June 3, 2009

Love is a Verb

Over at Pearls and Diamonds today, Abigail shares a journal entry she had written five years ago, but as she admits, she has not grown very much in these areas. I have to admit that this is true for me as well. Here is her post below, with my own comments to follow:

The following entry in one of my old journals–nearly five years old–turned out to be a convicting reminder of the simple practices of love. In five years, I fear I have not greatly improved in this area at all. Yet, God is faithful to remind me–even through the medium of my own pen. –Abigail Joy

I need to exert more effort in loving by:

*Not talking about myself

Esp. accomplishments, things I think I did well, funny things I did or said, speech contests, things I have written, things I have made, things I want to do. Instead I will ask questions about others.

(This will allow others to have the glory instead of trying to gain it for myself)

*Taking time to think positively

Instead of allowing myself to dwell on negative circumstances, or other’s negative traits, I need to intentionally look for the potential good and for good qualities

(This will raise my estimation of others, make treating them with respect easier and lower my own self-righteousness)

*Taking time to serve

Esp. small unnoticed things for which I won’t be thanked and tasks that I dislike.

(This will turn my mind from my own agenda and make me less resentful when asked to go out of my way for someone else)

These three simple things should help make me more loving by fostering patience, kindness, humility, gentleness, service and endurance and should help eliminate angry outbursts, grumbling, sudden selfishness, taking offenses, rudeness, impatience and envy.

Love is a verb.

I must take action!

(Note: please forgive the formatting differences in my comments below, Blogger seems to be wonky today )

The first one is probably the biggest area I myself need to work on. God has been pointing this out to me in each conversation I have with others. I can hear myself start talking about "me"....what I have done, what I want, what I need. And immediately I can hear Him saying "Stephanie, it isn't all about you". Funny how I can hear Him so easily, and other times I struggle to hear Him.

Point number two, thinking positively, has been a thing I have not struggled with much. What I have struggled with is thinking too positively. Yes it is possible. I have been known to not see reality, only focusing on the good, thus getting disappointed when things go badly, or not how I expected them to go. But rather than reign in my positive outlook completely, I just have to look at all side of the coin. After living with my family for 6 months, it amazes me how negative they are. I never noticed this before. I am not judging nor convicting them, but merely making an observation.

Area number three: serving without recognition. We all have egos. However large or small, we all like to be recognized for what we have done. It takes a special person to do something for another, without a single bit of recognition. Again, another area that I must work on.

I don't actively seek out the acknowledgment from friends or acquaintances, but rather from my family. "I did this for you, why don't you appreciate it?" This is especially true with my children, and with my former husbands (yes, I have been married twice). I believe He has been speaking to me strongly on this level too, in His effort to correct my heart and mind on what it means to be a wife/helpmate. Maybe he is preparing me for another relationship, maybe he is just correcting me as a loving father should. Either way, I am hearing him loud and clear.

What areas do you need to work on? Are you hearing Him, when he nudges or whispers in your ear?

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