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Kindness Failure in the Checkout Line: My Expectations vs God's Outcomes

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

She responded, “I’m not poor.”

This was NOT going the way I expected.

Have you ever gotten through the check out line in a store only to realize there was one more item in your cart?

I was in the check out line of the grocery store. In front of me was a mom with two young girls, maybe six and two. She looked like me when I had littles: jeans, sweat shirt, slightly dirty hair pulled up into a messy bun, and a general demeanor of weariness radiating from her as she packed her groceries.

The cashier finished scanning her items on the conveyer.

The mom paid.

Then she saw what was still in the hands of her six year old: hair ties.

She let out a deep sigh.

Her shoulder slumped.

I thought to myself, “Here’s your opportunity to Shine Bright! You get to swoop in and be the big hero for the small price of $3.99! You get to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the weary world!”

“Excuse me.” I said, “ Can I take care of those hair ties for you?”

I was expecting smiles and thank yous and rejoicing and adoration and imaginary glitter infused confetti.

She responded, “I’m not poor.”

This was NOT going the way I expected.

I back peddled a bit. “No, no, no! It’s not the money. My girl isn’t little any more. I don’t get to buy cute hair dealie bobbers anymore. I just want to do something nice.”

I continued to awkwardly ramble.

The cashier avoided all eye contact.

The mom was not backing down. “I can take care of my own.” She paid for the hair ties, grabbed the six year old’s hand, and they made their way out of the store.

I was stunned.

How rude! How presumptuous! How could THAT MOM had not let me shine the light I expected to shine?

My expectations.

That’s the point, right?


I did what I felt like God was prompting me to do: shine bright and offer to pay. But I layered some of my own expectations of the outcome on top of that prompting.

Okay. I layered an abundant amount of my own expectations the outcome on top of that prompting.

She said no.

And that’s okay.

God has control of the outcomes, not me.

But I continue to think God needs my help figuring out what the best outcomes are. Our all knowing, all seeing, all powerful God could really benefit from my guidance and insight. God needs to know what my expectations are for His outcomes.

Anyone else?

Just me?

God has control of the outcomes, not me.

Micah 6:8 says,

“He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

   and to walk humbly with your God?”

Offer to pay for hair ties but surrender your expectations.

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Mar 02

Entering into anything with "MY" expectations in place will lead me to discouraged disappointment. That leads my hurt feelings. Great message.

Jan 16, 2023

What a great example of trying to shine with a different outcome….I can relate which made me laugh out loud after “I’m not poor”. Thank you for sharing and giving me laughter this morning.

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