Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Peace: On Becoming Who I Want To Be

One of the constant themes in last summer's Women's Bible Study (Kelly Minter's Nehemiah) was "What is your purpose?"  That question was analyzed in conjunction with Nehemiah's actions throughout the book, and (for me) ended with my mom's eye-opening proclamation:  "I am a selfish Christian."

I still haven't recovered from her statement.  And, lame or not, it makes me think of Anne Hathaway's declaration from The Princess Diaries:  "And then I realized how many stupid times a day I use the word 'I.' And probably all I ever do is think about myself."

When I think of the things plaguing my sense of peace, I almost never think selfishness is the culprit.  But, in a lot of ways, the I'm-what's-most-important mentality is at the heart of my unrest.  It takes a hundred different forms--from "I deserve..." to "I suck..."--but each form rests firmly in a self-centered focus.

Frankly, though, a good portion of my day revolves around satisfying myself.  If I'm tired, I come home and do nothing.  But I rarely afford Favorite the same luxury--silently mouthing him for any housekeeping failure I deem important.  Needless to say, my silent suffering does little to encourage my sense of gratitude.

But that's where peace resides.

When I walked into my house today, I noticed a couple of things:  Favorite had unloaded, reloaded and started the dishwasher; he fixed the faulty light in our bathroom and reattached the light fixture that had been down for the last three months; he finished two loads of laundry. 

In the last month, he's noticed sleep has been hit and miss for me.  The declarations that pregnancy does get uncomfortable haven't been wrong--though I've been blessed only to be affected at night.  Fortunately, he hasn't just catalogued that information; he's used it to inform his activities for the day.  Now, he regularly does things around the house just because he wants to give me as much time to rest as possible.

He loves me well.

That's a large part of who I want to become--a person who loves well.

The upheaval over the last few years of my life has been evidence that so many things are temporary.  We get a season--a short season at that--to love the people who touch us, and truly loving them well sometimes means putting aside the things that bring immediate personal gratification.  (At least, until my desires get a bit of an adjustment.)

In the last few weeks I've purposefully put distractions aside to enjoy my people fully.  While I'm surrounded by a great community of people, I really feel like I have the opportunity to invest in a few of them deeply.  It means reducing my screen time and really listening to what another person has to say.  It means being aware of a change in demeanor and really attuning my heart to the needs of others.  It means practicing daily gratitude just for the gift of these people.

I don't always get it right.  But when my life is over, the one thing I want my husband and my son to say is that I made people feel like they were the only ones in the room when I was around.  And that I loved them well.

That's who I want to be.

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