On being authentic

I had an interesting experience with someone that has really made me think about my behavior. I was recently trying to be very nice to someone & it wasn’t working. This person was responding with very rude behaviors & comments. Because they were acting so poorly, I wanted to be mean back & express that I was really displeased with their words & actions. I started to think about my behavior & suddenly I was confronted w the truth that I was being manipulative. I was trying to control the other person’s behavior by being nice rather than just being a genuinely nice because that’s who I am.
So here’s the quick conclusion: let’s be nice because we are nice people & not for the purpose of controlling another person’s behavior. Dear friends, let’s be nice because we are nice & not because we’re manipulative ūüôā

friendships

¬† When I was growing up, I used to complain to my parents about not having any friends – it was partly true, because I wasn’t a very friendly person. ¬†Nevertheless, my parents would always encourage me that I had lots of friends & they were always very affirming on this topic. ¬†Here are some other pearls of wisdom they taught ¬†me in relation to friendships:

  • diversity is good – its good to have lots of different kinds of friends: ¬†smart, funny, healthy, beautiful, chubby, witty, deep, seasonal, insightful, superficial, . . . . . ¬† Diversity is the spice of life!
  • in order to have friends, we must be friendly: ¬†smile, be forgiving, generous, seeking to understand
  • be more concerned about being interested rather than interesting: ¬†listening can be a timeless gift
  • a friendship isn’t merely about what you can get out of the relationship, but also what you can give
  • don’t be disappointed because someone is unable to give something you want in a friendship – maybe they don’t have that skill set or ability, just like you also have some shortcomings
  • give the benefit of the doubt: ¬†don’t assign malicious intent
  • no one person can be your everything in life – this expectation is unhealthy & ultimately idolatrous
  • be the friend you would like to have ūüôā
  • forgive, forgive, forgive & be prepared to continue forgiving

what’s the opposite of love???

¬†I’ve been thinking about love & its various expressions as they relate to different relationships (kids, parents, mates, friends, etc).¬† In my thinking, I’ve also been considering not only what love is, but also what love is not & here are some take aways I’ve been considering.¬† Love is not:

  • selfish – hence my tweet from a few days ago about love making decisions in the best interests of the recipient & not merely the giver of love
  • inconsistent – love is stable & as such, doesn’t merely function in the realm of feelings
  • hateful, malicious, evil, cruel or sadistic
  • apathetic – this word comes from the greek meaning to lack feeling or passion (a-pathy).¬† Perhaps indifference is more deadly than guns, bombs¬† & knives
  • egocentric or prideful – maybe these would be¬†synonyms with¬†selfish

These are some interesting observations, but what is more important than observation is application.  I know that I want to love well & authentically, but I get frustrated with myself because I fail.  It is exactly these frustrations, among other things, that cause me to turn to God because God is love.  I turn to God to live in a deeper relationship with Him so that He can love others more authentically through me.

a gift you can give that doesn’t cost money

Christmas can sometimes be an expensive holiday, depending on how you celebrate it.¬† Given the economy this year, along with the employment situation for many of my friends, I thought I’d suggest a gift that doesn’t require money but is thoroughly invaluable to not only the receiver but also to you the person giving the gift.¬† Interested to know what you can give that’s expensive but doesn’t cost money?¬†

Forgiveness

See, here’s the deal:¬† we all have people in our lives that need our forgiveness.¬† Whether its the jerk that cut you off when you’re driving or the very hurtful remark someone said to you at work.¬† Or maybe you’ve been hurt by something your mate said to or about you without thinking of the sting it has left in you.¬† Maybe someone did something to you¬†in your childhood that still affects you to this day.¬† The truth is, no one has to look hard for opportunities to forgive – our life is full of such opportunitites every day.¬†

So this Christmas, let’s give others the gift of forgiveness – to let go.¬†

  • Forgiveness is given when we don’t remind the person of their shortcoming.¬†
  • Forgiveness is given when we speak kind words without sarcasm (or do our best to be pleasant)
  • Forgiveness is¬†given when we want what is¬†in the offenders best interest (and not the getting even approach)
  • Forgiveness is given when we don’t have to always make the offender know that we’re forgiving them

I think that many of us don’t do the forgiveness because it takes alot of work & its much less work to not forgive, especially at the beginning of an offense.¬† But i’ve found that the longer i hold onto an offense, the harder it is to let it go & the more drained i become from maintaining the offense.¬†

So be generous this season without spending alot of money ūüôā

Give the gift of forgiveness & go into the new year with greater freedom and liteness of being ūüôā