It’s tough to manage all our competing priorities.
We don’t want to let ourselves down – and we don’t want to let others down. And it seems that others have unrealistic and unfair expectations of us.
Maybe their expectations are unfair – but maybe, just maybe, they’re not the enemy.
Resolving not to defile himself with the king’s food, Daniel asks the chief eunuch if they could work something else out.
…and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.”
The Babylonian king didn’t offer Daniel food from his table in an effort to corrupt Daniel. It wasn’t a conspiracy to get Daniel to violate the Jewish dietary laws.
And the chief eunuch wasn’t out to make sure that Daniel defiled himself. The chief eunuch was simply just concerned with performing his job by ensuring that Daniel was healthy.
Once Daniel got to the heart of the matter, then Daniel could begin exploring options which satisfied both parties – in this case, eating vegetables but still (by God’s intervention) remaining healthy.
Applications for Us
Someone acting in their own self-interest isn’t necessarily opposed to yours.
So your boss isn’t out to destroy your home. Just to make sure that his business is profitable and that your employment is beneficial.
Your spouse isn’t out to take down your ministry or your job. They just may be communicating their own desires to feel loved and supported and respected.
That volunteer committee isn’t out to monopolize your time. They just have their goals and are so excited to have you helping them.
People are interested in their little corner of the world, not in messing with yours. Like my parents would say: they don’t wake up thinking of ways they could mess up your life.
So when these people demand a lot of your time, resist the temptation to frame them as enemies. Take the time to get to the heart of the matter and find out what they really want.
This frees you up to look for creative solutions and for ways that both of you could still benefit.
And who knows – maybe God will intervene for you like he did for Daniel.
Photo Credit: Scott Anderson (Creative Commons)
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