You matter, and your gifts have a place and purpose.
Life is filled with ups and downs, blessings, challenges, swift volleys of curve balls, sweet surprises, and tests of gratitude and endurance. No matter what happens, who’s around, what season we’re in or circumstance we face, or feeling we feel, we are loved and that love has is worth more than any earthly possession we could ever find or imagine.
That love is something we can’t quite understand because the kind thoughts and deeds that flow through us can be like an inflatable mattress that’s reasonably comfy, but constantly needs to be given more and more air to offer any kind of substantial support.
How we treat ourselves and each other is important.
The way of the world and a glimpse of the news on any given day, is a reminder. Yet we slip, and often forget…that we each have value – even when our behaviour don’t warrant the grace we’re given. We all know how and when to perform for others, when to apply our best manners like airbrushed makeup, and whom we can plonk our very worst bits and bobs on.
Each of us is created with the same special ingredient – love
None of us is worth more, or less than any other, whether we lives our lives sweet or sour. This is probably one of the many reasons the essence of love is something we constantly wrestle to understand. It is soooo much bigger than us. Sometimes the calling to be loving gets us into situations where kindness is perceived as weakness and we’re taken for granted…live, learn, and continue to walk in love. We can forgive the words and actions of others but aren’t born to be garbage bins or collectors as a way of life. We can choose whom we align with.
Name-calling is a boomerang that returns to sender with more force than it strikes its first target.
“You break it – you pay for it.” Some version of this sign is displayed in many shops. It’s an warning and reminder that you accept responsibility for something when it’s damaged through your deeds. With people, there’s no monetary amount that can ever match up to the value of a human being’s life…but there’s still a payment that will be deducted and a penalty incurred for not taking care of a prized possession – a beloved treasure. Let’s push pride away, and invite the words and (more importantly) actions of an apology. It’s not easy or received sweetly, but it relieves the burden of guilt that can stir up from hurting someone intentionally, while extracting the poison from a lyrical arrow.
I find it way easier to be consistent with kind thoughts and words when I’m around cheerful, bright, calm and encouraging people but the desired way of living is to keep this kindness flowing even in volatile situations that demand we turn up the care volume to full blast. For instance, if someone continually mashes your foot – on purpose, over and over and over again, then adds a smile and insult on top of it, there comes a point when we might be tempted to retaliate in kind, bawl our head off in frustration wondering why we just won’t cuff them in the face, make a call for friendly back-up, or walk away and learn to love ’em from a distance. These are the times and cases where patience, kindness, and self-control are truly tested and put to work.
So how do we show kindness and remain calm amidst those who challenge, criticize, rub us the wrong way or deliberately press our buttons?
How on this green earth do we do unto others what we would have them do unto us, when we’re faced with contempt and harsh words and our very last nerve is plucked like a 12-string guitar?
I’m assembling a energy toolkit to help me through these challenges times, when it seems like you’re turning to other cheek only to receive another bark – and another bite. This isn’t a solid checklist so that the actions become revised or mechanical; it’s a fluid set of steps that help to cope with moments when we are being pressed, yet called to be calm, show grace, and live in love.
- Pray (start with thanksgiving. Reading the Word immediately plants truth in the heart and mind to override the lies that will try to take root, even if you feel you’ve been wronged. An affirmation that resonates with you)
- Create an environment with an inspiring atmosphere
- Get some fresh air; if it’s winter where you are, there are a heap of nature videos to remind you of all the pure beauty there is
- Shed a tear if necessary
- Avoid reaching for your phone (unless it’s for a prayer app or encouragement community) and logging onto social media. Temptation is a distraction. Try not to let angry thoughts lead you to calling an ex, crush, or people who think you’re flawless. We are all a work in progress.
- Clean (this is one of my favourite. Invite calm into the activity & apply some muscle in your house or yard work. Cleanse and sweat it out. This ushers in gratitude and motivation. After all, you have a shelter to be thankful for, and energy to do this)
- Forgive (take a step and plant seeds of forgiveness in the heart)
- Reflect on your vision board or start one
- Take the dogs for a walk; let them play in the grass. Have a laugh
- De-clutter (both mind and space.) As we soap out and wash away negative thoughts that tempt us to feed the ego, get rid of all junk in the house and elevate the atmosphere.
- Be still.
- Give thanks
- Do better. Be better
I’ve both been wronged and done wrong, so grace and forgiveness would seem easy and natural. But they’re not – at least, not always. So I pray for patience, and seek to see and treat others as God sees them and how I’d like to be treated, recognizing we’re all works in progress and under different stages of construction. Desiring kindness is directly connected to being grateful and inviting forgiveness.
Affirmation: God is always good to me. With His help, I can be and do good to others.
Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”