Lists

I’ve started something new with my five year old. When one of her siblings starts ranting, I’m trying to teach her to give them a compliment. It sounds bazaar!

Sister #1: Stay out of my room! You got into my stuff! I’m tired of you being in my stuff! Leave!
Sister #2: Your hair looks great today!

One of the hardest things we do in life is look to beyond ourselves. Thankfully, we have help. Jesus not only looked beyond Himself, but He walked the road all the way to the cross. He died while still looking beyond Himself, and He rose again. Then He sent His Holy Spirit to walk with us and give us the power to see things from His perspective.

Why am I teaching my five year old this odd behavior? When life hits us, whether it is disappointment, fear or other people’s behavior, our natural response is fight or flight. We look to our own needs, and disengage from relationship in order to make sure we’re taken care of. We make sure our concerns are taken care of first. Sometimes, we hurt other people in the process.

It is my hope that if my child learns to look for something good in the sibling who is ranting at her, she will learn to look for the joy amidst the pain in life. She will also start to see her siblings as people, and hopefully begin to value their need for space. Now we all have a right not to be ranted at, and to have good boundaries, but don’t life’s pressures often feel like somebody’s rant?

The love that Jesus helps us to have in life is not self-seeking. This means that we don’t demand our own way. But then, who is going to take care of me, we ask? God is.

The next time you feel the pressures of life, take out your lists. We all have them. For some, the grievance list is handy. For others, the thankfulness list is well used. As you feel the stress of life, pull out the lists. Give the grievance list to God. He knows how to handle it. Then read the thankfulness list to yourself – out loud. As you remind yourself of all you are thankful for, of all God has done for you, the force of life’s rants will dissipate. You will find that Jesus has given you the power to love along the way.

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