to remind ourselves that doing our best each day is all anyone can ask of us. It is our responsibility to keep pressing on, knowing that life brings ups and downs, but we can overcome one day at a time.
Giving our best each day involves offering others hope and encouragement and sharing our insights on the lessons we have learned. Helping others brings out the best in all of us, as it helps us shift our focus to someone else.
Giving our best each day means learning from our mistakes. I once had a boss who would always say “You made a mistake. Great! Let’s celebrate it! There is so much to be learned here!” I have never forgotten that perspective and do believe it does make sense and has helped me through some tough times.
Giving our best means taking time for proper self-care. We are useless if we are used up. Over the Christmas break I have been doing a lot of resting. I also booked a massage and pedicure. I have taken time to read, watch movies, exercise and catch up with friends. It feels great to indulge a bit and recharge my batteries. I have people depending on me which includes my family, friends and a sweet group of little people at work and I want to offer them my best that is certain.
Finally giving our best each day means realizing that we do not have to do it alone. We can choose to have God empower us to reach our true potentials each day. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. The Bible also talks about that when we are weak, He is strong. That is so reassuring to know that we can choose to include God in our daily lives and He will work to truly bring out the best in us for others.
Giving our best is not always easy, but one day at a time it can be done. We are only human and we will all have ups and downs, but knowing that each new day that comes brings us a fresh start is very reassuring. Keep on doing your best each day. It is being noticed and remember you never really know how much your kind actions can impact someone.
Until next time,
Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Little Lesson Learned: Giving your best day after day can be difficult, but a one day at a time philosophy makes it much more manageable.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015