There are mindsets we step into that dictate what we think and feel, what we expect to see from others, and how we behave.
Love thinks the best.
It delivers a buffer of grace, giving people time to explain, to share, to go through their process and land without being pushed into defensiveness, avoidance or lying.
So if love allows room for mistakes and growth, what hinders that process?
When we step out of love, out of kingdom, and judge…when we embrace a critical attitude…we are set up to anticipate the worst from others.
And we get what we are looking for.
If I expect to feel annoyed by someone, then I’ll feel it the second I notice them breathing air in the same room. If I expect someone to make poor choices, that’s what I’ll be looking for.
Mat and I just came through a rough parenting week. One of our kids got in trouble at school. His choice made no sense to us and had a rippling effect on others. In our frustration we came down hard on him. But when we cooled off and sat down and actually listened in a way that he felt safe to share, his choice made sense. It wasn’t the wisest choice, but we have thirty years on him in the maturing process. Hindsight is a great teacher and he learned.
If we had stepped into love, we would have avoided the distance that initially came between us and our child. Our assumptions about his motives colored our perception of him and sparked a negative interaction.
We didn’t see through love.
Our attitudes impact others. It’s as if our thoughts and feelings either perfume or poison the air around us.
We don’t have to speak a word for people to know we are spitting mad or about to burst with joy. It seeps from our pores. In the same way, we can take someone’s “temperature” in a nanosecond.
At my kids’ basketball games, tempers can rise quickly over a bad call that impacts the game’s momentum. It’s hard not to get caught up in that swirling anger. I can easily trip into being a yeller. I hate injustice.
But Holy Spirit lives in us so we have access to His fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Gal. 5:22,23).
So when the anger of the crowd presses in and stirs my emotions, I’ve been practicing connecting to God and releasing His peace.
I want to be a releaser of the aroma of His presence.
I don’t want to find out later (from the media room in heaven) that angels were waiting for my prayers to send them on assignments, but instead my angry words were empowering demonic influences in the room. Anger. Strife. Judgment. (And the occasional, ahem, heckling. I said I’m working on it.)
We have the ability to walk in the peace and joy He’s given us. It just takes practice.
Holy Spirit, teach me how to connect with You in a deeper way. Reveal Yourself to me and give me an awareness of Your presence that lives inside me. The love You feel, the peace You live in, the joy that is the essence of Your being. Let me experience You living through me and loving others. Teach me to think the best of others and myself. To laugh and have fun and enjoy the life You’ve given me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Pictures via Pixabay