Today I finished the book. The lesson, as one might guess, was a general overview of all of the things we've studied over the past 40 days.
I read the passage pretty early in the day, so I have had pretty much most of the afternoon and all evening to mull over what I thought I wanted to write about tonight. And as one might guess, I have decided to go with a general overview.
I would be lying if I said that I am a changed person, but I am certainly a person with a changed perspective. Here are some things I have learned:
-As much as I love people, as friendly as I am, as many social functions as I am always extra-willing to attend, I was not placing the highest value on my relationships. Now I know that nothing is more important than the people God has put in my life. I still want people's acceptance. I still want validation from my children, husband, and friends, but I don't do nice things to earn it. I do nice things because I love them. I still stress out over the household chores, but I have decided here lately that I would rather lose an extra hour of sleep at night than an extra round of Princess Yahtzee with my daughter. (By the way, Jack's naps are shorter now. Down to 2.5 hours instead of 3...we might have to pick a new game once Jack drops naps altogether or Dad might get a bit upset!)
-As much as I love the people in my life, they are not always especially lovable--anyone who has had to pick a four-year-old who is kicking and screaming up out of the aisle of a grocery store will know what I mean. But whether she is screaming at me or cuddling with me, it is always my job to love her. Fortunately, genetics give her the advantage of my unconditional love, but many people do not have that "get out of jail free card" to use with me. Doesn't matter. Love them I must, because love is an action and not an emotion.
-I can talk anybody's ear off, anytime, anywhere; but talking and communicating are not the same thing. I am not the world's best communicator. Sometimes, I don't listen. Sometimes, when I am upset, I yell more than I talk. Sometimes (ok, alot of the time,) I interrupt other people when they're talking. (That is why blogging works for me...nobody can jump in with a second opinion! lol)
And here lately, it has taken alot out of me to speak honestly about how I feel. I am not always "fine." Sometimes, I am sad or lonely or tired or stressed out of my mind. And while I don't want to become that person who cries to everyone "poor, pitiful me..." I do need to share my feelings honestly with some people and trust them to love me too.
-I have a whole whoppin' mess of planks in my eye. I am not perfect, but I secretly judge others as though I am. And I am awesome at looking the other way when someone really is acting inappropriately. (Those are not things to be especially proud of.) Many of the flaws I am quick to notice in other people are problems that I am walking around with myself. If I poke you with one of my planks, please accept my apologies...I am working on chiseling them down :)
-I still have a desire to be great. I don't want to be mediocre. I want to be the world's best mom, wife, and friend. I still like getting awards. I still like being recognized. It will always feel good to hear someone say "thank you" or "great job."
But the way to be a great mom, wife, and friend is to serve my children, my husband, and my friends before myself. I would rather have rewards in heaven than awards on earth. I would rather be commended by God than by man. I don't want an "I love me" wall as much as I want to hear God say to me "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
-I am a "Golden Rule Girl." But, I admit, sometimes it is much easier to treat people the way they treat you than to treat them the way you want to be treated. To this, I say, kill them with kindness :) (Sounds like someone who's done a 40-day love study, doesn't it?!)
Mostly, I've learned that there is way more than 40 days worth of work left to do in order to follow Jesus's simple commandment to "love one another." But I will take as many days as it takes to get it right...because I love Jesus, I want the rest of you to know that I love Him--and you--too.
I also learned that I just might like to blog a little more than I originally thought I did. Thank you for reading, thank you for relating to it, and thank you for not un-friending me when some of the truth about me came out in all this!