**I had the honor of guest posting today over at bobiann.com today. What a blessing that lady is to me. She makes me laugh, she keeps it real, and she just loves Jesus so much. If you want to read it you can just click on over there.
We got a cat. Well, a kitten. A sweet little black kitten that my 14 year old daughter snuck (spell check says “snuck” is not a word, but I’m going with it anyway) home from a friend’s house. I was kind of mad about it. For about 5 minutes. Then I realized… she’s a baby! I don’t have any babies anymore. My youngest two started 5-day pre-k this August and I don’t have any babies at home. And really, this is waaaaaay (not a word, either) better than a baby, at least in this stage of life. Because she doesn’t wear diapers, and she feeds and bathes herself pretty much. But I can still carry her around and talk silly talk to her and cuddle her. Then I can put her down and totally forget she is even here until it is time to empty the litter box. (Still not as bad as diapers. Believe me. I know a lot about diapers.) So I kind of like the kitty. She still doesn’t have an official name. If you have suggestions, we are open. Right now she is just Miss Kitty.
We also have a dog, but apparently I am more of a cat person. Skip is my step-dog. It is a relationship of mutual tolerance. But he is sweet to Miss Kitty so we’re cool.
Now that you know more than you ever wanted to about Pet Life at the Long House, I will move on to my original intended topic. I was kind of ugly to my husband tonight. Because he made himself a cup of coffee in MY new and very special coffee mug. Because it is just a pet peeve of mine for someone to drink out of my glass. And he does it all the time (before we were married I’m sure I thought this was precious). Is that a big deal? No. Does it feel like a big deal to me? Yes. So I had to ask myself the question: Why? Why is it a big deal if he drinks out of your glass? And the answer to the question is just this: I am selfish. (I felt physical pain typing that sentence. Just so you know.)
I have lots of other “pet peeves”. I won’t bore you with the details, they are all as silly as the one I just told you about. And they all boil down to my own selfishness. If I am being kind to myself, I might say it is because I have a bunch of kids and I am just always giving, giving, giving, until I just want some tiny little thing for myself. But that isn’t really entirely true… Because if I am honest a lot of my pet peeves have to do with the kids, what they do, what they don’t do, how they chew their food… I bet they don’t always see me as “giving, giving, giving” so much as they do “nagging, complaining, fussing”.
Ouch. I have had several conversations in recent days about how important it is to consider the kind of wife and mom I want to be, and to choose the response, reaction, or course of action that reflects THAT woman. But it can be so hard. Particularly after 8pm. And I forget to ask myself “What are you communicating to them? That you love them and delight in them? Or that they get on your nerves and you can’t wait until they go to bed?” That is a hard question with an easy answer, I’m afraid.
I don’t think that beating myself up over this and condemning myself is productive. But I so desperately want to walk wisely and humbly, to be full of mercy… And the thing I find myself praying for most these days is wisdom.
“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” James 3:17-18, MSG
Getting mad about a coffee cup (or anything else equally insignificant) isn’t exactly reasonable. Or gentle. And I think that is a good measuring tool… “Am I being reasonable? Am I being gentle? Am I overflowing with mercy?” If not, am I being unwise? James seems to think so.
This applies to things bigger than pet peeves, friends. There is strength in gentleness. The very definition of meekness is “strength under control”. Being loud, demanding my way, and not letting anyone get the best of me may seem like strength… But true strength is when I can set appropriate boundaries with kindness and love and gentleness. Wisdom.
It feels backwards. Like it is always “Opposite Day”.
Here is my mantra… “Wisdom is gentle. Reasonable. Merciful.”
I want to be wise.
God says all I have to do is ask.
“if you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help.” James 1:5, MSG
I definitely don’t know what I’m doing. Apparently that is not a requirement.
May I be humble enough to recognize that tomorrow. Because I sure need the help.