Thursday, June 23, 2016

Heart Guards

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 175: Today, I am grateful for kindness at home...and the ones who guard our hearts. 

Let's face it. It's a jungle out there and choosing to be intentionally kind is not always easy. In fact, the real tragedy is that we often spend out our kindness and daily love offerings on perfect strangers (or the challenging relationships at the workplace) - neglecting to save the best for the ones at home. 

The ones at home are priceless and precious. Treating them with kindness, humility and gentleness changes the climate at home. Sure, we need to be kind and loving in the world...salt and light and all that good stuff... but we need to save some honey for our honeys at home. Our tribe should not get our leftovers, if we have any left. 

One of the great joys... and challenges of long, healthy excessive comfort levels. How good it is to be with the ones with whom you can completely be yourself.  It is the "for better" and the "for worse" part of the the deal. It is sweet. And, it is always something to carefully guard and fiercely protect. We need to safeguard the hearts of the ones who guard ours. 

Mutual love is exhibited through daily acts of kindness. Not just pouring love out...but pouring love into the relationship. Not just a covering...but a sweet filling of the "good stuff". I guess love is like a chocolate truffle(and my guy brings truffles from Candina Chocolatiers from Madison, WI). It is what is on the inside that counts. 

By God's design, we don't have to be big, skinny, smart or strong to love fiercely. We do have to be courageous enough to commit to imperfect people...the same imperfect people who are courageous enough to commit to the flaws and imperfections in us. 

One of the most destructive forces in marriages, homes and churches is "the need to be right".  The need to make another person in a relationship feel like less... so we can feel like more. Being "right"... is it really that important? Now, I am not saying we should never have conflict and disagreements... it is human nature. Still, there is wisdom in choosing our battles. Will engaging in conflict result in valuable, personal growth...or in one person winning? If it is only about "winning" - choose kindness and let love win. Love always wins.

A prime example: There is only one right way to hang the new roll of toilet paper. The toilet paper should come over the top. Right? But, does it really matter? I need to be grateful if someone... anyone...replaces the roll, no matter how it is hung! I do not need to exercise my "spirit of correctiveness", as that is not one of the fruits of the spirit. I need to celebrate that there is...indeed... toilet paper in place when it is needed.  

The pastor at last wedding last weekend reminded us that "God didn't give us marriage to make us happy, but to make us holy." (Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas) Christ committed to us with a love that took him from heaven's splendor... to a humble manger ... and ultimately nailed to the cross. Love won against temptation in the desert. Love won when faced with betrayal and capture. Love won when he spoke Mary's name not far from the tomb where he conquered death. Love won when he said to a shame-filled Peter, "Do you love me. Feed my sheep." So many times, he could have turned his back, on imperfect people and situations...but he never did.  He raised them up with his words, with his actions and with his love. 

Jesus...a tough act to follow. But, he believes in us. Isn't that crazy? He gives us directions to help us be more like him.  Paul makes note of some big ways we can pour His love into our relationships to create better living in Him, for Him and through Him. 

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." -Ephesians 4:1-3

Today, I am grateful for kindness at home and in community...the ones who guard our hearts. 

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