Editors note: This is the first Guest Post in response to my 10th Anniversary request for you to join the party. Thanks to Margaret and all those who have responded. I still gladly welcome all submittals.
The Right Question
By Margaret Agard, author
I put Parker through my usual grumbling about cooking the other day – why is it my job? We both eat. Neither of us works outside the home. Both of us are busy with projects related to our move from West Virginia to Florida. How come only I have to stop what I’m doing and spend an hour or two fixing and cleaning up from meals?
This, by the way, is an ongoing twenty year argument. You’d think we’d have solved this problem by now. I do occasionally do it right. When he flops on the couch I flop right next to him. After we’ve both relaxed awhile I ask, “Do you want to make the salad while I put this soup together?” Or, “how about if you cook this meat while I scrub the potatoes?” And he does. But he still sees it as my job, not our job.
I decided to take this one to God
“Father, I’m tired of this argument. I’m resentful and angry nearly every day and Parker acts oblivious. Not a lot of love going on here. I really do hate to cook and am tired of spending so much of my time doing it. What do I do?”
God said, “Leaving aside the fact that you’re playing the big victim – he helps whenever asked and you could make this a lot simpler with better planning – the real problem is you are asking the wrong question.”
“The wrong question?”
“You’re asking how much this will put you out. You ask it all the time.”
“Then what’s the right question?”
The right question is ‘Will doing this make this person feel loved?”
Oh. Huge turning point, attitude shift, break through. Call it what you will. The irritation left my heart and love filled it’s place. I smiled as I cooked. Smiled because now I knew.
All my life I’ve been asking the wrong question. How will this affect me? It’s created my worst mothering moments, my biggest job fears and crises, tension in my marriage as well as with friends, strangers, every one. All those moments, those relationships would have been so different if I’d just been asking the right question:
“Will doing this make another person feel loved?”
Margaret Agard is the award-winning author of the In His Footsteps memoirs about giving her life to God by giving her daily to-do list to God because her day is her life. Wife, mother, returned senior missionary and wanna-be harpist. She lives with her her husband Parker on four acres on a Florida lake – viewing lake not swimming lake because, well, alligators. She is currently working on her third In His Footsteps memoir. Follow her at https://inhisfootsteps.com