You Do the Math

I admit that yesterday was not my best day for dealing with a discount airfare company. After several attempts to book a flight online, I called the company’s customer service number, and well, I lost my patience. I tried to remain calm and even-paced in working through the overseas language issues and essentially being told a lie, but I could feel my words intensifying with a sharp tone. “This is not working for me. This is not good business. I’ve already wasted 45 minutes . . .” I barked before harshly hanging up.

I felt a check in my spirit as I was winding up to tell the ticket agent how incompetent his company was, but I ignored the pestering nudge. Instead of bridling my tongue, I let it gallop across a pasture of justifications. How dare this reputable company brush me off? I have a right to fill out all my address and credit card info, press “agree and book,” and have everything work smoothly. Blah. Blah. Maybe you’ve swirled in a similar expectation game where your words morphed with sharp edges.

Recently a close friend shared her principle of using words and a kind demeanor to ADD to someone’s life vs. SUBTRACT from this person. Yesterday, I did not ADD to the customer service person’s life with my impatience and tough-girl tongue. I regret that I SUBTRACTed from his day and perhaps his favor with the boss. Sigh. Today is a new day to be more intentional about the beneficial rule of ADD and SUBTRACT. Math was not my favorite subject in school, but this type of buildup or teardown equation counts for peaceful relationships and a joyful countenance no matter what circumstances jostle into our days (even malfunctioning websites).

“May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my defender” Psalm 19:14 (God’s Word).

Wouldn’t it be wild if we had to use a calculator at day’s end to ADD up the positive, helpful words we thought and spoke to others? One thousand one, one thousand two . . . .

Brave and Resilient Tip #132: Make your words count each day for ADDing to others’ lives.


  1. We’ve all been THERE, Beth! Thanks for the reminder that our words are powerful…for good or for bad.

    • Thanks for the camaraderie on not always getting things right. As soon as I clunked the phone on my desk, I knew my response was more of a reaction
      and I needed to take a step back and let go of the building frustrations in the day. Ephesians 6 reminds us, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” My struggle was not against that customer service rep.

  2. Barbara Lundy says

    Ouch! Thanks for this reminder. I purpose to make an effort to ADD to others’ lives and not SUBTRACT.

    • Barbara, I’m right there with you on the learning to ADD and SUBTRACT in a way that multiplies good.

  3. Carrie Brandt says

    Wise words Sister! Ones that I need to heed minute by minute…

  4. Once again words that inspire and “add up!” Love the math analogy. ..I teach math everyday and plan to put your “image” in writing on my board! What a great reminder for every age! ! Love it!!!