Words to Live By, pt3

I read through the list here to pick the spiritual truths I would recite. I have listed them below. Go read through the list and find the ones that will help you overcome your negative thinking. Together, we can claim victory over our minds and our thoughts.

With God:

 

  • Because of Jesus I am a faith-filled, life-speaking, fully devoted follower of Christ.
  • Because of Jesus I am forgiven and redeemed.
  • God will equip me for the work He calls me to.

In marriage:

 

  • I love my husband fiercely and will lay down my life to serve him.
  • I will love my husband both in word and action.

In parenting:

  • God has given me everything I need to teach my kids about Him.
  • I am capable of leading with the love of Christ rather than the fear of punishment.
  • I will encourage, build up, and instill truth in my children.
  • In our house, we forgive, we give grace, and we always love.

In work:

  • I am a faith-filled, big thinking, bet-the-farm risk taker.
  • I will never insult God with small thinking and safe living.
  • I show God’s love to every client, vendor, coworker, and employee. (John 13:35)
  • Neither failures nor successes define my worth.
  • God is my defender, negotiator, and guide.
  • I am capable of building and leading a strong team.

A few more:

  • I believe the best about others.
  • I will forgive and give grace always.
  • I will hold myself to God’s standards and measure myself with grace.
  • I will love and laugh rather than fight and complain.
  • I refuse to waste my life on meaningless things.

I am printing this list, several times over. I am going to post it where I can see it, read it, memorize it, think it, speak it, become it. My life is always going to move in the direction of my strongest thoughts, and I am done allowing my mind to be the enemy’s playground.

What words will you start to live by? How do you think they will change the direction of your life?

The Truth Behind Love Languages

I love the concept of love languages, and immensely enjoyed Dr. Gary Chapman’s book on the matter: The Five Love Languages. Ever since I first read this book, I’ve tried to consider which language someone is speaking when dealing with them – especially in my closest relationships.

The truth is, though, that love languages can be messy. Take this recent interaction, for example. I stayed out late one night, drinking tea and catching up with a precious friend of mine. It was literally the middle of the night when I got home.

My husband started with, “You were out too late.” I tried to not respond too harshly to that statement – he’s not the controlling type, so I didn’t think he was trying to come off like I had done something wrong, but I waited for more info. “You will be too tired tomorrow,” this statement was my first clue that there was definitely a deeper message than just what time it was. He knows I get very little sleep between the two babies and work, and he tries very hard to protect my rest. “I can’t sleep without you here at home with me,” was the statement that sunk in deep.

I waited for a moment, before quietly saying, “That’s the closest you’ve ever come to saying you missed me.” He hugged me close – one of those sweet hugs that I can never get  enough of. No more words were even necessary, I got the message right, he missed me and worried about me.

This interaction could have gone so much differently – if I had reacted to the first statement like he was trying to restrict my freedom, control my actions, or boss me around, we would most likely have had an argument. It’s easy to react to the first words out of someone’s mouth, but if we are slow to speak, slow to anger, we can often get to the bottom of an “issue” before it is truly an issue.

Honestly, I don’t know which love language my husband speaks for sure. But I try to filter his words and actions with the knowledge that he does love me, and looks out for me, which in turn makes me feel less defensive when we do have a big issue to face. Things don’t always go right, and it’s not something I’ve mastered, that’s for sure, but it is something I work on daily.

This last week I learned that if food is a love language, that’s the one my dad speaks. He loves to feed people, and when it’s an occasion that he’s deemed special, he likes to make sure that it’s the best meal it can be, for what it is. He reminded me to cook corned beef for longer than I did while visiting, so that it’s not tough. He made sure I started the 16 hour trek home with a warm breakfast. As I shared that breakfast with him, I thought back over my life, and specifically that last ten years or so, and all of the visits back and forth. Food is by far how my dad communicates that he cares.

I am adding to my prayers that God would help me accurately identify the love languages of my kids, and my closest family members and friends, so that I can love them in a way they understand, and receive their love fully.

love

Love: More than a Feeling

I was having the discussion of whether love was an action or a feeling recently. I thought I would list the reasons I think love is more than a feeling.

The number one thing that stands out to me is that feelings change. We all know that we can feel great one moment, happy and on top of the world, then the next, we can be angry or hurt. Things that happen, both in and out of our control, can quickly change how we feel.

This goes for “feeling” love, too. One minute, we are happy with a friend, partner, or one of the kids, but the next moment they say or do something that deeply hurts or offends us. Our feelings toward them are no longer benevolent. In fact, we can quickly become angry, cold, or disconnected. If the same hurt reoccurs, or several hurts happen back to back, those benevolent feelings may be hard to get back.

Then what? I’m married to someone I don’t “feel” very kindly toward? I’m raising kids that I don’t “feel” very happy with? Hmmm.

Our happy/good feelings come and go, so do the bad ones.

Love is meant to stand the test of time, and I fully believe that love is a choice, an action, and a commitment.

Did I say it was easy? No? Good thing. It’s not always easy. Some days it is, some days we are full of happy/good feelings, the cap is on the toothpaste, the toilet paper is turned the right way, and we feel somewhat caught up on the daily chores. It is easy to enjoy our spouse and the kids on those days.

But on the days when there is toothpaste all over the bathroom, no toilet paper to be found, there are piles of laundry in every room of the house, and the dishes are piling up, those are the days we learn about the action and commitment of love. Those are the days when easy would be to pack a bag with the one clean pair of underwear we have, and go somewhere quieter, with less work and less mess.

But love in action, committed love, sticks around through those days. That kind of love keeps trying to find ways to show love – in the small things, like the note in the lunch box, the folded shirts, the mopped floors, getting each others coffee in the morning, and the kiss in the hallway.

The feelings won’t always be there, but if we can stay committed and make a choice to use actions that are kind, caring, loving, then we will get through those times, and be able to enjoy the seasons where the feelings are there.