Considering Glory

Taking time to consider God's working

Category: Jesus

Negotiating in God’s Kingdom

Does anyone else love negotiating? No? No one else?

It’s pretty rare I meet someone my age who enjoys it as much as I do. The few times I’ve been able to buy or sell cars, the negotiation process has been my favorite.

My Papa taught me how to negotiate as a child and he would take to me to the flea market to practice. I became a ruthless negotiator! I think, more often than not, I ended up getting the deal because they didn’t expect the ten year old to make a counter offer.

In my sophomore year of college, I roomed with Ian Clardy. This dude is the man. Our vision was to have the coolest dorm room at Vanguard University. There’s no doubt in my mind we achieved it. I only slightly contributed; Ian had the TV, sound system, and sweet decorations. But, what’s the one thing that makes for a great hangout in a college dorm room? A huge couch!

Our search began to find the biggest and comfiest couch within our budget. We finally found a huge one we could squeeze into the room if we arranged our dorm perfectly. The listing price was $80, but I knew I could get it down. I was even looking forward to showing Ian my skills! Whatever price we landed on, we agreed to split the cost.

I needed Ian’s help to carry the couch, so we drove together to pick it up. As we drove over there, I told him I would take the lead. Just in case, I decided to give him the basics of negotiating so he wouldn’t hinder the process. There are two keys: emphasize your strong suits and downplay theirs. Here’s how it should work:

Downplay: It’s not bad, but there’s a lot of stains and the cushion is sunken in.

Emphasize: We have cash and can take it off your hands right now.

I wanted to make sure Ian wouldn’t comment on how great the couch is (even though we both loved it from the pictures on Craigslist). Ian confidently assured me he understood, and then I felt bad wondering if I was coming off as micromanaging.

We finally arrived. As soon as the woman let us in, Ian plopped down on the couch. He looked over with his eyes open the size of billiard balls and emphatically yelled “DUUUUUDE!!! WE NEED TO GET THIS COUCH! IT’S SOOOOOOO COMFORTABLE!!!!!”

*sigh*

Needless to say, we ended up paying full price. I still give Ian a hard time about it.

The truth is negotiating in the Kingdom of God is completely different. I could have told a story of my successful negotiating, but the couch story is unbeatable.

Today was Missions Sunday at church and the pastor asked everyone to pray and consider making a faith promise for the year. I have a huge heart for missions and love giving to support it, but this year was different. I took a ministry job that nearly cut my salary in half and with our baby at home, Kaleigh can’t work in the same capacity either. Our beautiful daughter Karis has Cerebral Palsy and needs more time for development therapy. We had incurred some debt on top of our student loans while living in California and we have been living on a rigorously tight budget to make up for it. Maybe this is TMI, but I hope it gives context.

So, when the pastor asked us to pray about how much to give, I told God I was going to take this year off until we could pay off our debt. After some work, God convinced me to give $10. It wasn’t in the budget, but I wanted my heart to be committed to missions. I kept my heart open and God wanted me to believe for a miracle. There was a time (when we didn’t have a child) where $100 would have been chump change, but this was heart wrenching for me. I finally settled it in my heart.

One thing Kaleigh and I practice is testing the Lord’s will by revealing what we hear God speaking at the same time. This is a great tool for accountability in generosity. Many times we have come up with amounts which were very close. This time when we shared, Kaleigh said $400! What! Craziness!

This is when my negotiating habits kicked in. I said, “How about we meet in the middle at $250?” I was immediately convicted. I asked her to hold on a minute instead so I could consider.

I asked God what He thought we should give and He said, “negotiating in my kingdom doesn’t work how you’re used to.”

As always, He was right. We ended up giving a faith promise of $400. After church, Kaleigh and I had a great discussion about negotiating God’s way. We’ve decided to approach giving as a married couple in this way for the rest of our lives. Whoever has the greater heart of generosity wins! This is very counterintuitive for me, but I believe God will provide in miraculous ways when we step out in faith. I’ve seen Him do it more times than I can count, and I’ve never seen Him not come through. Jehovah Jireh – my provider.

 

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Inside the Mind of an Extroverted Male

Based on no statistical data, it seems to me most blogs of this similar caliber are written by female introverts. Blogging can be a great tool for exploring feelings and I imagine it’s a great tool for introverted females. That being said, I’ve heard a lot about the internal struggles of those type of individuals. I thought it would be fun to give anyone interested a peek inside the mind of an extroverted male. 

Yesterday was my second week of work at a great, faith-based workplace. One of the members of my team had been traveling my first week, so I met him for the first time yesterday. To get to know him better, I started asking about his trip. 

Side note, I enjoy this step. Meeting new people is thrilling and exciting. I tend to fall into the “everyone’s a friend, I just haven’t met some of them yet” category. Back to the story. 

He started sharing about how he visited a university I was familiar with. It then came up that his son was playing on the football team there. 

This is where I get really interested. I love football. I played football for 10 years and during that time, I played every single position on offense and defense. Naturally, this a great conversation piece for me. It’s similar to your sing-songy friend who has a song for every occasion. If I’m talking to a quarterback, I share how I wasn’t that great, but I’m tied into a school record for handing off the ball to a running back who ran it 106 yards into the endzone. Or if it’s a lineman, I share how on a particular pass play, I was able to block two guys by pushing one into the other guy and making them both trip over. 

In this particular instance, he told me his son was playing corner. So I told him the story of when I was playing corner and the wide receiver kept trying to block me. He started to become a pest, so I just kept throwing him on the ground. Eventually, he became furious and yelled to ref, “he’s holding!” I busted up laughing because if you know enough about football, you know that rule only applies to offensive players. 

So, a little bit of breakdown for you. In general, men and women communicate differently when they tell stories. Of course these are generalities, but these ones are based on research. Men consistently tell stories where they are the hero of the story. Women, more often than not, tell stories where someone else is the hero. Now, for men, this can lead to vainglory and continual, annoying bragging. But on the other hand, it provides an opportunity for men to share their stories of heroics. This is a bonding experience for men. It doesn’t have to be about one-upmanship, it’s just a way to show you have similar interests. 

I hope you found this helpful and I’d love to hear how you relate or differ from the way I think!

MiniBlog: A God of Limits

Freedom is not found in the absence of limitations. Aristotle believed true freedom was found by imposing the correct limitations. Healthy relationships embrace limits.

Limitations (or boundaries) help us to tell others “no” so we can maintain our health and effectiveness. 

Why are limitations necessary?

Appropriate boundaries lead to success because God created them for our good. God gives us limits, not to restrict us from good, but to protect us from bad. He isn’t asking us to do what He won’t do Himself. Yes, God puts limits on himself too. Jesus used boundaries to protect his identity and fuel His ministry. He would climb a mountain to pray alone with His Father. Jesus was the one person who didn’t need to worry about losing Himself, yet he practiced setting boundaries. He understood: without a sense of separateness, you’ll lose your potency.

Boundaries helped Jesus stay on track – I think we should follow suit. 

The Priciest Christmas Treat

This is the first time in my life I’m not spending Christmas in Fremont, CA at my Papa and Yiayia’s (Greek for Grandma) house. We are all the way in Springfield, MO far away from any relatives. To boot, it’s cold, but it doesn’t look like we’ll be having a white Christmas either. Kaleigh and I are both positive people and know that we’ll make the best of our daughter Karis’ first Christmas, but it’s still difficult for each of us in our own way. 

My Mom is great. It wasn’t her decision to miss her first grandchild’s first Christmas, but she has been such a good sport about it. She knows my love language is food and there’s one special treat she makes once a year that makes the whole world disappear when you eat it. She got the recipe from her grandmother, and a few years ago she perfected it. Peanut. Butter. Balls. It’s chocolate and it’s peanut butter. It’s crunchy and it’s chewy. It’s delicious and it’s Christmas. For me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without them. (Maybe I should pray about that?)

They’re the priciest treat ever, and here’s why. My Mom mailed us a package with nine peanut butter balls and a check for $200. Now we really need the money after moving across the country, but I was still enormously more excited about the peanut butter balls. Do some quick math and that means they’re more than $22 a pop. To be honest if someone offered me one in July for $50, I don’t think I’d have the strength to say no.

Times are a little bit sadder this time around, but I’m thankful for family and food that make celebrating Jesus a little more familiar.