Friday, November 19, 2010

Kudos in the Elevator

I sell Longaberger baskets.  It’s been a good match for me allowing me to earn a bit of money and to do it around my passion – encouraging women in their walks with God.

Like all good sales companies, Longaberger has a yearly “pep-rally”, better known as a convention.  As consultants we are encouraged and empowered to be the best sales people on planet earth.  Every attendee is given ribbons to hang from their nametag.  Some of the ribbons mark certain achievements.  They have been earned.  Other ribbons are not earned.  They signify which group the consultant is a part of and other un-earned realities.  They want us to feel important.  It usually worked.

At one of the conventions in the late nineties, I was proudly wearing all my ribbons.  They fanned out like an upside down peacock from my nametag flowing down to my waist.  In the hotel elevator one afternoon, a stranger and fellow consultant seeing my many colorful ribbons congratulated me on my “achievements”.  I smiled and “humbly” said, thank you.  I knew I hadn’t earned all those ribbons but it felt good to be noticed.  I kind of liked the identity those ribbons gave me.

Fast forward a few years.  I was talking with a friend and describing my office to him.  My desk faces a wall that was full from top to bottom with framed Longaberger certificates.  The certificates, like the ribbons, were sometimes earned but often represented other true but un-earned realities.  However, anyone else looking at the wall would be impressed.  I guess I was trying to impress myself too.

But that impression was a source of confusion to me.  It was not a picture of my primary identity – the beloved child of God.  It was not a picture of what I was really passionate about – encouraging my friends in their walks with God.  Yes, Longaberger is a part of my life, but it is not the most important part. 

My friend asked, “Is that wall encouraging and reminding you of who you really are?”  I knew the answer to his question right away.  I went home and took down the wall … or at least the meaningless framed certificates that hung there.  I left one along with a few decorative pieces.  The one was a reminder of our group’s contribution to the American Cancer Society.

I’ve learned over the years that I need to remind myself regularly of my true identity.  I often review scriptures that speak to that in my devotional times.  This is so life-giving to me.

Yes, Longaberger is still part of my life.  But I have learned to keep it in its rightful place.

“Set your minds on things that are above (and true), not on things that are on earth.”  Colossians 3:2 – parentheses mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment