phone selfie“Honey, I want to pop into the Verizon store for just a second to check out the new iPhone 6S. I might be eligible for an upgrade. I’m not going to buy it today—just take a peek!”

She gave me the look that said, Yeah, I know what that means.

I assured my wife, “Really, I’m not going to get anything today. We have a few minutes to kill, and I’m just curious.”

“I know you.” she says, “It won’t be a quick detour, and it’s our day off together.”

An hour later I’m walking out of the store, bag in hand, new phone on my hip.

First mistake: I made my “need” more important than Laura’s and broke a promise not to do business on my one day off with her.

But the saga continues . . .

While waiting to get my phone activated (this was about thirty minutes into the detour), I’m tapping out a beat to a song on the store counter. I have two annoying “musical” habits: I whistle (a lot and involuntarily), and I use my hands to play percussion on counters, steering wheels, handrails, or anything else available.

The salesman at the counter asks, “Are you musical?”

“Why, yes, I am! I play percussion, the trumpet, the sax, the guitar, and a host of other lesser things like the Irish Whistle and harmonica.”

He smiles. I continue.

“Yeah, my dad brought a trumpet home when I was in third grade, and I’ve been involved in music ever since.”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Second mistake: My arrogance led me to give TMI to a guy who probably regretted asking, and I never even thought to say to him, “How about you?”

Fast forward to about 3 a.m. the next morning when I woke up to pee, and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart (yes, I did use the word “pee” in the same sentence with God).

“Kurt, life is so much more than you realize at times. It’s not just about you and what you want; it’s about others.”

phone others

Embarrassingly, this is a lesson I continue to learn the hard way.

I missed an opportunity to show my wife (and show is always better than tell) how much she truly means to me.

I missed an opportunity with the Verizon salesman to turn the conversation from me to him and thereby show him that he mattered to me and, more importantly, to the Father.

Sadly, when I make my world mostly about me, I miss a lot of great opportunities to be more like Jesus, who said, “I didn’t come to be served or to get my needs met by others. I came to practice the gift of otherliness for the sake of love. In fact, I came to sacrifice my life for others.” (Matthew 20:28, Unauthorized Bubna Paraphrase Version)

phone show tell

With Jesus, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the One. With me, not-so-much sometimes, and my phone upgrade wasn’t worth the relational downgrade.

Time to find my wife and apologize. Thankfully, she’s a pretty amazing woman who is full of grace.

When it comes to putting the needs of others before your own: Choose well. Live well. Be well.

phone Jesus

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Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.