Back in 2015, I told you my prayer January of that year was that the Lord would teach me how to love people well. I prayed that prayer numerous times that year and over the course of the last three years, it is still my heart's cry. It has been an imperfect journey since I made that prayer, but as I look back and as my husband and people gently remind me. I have come so far.
It is easy to get discouraged, as I run into people who are naturally gifted at it. (See the Mayor's Wife for more details.) Some people are just blessed with that gene, and others of us have to work exceptionally hard at it. And, I recognize it shouldn't be something that is hard, it should just come like second nature. I'm three years in, and I am still practicing the practice of making it an unconscious habit.
I had to do a lot of soul searching, and self reminders of my why behind "Loving People Well." Was it for self recognition, people pleasing, attention? Why was that my prayer? The bible recked me in the most beautiful way as I read scripture after scripture of how God is Love, Love your neighbor, Love is not....., and countless others that speak so beautifully about who Jesus is. As I looked at myself, I realized I am far from showing people the love of Jesus through my day to day interactions. No I wasn't a hateful, rude, mean person. But I also wasn't intentionally loving people.
And Jesus' love is intentional. His love is PURSUING, first to love, all consuming, beautiful, contagious, inviting, breaks down walls, piercing, gentle, kind, never ending, never questioning, assured, trusting, unconditional, and so much more....
We went to Madison MS this past week/end and I met the kindest people I have ever met. Everyone in Madison MS have incredible gifts of loving people. MS has been deemed the hospitality state for a reason, no doubt! I did not want to leave after four days spent with those people. We left so refreshed and loved. I love being around people like that because they challenge me to be better. However, after I got back to TN I became a little discouraged this week. Being around a whole lot of people with that gift, makes me realize just how far I am from being that.
While in our chiropractor office this week, who is another person who is exceptional at making you feel at ease and loved, said something that didn't hit me until the Lord woke me last night. The Lord often speaks to me at night when I am in and out of sleep. And last night was one of those nights. Our Chiropractor said, it starts first with his staff. He said, "You have to love your people first before you can love others well. It starts with them. When people see you love your people well, they feel loved out of that." It didn't make sense to me then, until Jesus gave me that flashback in the wee morning hours. It starts with my people. And my people are the people in my home.
I need to cut myself a little slack on the external love, and really hone in on my internal people. It starts there. I can't start the other way around, and I can't believe it took me three years to figure it out. A lot of times as a pastor's wife, mother of four, homeschool teacher, home-maker, and everything else in between, I am just surviving. I feel like I have run out of words, gentleness, and joy after all my external duties, and the demands of my callings and titles.
I want to be the kindest mom and wife. I want to champion my people with everything in me. I want joy, patience, peace, goodness, gentleness, and intentional love to be like a habit. I don't want to live out of fumes and frustrations from day to day demands. I want to love intentionally each one of my people. And God gave me five people in my home to intentionally love incredibly well. I want to surpass making each of them feel loved the way they feel loved most. I want to master who they are, and be able to cheer them on to be the best versions of them.
My prayer Feb 2018 is that I will learn to love my people incredibly well. Let this be a stone in time, that I always refer back to and remember the moment God shifted every bit of His love through me to love my people well and out of the overflow love everyone else.
Pastors' wives, are you intentionally loving your people? Are you loving them well?
xo a girl who sleeps with the pastor