Love isn’t just a feeling. It’s also a skill and a series of decisions.
Read that again. Love isn’t just a feeling. It’s also a skill and a series of decisions.
I am far from perfect, but I have improved my ability to love, especially as a mom and wife. I used to have what I now call, “Pre-Jesus Moments,” or a PJ Moment for short. I yelled. A lot. I muttered. A lot. I wasn’t abusive, but I was huffy and impatient. Dramatic sighs and eye rolls were my call sign.
I didn’t love the people in my life the way they needed and deserved to be loved. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit sat me down and had an intervention. No worries, I didn’t hear literal voices reverberating from the heavens, but something about accepting Jesus into my heart gave me a startling dose of clarity about the err of my ways. Afterward, I gained new compassion for others and found myself yelling less and listening more.
Prayerful self-reflection revealed that my hollering stemmed from me taking too much on and letting my stress levels get out of control. I started saying no, removed unnecessary stressors wherever possible, and took deliberate actions to take better care of myself: I created a morning routine, began eating healthier, started a journal, engaged in daily physical activity, and prayed A LOT. I also started studying the Bible to learn all I can about love – what it is and how to do it.
Seeking Jesus set my soul at ease and gave me new eyes. I began seeing and accepting the people in my life for the beautiful creations they were and loving them for it, rather than trying to browbeat them into the mold I thought they belonged in. Actually, I threw the stupid mold away. I saw they needed encouraging and building up, rather than judging and playing martyr and did my best to do those things.
This transformed my relationships. Especially at home. I’m so much closer to the kids, especially my oldest, who now feels he can be real and honest with me and doesn’t always have to put on the face he thinks I want to see. Same goes for my hubby! This level of acceptance and honesty has created beautiful moments that I cherish, even when tears are involved.
Wanna hear something totally awesome? Now, if the kids are acting up or pushing their boundaries, all I need to do is smile sweetly and say, “Would you like me to have a PJ moment? I’d be happy to arrange one for you.” That always gets a laugh and a chorus of, “Nope! NO! We’re good! No need for that!” Then they shape right up. (Usually.)
When it comes to loving people, I’m far from perfect. I’ll never feel like “I’ve arrived,” and I shouldn’t. But I want to get a little better at it every day. With Jesus, I know I can. So can you.
Overflowing Jesus Journal: Day 14
With these journal prompts, we’ve been rummaging around in our minds and hearts for the last 13 days, exploring what makes us tick and connecting to how it relates back to God. Today, we’re exploring how we love. If you are just now beginning the journaling journey, start with Day 1. It explains the whole concept. The rest of the prompts are in the carousel, below. Just start with the oldest one and work your way forward.
Read the verse, below, and let it sink into your soul.
John 13:34-35 New Living Translation – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Pray for God to grant you insight, and when you’re ready, journal the following as a prayer:
- Ask God to show you your strengths when it comes to loving other people. Write them down.
- Thank him for building you with those characteristics and ask him to help you cultivate them.
- Write down one way – just ONE – that you could improve at showing love to others.
- Write one single action you will take today to demonstrate that love to someone else.
- Pick a person you will show that love to. Write down the person’s name and pen a prayer for them.
- Thank Jesus for 3 things you’re grateful for from your last 24 hours. Remember – NO REPEATS from previous entries! This is all about realizing how many reasons you have to be thankful.
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