When I was a little girl, I never liked to eat my veggies at home (though not eating them wasn’t an option.) Yet, I ate them without a murmur of complaint when having lunch by the neighbours where my then best friend lived. When my mum found out, she was rightfully annoyed. It clearly wasn’t about me liking or not liking vegetables; it was more about me choosing when I’d eat them with or without complaint. My reaction to the same thing was consciously different, depending on the environment and people present.
Can you relate to this kind of selective behaviour? Maybe you’re more patient with your work colleague than you are with your sister. Maybe someone else’s behaviour towards you switches on and off from hot to cold as soon as other people are around or you find yourself being extra rough with a relative and light on a distant offender. *raises hand slowly* Or someone close brushes your comments aside and tunes into what everyone else has to say so effortlessly that it exposes their mastery of selective behaviour. Has anyone ever treated you in an aloof way, then found out “who you are” or might be affiliated with or what you might be next in line for, then instantly flipped the script and changed the nature of the greeting?
The temptation to impress and perform for others is something we’re all faced with from time to time, as is the tendency to be lazy about the way we treat those closest to us…those whom we’re familiar with…those who have seen us struggle in seasons…those whom we assume must forgive or tolerate us – just because….just because what?
Like cooking a 5+ meal for a random passerby, then returning home with a stick of already-chewed gum for your family and friends, many times we can do better. I certainly can, and recognize areas where I need to polish and refresh my attitude.
The call to shape and show decent behaviour, like love, grace, joy, forgiveness, and peace…is a lifetime assignment.
Woo-wee! Now that’s a tall order! But God…He sent a perfect example and a manual to teach and help us. We are all works in progress…but His work in and through us, is flawless.
So today I want to do and be better than yesterday…to make sure those closest to me know they are appreciated and not considered an after-thought or taken for granted. The same way I can make a pocket of time for a client, is the same way I can carve time to call or be there for a cherished friend or one of my precious Godchildren.
How long we are here on this earth – only God knows. That compels me to ask Him to adjust and align my attitude and acts of care-driven service in accordance with His design and instructions…to love Him…love myself…and love our neighbours (including those right beside us)…love them well…and now, while we can.
To be appreciative and not stingy or sloppy with those who have encouraged me all along…this is my hope. Yes, the closer the proximity of a person, the more dings, wounds, memories, and opportunities to forgive…all the more reason to be thankful and gracious…and treat love that endures like the treasure it is…
So where do I begin? Well, to start with, instead of buying a meal, I’m going to read a note of verse of encouragement to the lady who pleas for help daily in town. A godchild has a big performance coming up this weekend – going to celebrate her, the other children and the organization holding the event. A kind anonymous deed for a relative whom I’ve been in a struggle with is now even more pressing, and calls to say ‘hi, you matter’ are on the menu today.
What about you; can you identify? Does this resonate with you in any way? Is there anything you can do right now to show appreciation to someone close to you? Feel free to share. Someone reading this may need encouragement shared in the way you express it.
Related: Learning To Be Gentle With Yourself
Comment (Danielle) : Loved this message. It’s so true…our families often bear the brunt of it. We save our bad mood for those closest to us; make time for everyone except those we actually love…
Could it also be that it often starts in how we make time for; speak kind words and show love to others; yet make none to sit with ourselves and The Creator? Speak horrible words of self destruction in thoughts that we would never tell our worst ‘enemy’?
This is a beautiful reminder to choose our behaviours well, and that we have so much control over who we are Being in this world. Thanks!