A little mid-week reflection...
As I stumbled across this quote on Instagram earlier today, I was reminded of the verse that inspired it from 1 Corinthians 16:14...
“Let all that you do be done in love.”
And all I could think about was this life that I've been living. This has been a wild ride of a year, that has tested my faith and stretched me like never before. My husband and I left our jobs to become Entrepreneurs, we found out that I was pregnant with our first child five months in (yeah, I know...it's hard to believe), and have been brought to the end of ourselves emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
This has been one of the most challenging years of my life...but it has also been the most rewarding. Not only have I struggled with finances, relationships, self doubt & judgment, but I have cried many, MANY times about where I am and have worried so much about where I might be.
That sounds super depressing, but I learned an extremely valuable lesson that I may have never learned if it wasn't for all the tears and questioning why.
I have prayed and prayed for a life that is worth living, one filled with passion and purpose and love. One that is not defined by the possession of tangible or material things, but possession of sweet memories and moments shared with those near and dear to me.
If you would have met me years ago, you would have learned that I respected people (well, those who respected me anyway) but would often say, "I hate people". When I looked at those around me, I would be so quick to see their faults and flaws. It's no wonder I treated people like that, because it's how I treated myself. Quick to judge, quick to doubt, quick to say something negative. Looking back to that time in my life, I realize just how far I've come.
I'm absolutely the farthest thing from perfect, but I am progressing, I am learning, and I am growing. Every now and again I find myself reverting back to my old ways, but I am intentionally trying to be better, do better, and live better. I try to treat people with the same love and kindness that I wish to be treated with, regardless of whether it is reciprocated or not. Not gonna lie, it's pretty hard though. In the Bible, Jesus talks about this exact thing. He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..."
"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?"
That is backwards thinking for many...so, you mean don't get an attitude with someone who gets an attitude with me? Yes, that's exactly what Jesus is saying. Not because it is the easiest thing to do...but because it is the best thing. For you, and for them.
I have some old friends named Bitterness and Resentment and I know them all too well. Over the years, I have learned that these friends are right there when someone mistreats you or wrongs you. They are there to tell you that you are right in feeling the way you do and to encourage you on your path of destruction. Someone once explained it to me like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die...it just doesn't make sense. Harboring judgement or ill feelings towards someone only winds up harming you at the end of the day.
I have since been learning to look past the flaws, faults, and shortcomings of those around me (including the one in the mirror). Everyone is on their own journey and we are all learning different lessons in different seasons of life. We all have bad days. We all make mistakes. We are all human. Not one of us better than the other.
I have learned that we all have something special that no one else in this world has. Our own life to live. We have been molded and shaped into who we are by every situation and circumstance that we have faced so far in this life...and it's not just because of what we've gone through, but how we have responded to it and have allowed it to teach us. I believe that every single one of us on this earth has a purpose, and that we all have something to offer this world. We all have gifts and talents and things that we can teach and things that we can learn from each other.
So back to doing all things with love...what does that even mean? Well, in context, it might look different for you than it does for me. For me, it means being open, honest, and transparent. It means communicating my feelings and thoughts to others in a way that doesn't aim to attack or demean. It doesn't mean being fake, or being nice out of obligation. It means being comfortable and confident enough with myself to know that I am not a product of someone's thoughts or opinions of me, or the way they treat me. To me, it means choosing to see the best in someone even when they are showing you their worst. It's loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgivable.
Easy? No. Worth it? Absolutely.