Thermostat or Thermometer?

Last week I wrote a little note about grumbling. As in, we aren’t to do it.

Here’s a follow-up thought.

My sisters and I are very grateful that we can stay with mom as caregivers, walking this Alzheimer’s journey with her. AND … some of my best grumbling (which is actually my worst grumbling, if you know what I mean) takes place in her apartment.

You see, mom likes it warm in her apartment. Very warm. Like in 80˚ warm. In the middle of summer. Have mercy.

We set the thermostat lower, but she gets so cold that she shivers. Meanwhile, we’re wearing bare threads, sweating like we’re spreading tar on asteamy highway in the middle of July, rinsing our faces with ice water … and grumbling. (One of my great fears is that I’ll actually die in her apartment from the heat and someone will find me wearing only bare threads and I won’t be alive to explain to them that I know I shouldn’t be wearing only bare threads and if I knew they were coming I would have changed clothes.)

Anyway …

We become little thermometers in that apartment, with our mercury going up as the heat rises. We respond to what mom tells us about how hot or cool … well really, just how hot … it should be. The rise in temperature runs parallel to the rise in grumbling.

It’s a battle between the thermostat and the thermometer.

There’s a really great life lesson here, my friend.

Last weekend I spoke at Ruby Pantry’s annual leadership conference, along with my friend LondaLundstrum. She brought this message …

Be the thermostat. Not the thermometer.

This is so good. Take a moment to think about it, OK?

Every day, we choose how we will show up.

We can show up with love and grace, as daughters and sons of The King of Kings. He gives us everything we need. He meets us wherever we are. We are divinely created and divinely loved. So, we can show up with joy. With expectancy. Hope. Encouragement. We can set that tone.

Or …

We can show up and just wait for someone to look at us wrong. Get defensive. Let our own insecurities and anger decide what comes out of our mouths or in the looks that we give. Allow the ugly inside us to rise in response to the temperature in the room.

We can either set the temperature or react in the heat of the moment, like a thermometer.
We can set a tone of godliness (joy, peace, mercy, compassion, for instance), or we can react to what we don’t like (leading with anger, harshness, unwilling to listen to understand, for instance).

Boy oh boy.

I want to be a thermostat. Don’t you? I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. I want to create moments of encouragement and peace, not frustration and heated conversations. I want to show up and set a tone that reflects the love of Jesus.

“The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken … To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.” (Isaiah 61:1,3 MSG)

Doesn’t that just sound lovely!

Let’s be THAT kind of thermostat.

Let’s set the tone that preaches good news, heals, cares for the needs, and brings the messages of joy.
Will you join me? Let’s do this.

You are Extraordinarily Significant!