Dear Guts Is The Key Reader. Those of you who have followed my BEAM (blog) for some time, probably thought I have forgotten the GUTS acrostic series. No worries. I am up to 82 and there are plenty more to share with you. The reason for my delay in releasing them is that I have so many writing topics to share with you, that sometimes they get pushed to the side. So, I will make amends today with another Guts Is The Key release: G.U.T.S. #38 – Gristle Untenderizes The Steak.
Gristle is a pet peeve to a steak connoisseur. No matter how good the meat is. Strands of gristle can ruin the steak. Gristle is down-right inedible. You can marinate the steak. You can tenderize the steak. You can cook the steak perfectly. But if it is full of gristle you will not enjoy it and may not even be able to eat it.
Selfish stubborn-ness and harsh mannerisms are like gristle in our behaviour. Unpleasant characteristics that makes our lives, not worth the chewing to God and other people. Like gristle in steak, when we will not listen or respect the opinions of others; we have streaks in us that make us just about intolerable.
Often people excuse abrasive behavior by saying that their rigid forcefulness is “just who we are” or “take it or leave it.” Yet unyielding arrogance only hurts us and is without excuse. We don’t really get by with it. The consequences are impaired relationships professionally and inter-personally. Practicing aggressive behavior can lose us opportunities we may have otherwise enjoyed; just because those around us, do not want to put up with the gristle.
How do I know? Because I truly struggle with this myself. But I have learned and am learning: Honesty is no excuse for a lack of tact. Candor is no excuse for poor manners. Personal convictions are no excuse for a lack of respect, for the opinion of others. Truly, I have to work on this all the time and I am making progress.
Yes, I am “Slam.” And Yes, I am a “plain-spoken” Quaker. But sometimes, if I am not careful my Slamism can cross the line from dynamic, to overbearing. And sometimes, if I am not careful my plain-spoken-ness can cross the line from truthfulness, to being harshly inconsiderate.
This is a tough admission to make but I have found that facing facts and taking the first step is the most crucial to growth. Because of my need to improve in this area, I am always working in my meditations to practice “a habit of restraint.” Learning and practicing this lesson makes me much more enjoyable to deal with. The underlying truth of these principles is taught in my favorite piece of literature.
The Bible describes the characteristics that help us avoid the gristle in our lives as, The Fruits of the Spirit. Fruit is the sweet, harvest-worthy parts of the plant. Even-so, in our lives we should work on bearing the fruit of personal conduct that is most worthy and admirable. These kind of personal behavior fruits are classified by the Bible; as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
These virtuous qualities prevent us from developing obstreperous, difficult and unmannerly character traits. Fruit does not have gristle. It is not so tough in spots that it can not be eaten.
The lesson is plain. Our lives will not be filled with unpleasant qualities, if we practice the benevolent nature that we can learn from temperance and the fruits of the Spirit. You will benefit in both professional and personal contexts, if you work on making the manners and mannerisms in your life more Christlike.
G.U.T.S. #38 is meant to remind us of the importance of disposition, character and a pleasant nature in our lives. Be fit to be served on The King’s banquet table; avoid the gristle. In addition to working daily on your performance; work daily on your attitude and pleasant behavior. You will find the rewards significant and measurable.
Tim a.k.a. “Slam” 336-688-7538