Well, we're 4 months into the year and Alece is calling for an update on my One Word.
I've got some bad news...
It turns out I'm really bad at love. I guess that's why I chose it as my word for the year, because I knew it would be a struggle and that I would have to really press into God though it.
I realized this morning in the shower (where all great thoughts are born) that my problem with loving others comes mostly in the process of forming expectations. I'm finding that most of the time, my expectations are wildly unrealistic, which means that my actual reality can be quite disappointing.
I'm a thinker. I spend a lot of time in my own head, working through scenarios and problems, imagining the outcome. Usually, my brain likes to travel with the outcome that is the most outrageously beneficial for me, and my expectations for many situations get set incredibly high. At least now I know I really think I deserve to succeed...
Here are some examples:
Expectation: all my customers at work are nice and patient with me, and they don't ask a thousand questions, and they aren't suspicious of our Christian business.
Reality: people are inquisitive and suspicious of mechanics, therefore they have a lot of questions, and sometimes they can be short, which can cause me to be short in return.
Expectation: when singing a song publicly, I hit all the notes and sing superbly. Pretentious, much?
Reality: I have never in my life sung a song with 100% perfection. If I did, life would be boring and I would never grow.
Expectation: I am super nice to people and good at making friends. You know, the basics of what they taught us in elementary school.
Reality: I am so irritable!! I just can't muster up all of those lovely fruits of the Spirit I should have. I get stuck on the first one, for crying out loud! Love, joy, pea--forget it, I've already lost.
This week I had a mini breakdown when I realized just how bad I am at inherently loving. It just doesn't feel like it's in me. It can feel so unnatural to show love and kindness, especially in the little things. My emotions have always been strong, and I can see that over the years I've become lazy about keeping them in check. I find myself letting anger, irritation and bitterness sweep over me like an ugly, black wave. I haven't even been trying to hang on to the garment that God has offered me, made of love, peace and so much kindness. I just float along in this ugly place filled with garbage and pride.
I know that God is working in me, but I haven't been very receptive to his lessons on love lately. I'm thankful he hasn't given up on me and that he still shapes and molds my heart through little situations every day. There is so much of me that needs major work done. I guess a lesson through all this will be to love myself as well. I will never be perfect at loving others, but I will seek to grow and get better.
As of right now, my word for the year hasn't affected me much because I haven't let it, but I know there are little lessons every day to be learned. The more I pay attention to the way I speak, the way I treat others, the way I react to situations I don't like, the more I will grow and incorporate more love into my life. At least, that's the hope.