you’re thinking about. The way you get excited over coffee but couldn’t care less about Disneyland. The unique things that make you “so-you” make you irreplaceable to me. These are the things I want to focus on when I think about YOU.
We all go through times where we take those we love for-granted or just treat them with less esteem than they deserve. We probably find ourselves doing that most easily with family or those closest to us. I started to wonder, and ask myself why in the world the ones who are most precious are the ones I easily treat the worst! Is it because I don’t REALLY love them? No. That’s not it at all. Is it because I’m too consumed with myself and my own life? Maybe. But not totally. Sometimes it was as though I’d be looking at my husband but not really SEEING him. Interacting with my kids on auto-pilot, but not really being AWARE of them. Hmm…
Then it clicked.
I was not relating to them as individuals, constantly aware of their personhood, I was relating to them according to what they represented to me.
For example. My husband is Stephen. But on a daily basis, he is my bill-payer, he is my bug-killer, he is the father of my children, he is the one I cook for and clean up after, he is my helper with the house hold responsibilities, he is my grass-mower, trash-taker-outer, listening ear, and fellow minister. He is all these things to me on a practical level. And so long as I’m functioning on “do-or-die” mode in life, I will likely not slow down enough to see past all the things and chores he represents to me, in order to see HIM. And that is when I treat him carelessly. See, its easy to mistreat a bug-killing-trash-taking-lawn-mowing person because they just represent a lot of separate functions. But when I stop and make myself see deeper than the jobs he fulfills to the unique creation that he is with thoughts, feelings, ambitions, hopes, insecurities, and loves, all of a sudden I become aware of the heart of this man, and even more aware of how my behavior and words have either been enhancing him, neglecting him, or wounding him.
You see, it takes work, and intentional effort to stop and engage in people. Even to stop and engage in ourselves, or in the Lord. But if we don’t, we will move through life treating people as service-men, treating ourselves like a machine, and treating the Lord like a religious-system rather than treating all our relationships with value and honor.
So, as simple of a revelation that this was, it really helped me to see my own need for stopping the busy rhythm of my life, even if just in my own head and spinning thoughts, to take the time and engage. Engage in the Lord and His ever-present-companionship. Engage in the ones around me and take the time to notice them and the unique things that make them special to me. Engage in my own heart, see deeply inside myself and simplify.
Given this valuable revelation, I have started a new little habit, tiny, but I believe will add a richness to all of my relationships. I have started challenging myself to, when I think about someone, stop long enough and let my thoughts linger on them and what it is about them that makes them so very special to me, un-duplicated by any other human being. What is it about them that makes them “so-them“? Then, as I become better and better at identifying those things (because it can be a challenge at first!), I begin to express those things to those people when given the chance. Be it a hand written card, an email, a text or in person. Any way I do it, it will mean a lot to them, and it will simply deepen my appreciation for everyone around me, and hopefully also make me more aware of how I treat people. I want to live a life that sows honor and value into people. I think this is putting me on the right track. 🙂
I cor. 13:13 “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Thanks for reading!!