“My life’s message is written on the lives of others.”
In my ways: actions and treatment of myself and others. In my choices: appearance, conversation, entertainment, friends. In my thoughts: about myself, about others, about this world, about God. I don’t impress this message on anyone more than on my own family
It easiest to be our worst with those that we see everyday. My husband and I were having a conversation recently. I brought up my interest in our being more intentional in the way we speak to each other. I brought this up because I had visited a long time friend earlier in the week. I watched this friend interact with their spouse. I listened to the way they spoke to one another. I watched the way they handled each other’s emotions. I observed what could probably be observed in most of our households. A couple who loved one another deeply and had also gotten a little too comfortable. There were no signs of abuse. There was no yelling. There wasn’t even a discernible attitude in the way they spoke to one another but something was jumping out at me. I was convicted that day. I drove home with those images in my mind and with a seed of a thought that later, as is often the case with me, grew into a conversation with my husband.
As I thought about the similarities in my own relationship I kept getting interrupted by an image of myself checking out at the grocery store. I kept seeing myself pay for the groceries and interact with the cashier. Initially I tried to push this image out of my head so I could return to my previous thoughts. But the image was persistent and so I decided it might be a good idea to take some time and think about what I was imagining. I saw myself move up to have my turn in the grocery line. I saw myself look up and greet the cashier with a smile and ask how their day was going. I saw myself chatting with the cashier, paying for my groceries and smiling as I gave the well wishes for a fantastic “rest of their day”. I thought “Wow, I’m a nice lady!” And then I understood the message God was trying to get across to me. My “nice” shouldn’t be on 10 at the grocery store and 3 at home. Being a woman of godly-character and integrity means being the same person no matter where I am. Being super nice at work and sort of nice at home is not living out the character that God has given me. At the grocery store I give the cashier eye contact, a great big bright smile, my full attention, I handle the business I came to handle quickly, and I try to be a small but pleasant moment in their workday. (I’ve worked retail. It can be rough LOL) I do this because I understand my role as a consumer and I sincerely attempt to be compassionate toward their role as an employee.
I left that time with that imagery with a conviction to yield to the godly character I had been given. Loved ones should get the same eye contact, pleasantries, bright smiles, well wishes and full attention that’s strangers get and maybe, even more so since they live with and endure our best, worst and everything in between.
I talked with my husband about this and we laughed and joked a little and left the conversation agreeing to be more consistent in our character. (I love that man!) I would love to be able to say that since that conversation all of our interactions have been in keeping with our conversation but they haven’t been. Familiarity is nothing if not subtle! I’m glad to say that I can rely on God to send reminders and we each feel that we have improved in our submission to God’s character and there is room for more cooperation. For me, the key to this submission is my daily, quiet time with the Lord. When I’m rushing and buzzing around busily taking care of the busyness of life I get short tempered and that certainly does not move me toward my goal! LOL. When that daily quiet time is in place I have more patience with everybody including myself.