Monday, June 3, 2013

A Revised Revisit of a Repost

For the past few weeks, the series of sermons at church has been called 'Loving Better'.  This week the pastor's sermon centered around loving people who aren't the easiest to love.  You know the type, right?  Those people with whom your encounters don't exactly fall on the 'nicer' side of the spectrum.  The people who challenge your psyche and can be the root cause of angry outbursts, migraines, flabbergasted responses, destructive behavior, or the removal of that person from your life in an attempt to tighten your 'circle'.  As I sat and listened on Sunday morning, various personalities and faces popped into mind for a plethora of reasons.  Some for minor infractions--the guy who cut me off the other day in traffic, the lady who clearly does not know care what '15 items or less' means at the grocery store, the woman who asks for help only to criticize your way of doing things and changes it to meet her own 'way'--while others fell into the category of being moved to the outskirts of my 'circle' {or even, completely *out* all together} for more intense reasons.  Those faces, those personalities, those reasons were the *easy* ones...the ones for which my mind not wander far. Because I have an aversion to being disliked, disagreed with, or viewed in a misinterpreted and dim-lighted way, I struggle daily with the ways in which I handle challenging people.  So even though it may seem that I've banished those people who've frustrated, annoyed, or hurt me; they came to mind quickly because my heart doesn't want to have a scar from where I've severed ties.  They haven't really 'left' my circle...they're almost in their own circle for which I can pop in and visit when I'm feeling reflective, insightful, and noticing a need for change {I am a Gemini, afterall...twinsies can be two places at once}.

I want need to be connected with others--from all spaces and places in life.  It's easy to fall into the comfortable space, to chose to spend all your time focusing energies and efforts with those for whom a connection comes easily.  But to grow, be challenged, and enrich your view of the world; it's the people with whom you find a bit of disconnect--whether it be from something 'big', like a breach of trust; a conflict of opinion or viewpoint; or incongruent personality traits--that can bring about the biggest changes in you.  That's the part that can be {has been/still is} so hard to realize--changing the other person is not within your job description; the power to do so is not in your credentials--the change that you have control of is your own.  Your mind, heart, soul adjusts just so, and permits your character to adjust, to love that person as they are--broken and human and beautifully made.

Love doesn't mean that you're acting upon the love in an emotional, feelings-related way; it's the way in which we treat each other.  It's that whole 'love our neighbors as ourselves' sort of way.  The thing I find so hard to follow through with when I get frustrated at both the person who cut me off and the person who honked at me for accidentally interrupting their otherwise 'normal' driving experience because I mistakenly missed a sign for the turn cutting them off.  I expect others to love me as they love themselves, but find more than enough examples in a week where I have no followed through on my end of the bargain.  More 'do as I say, not as I do' than 'lead by example', wouldn't you say?

The other part of the message that struck a chord with me was the pastor's dissection of 'the' Bible verse used often times in weddings {mine include} that defines love.  I've even used this verse in a previous post that was my play on the meaning at that particular time in my life.  As I reread my words from two years back, I found parallels that still have yet to change, while others ships that have long since sailed {some bittersweetly, some beautifully so}.  An ironic observation I made about that post was that it was written on October 26, 2011--exactly one year to the day for what was our last {full} day living {at our friend's} in Colorado.  So many changes since both the post and its one year 'post-iversary'.

And, although I've said some of these verses could remain the same, I thought it might be an interesting and fun challenge to re-re-write {can one do that?} the post so it can incorporate a bit of those changes, refocus my perspective, and remind me of all of the ways that I show love {even on the hottest of Houston days when your toddler simply.will.not.stop.terrorizing.  everything.}


I can answer questions on first grade homework while cutting fruit for snacks and mixing buttercream for my latest cake, but if I don't have love I am as overbearing as a momma bear looking over her cubs.

I can answer an email while vacuuming the living room while doing quasi-yoga moves so I can feel as though I've 'gotten in my workout' for the day, I can bake cookies and cupcakes for the entire staff at the school and make my son's {healthy} lunch for school in 2 minutes flat at 6:30 a.m. before I've had my morning coffee, but if I don't have love, I am nothing.

Love is patient when your potty training toddler 'works the system' to glean the highest possible number of mini M&M rewards per day, thus resulting in going through a package of toilet paper faster than a child's reaction time when they hear the crinkle of the package of Oreos you've hidden on the high shelf of a pantry.

Love is kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle... {Plato, John Watson}...including you {Glennon Melton}.

It does not envy the people who had the opportunity to watch *my* fourth graders grow and learn throughout the remainder of the school year but trusts the Lord that a piece of their heart will always know the love I feel for them, the hope I have for them.

Love does not brag about the joys of being able to stay home with your children.  Love rejoices in the employment of friends that helps support their family and give them 'something for them'.

It does not boast when the house is *finally clean*, because somewhere out there is a toddler who is about ready to wake up from nap time and

Love is not rude when people offer {unsolicited} parenting advice or assume that my 'unemployed' status immediately discounts my capability to be well-spoken and educated {and my previous time spent in the workforce}.

It does not immediately seek after glory when a toddler has *finally* slept through the night, guessed it...she'll be up three times the next night.

It is not easily angered when the milk has spilled {again}, the onslaught of 'momma' goes on {non-stop} for 13 hours straight, and the word NO! has lost all meaning on a curious two year old and a collection of crayons, colored pencils, and markers.

It does not delight in evil when observing the children of those unsolicited-parenting-advice-givers act out and disprove their parents {pompous and imagined} theory that they have child psychology figured out, but it rejoices in the truth that we're all a little broken, and even if we choose to 'get there' in a slightly different way; we're all 'in this' together.

Love does not give up hope when you're feeling disconnected and alone, craving more from this new chapter in life.

It always trusts God that the pieces of the puzzle are there, waiting for the right time to fall into place.  It always perseveres through {another} cross country move, a fresh start, new roles in life, sibling discord, loneliness, and fighting the urge to stay in bed all day to avoid the responsibilities of adulthood.

Love never fails.



  1. Wow! Simply, wow! Thank you Erin! This blog was beautiful. It really made me sit and think about those whom I have been struggling with and the 3 1/2 yr old who NEVER seems to stop! You are truely an inspiration for all that you do. Never forget that!!

    1. Thank you Jen! I so appreciate your kind words...I honestly struggle with the 'hard to love' people, but I just felt like the timing was perfect for the message on Sunday. Funny how things work out like that... :)

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read {and comment!} xo