Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Do you have a servant’s heart? Many of us think of serving others in certain contexts, such as frequenting a restaurant and being served dinner by the waitstaff, or we may think of serving if we are in a career field that requires serving others such as a medical provider, a fireman or home health aide.
Career choice aside, how do you show up when it comes to having a servant’s heart in every day interactions or matters?
We all suffer from “Me/Mine disease.” The disease some never outgrew from the childhood days of old playing in the sandbox. Mine. Mine. I had it first. Give that to me. I want it. While we expect this behavior from young children who often do not naturally have the ability to serve others (or control their emotional outbursts) or share their prized shovel or bucket, many of us have carried Me and Mine disease with us into adulthood.
Where does all that me and mine get us relationally as adults? Thinking that the world revolves around us, or that we should have things our way, is a recipe for a lot of relational distress. I’ve known many people who believe they truly are entitled to have whatever it is they desire. While some of you may see nothing wrong with that, ultimately it is disastrous for relationships as well as the ability to be a decent human being in the workplace, or leader if you own a business or work in management for one.
Serving on the other hand, allows us to show up in a way that others feel cared for. When we serve others we make ourselves not above someone else, and not below them either. We have the opportunity to connect with them, serve and support them.
Whether you are a leader of an organization, or the leader of your family let’s look at the compare and contrast of showing up with a servant’s heart or showing up with me/ mine attitudes.
People who run their lives and relationships with me / mine as their primary goal- pursuing and getting what they want at the expense of others often looks like:
They are poor listeners- If I am only interested in a conversation to the degree that I am listening to get what I want, then I will selective listen- just wait for the information that tells me I can get what I want, or conversely, I may fight, manipulate or coerce to get what I want. FALLOUT- This often comes at the expense of another human being- friend, employee, coworker, family member, spouse. The person on the other end of me will often likely feel as though their needs, desires, thoughts, preferences do not matter.
They rarely compromise or are able to offer up win/ win ideas or solutions at home or at work. A person that is solely motivated by getting what they want will often be stuck in the idea that something has to be done their way. They are unlikely to show up open minded about possibilities due to their own agenda.
They make poor Team Players. For all the obvious reasons, they will steer the team in the direction that seems to offer the most gain or recognition for themselves.
In contract, a person operating with a Servant’s heart exemplifies these behaviors:
They easily see the Common Goal and Live By it. Whether at home or at work, their mind considers what is best for the unit as a whole, and they consider how future actions or behavior may affect everyone. They want the best for others.
They are more apt to listen well, as they recognize the value of communication, the need to actively listen, the benefit of asking good questions, and they show up wanting to engage with people rather than talk AT them.
They are not pushovers or boundaryless. They simply are able to consider what Is beneficial for another person, group or team and have realized that serving others also brings inherent rewards of its own. Happiness becomes a biproduct of their choice to serve others.
Learning to serve others is something any of us can do if we have not been practicing it or thinking with a servant’s heart previously. Given the challenges we have all endured in the course of the last 18 months or so, now is a great time to consider how to show up in a way that decreases distress and tension both at home and in the workplace. Since many of us had modeling growing up that emphasized take what is yours, or get what you want, there is a mind shift that has to occur if we truly desire to approach life and people with a servant’s heart.
Servant leadership is a way to transform your family life and /or your workplace. Consider today what that might look like, who you might enlist as a person who exemplifies this that can mentor and support you in your quest to show up with more love in your heart and an attitude of serving.