Today, June 1st, comes hot on the heels of a couple of difficult months for me.
Did I say difficult? I meant excruciating. And not JUST in all the ways it’s been excruciating for 98% of the world, I mean all that PLUS a huge dose of humbling, straight from the hand of God, that brought me to my knees.
That tends to happen when you get a little prideful.
I didn’t even know I was prideful… at the time. I know it now, looking back, that I was, in some of my relationships, hanging onto some self-righteousness and just being in the right.
I was right.
I knew I was right.
I WAS NOT IN THE WRONG.
What does that have to do with gum?
I’ll get to that.
Anyhoo. Excruciating, because, through an extremely, horrifically painful lesson, God showed me that I was a little too proud of myself, and that humbling yourself is almost always the correct response in almost every strained relationship.
Even if you’re the one who is right.
And that’s all the subject of other posts that may or may not be forthcoming.
You know me.
I can’t commit to any sort of blog plan or timeline.
So about the last couple of months. Things were said ABOUT ME that might have had a microscopic grain of truth, but only the teensiest, tiniest, ONLY true because it was said out of context and a tiny little mustard seed of truth was twisted and embellished until it was no longer true, minuscule grain of truth.
In other words, what was being said was 99.99999% NOT TRUE.
Not-so-coincidentally, THIS IS WHAT SATAN DOES – he takes a 0.000001% truth and twists it and embellishes it into a LIE, but it has just enough truth to it to FEEL true.
So this happened, and it was involving one of the relationships dearest to my heart.
The humbling came after a few weeks of me clinging to my rightness because I WAS NOT IN THE WRONG, and what was being said was A LIE, and I was so mad about it that the blood in my head would almost feel like it was boiling.
All that, alternating with REALLY badly hurt feelings.
I was hurt.
I was mad.
I was right to feel both hurt and mad.
I was right.
Did I mention that I was right?
The broken relationship, though… that was killing me.
I went to God about it every single morning and prayed and even fasted – yes, went without food for a few days – while I begged God to fix this.
Show this person HOW THEY ARE WRONG, Lord.
Over the course of a few weeks I alternated from being curled up in the fetal position in pain, to sitting in the shower and bawling my eyes out from the hurt, to attacking the weeds in my yard with a vengeance because I. WAS. SO. MAD. AND SOMEONE NEEDED TO PAY AND KILLING THE WEEDS WAS MY ONLY SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE OUTLET.
Because I was right.
Did I mention that I was right?
But after a solid couple of weeks of crying and being angry and fasting off and on and begging God to CHANGE THIS PERSON…
He did what He does and whacked ME with my own shortcomings.
And God spoke to me and said, YOU KNOW WHAT, Missy? You can cling to your ANGER and your SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, or you can let yourself be BROKEN and HUMBLE YOURSELF and HEAL THIS.
And I decided to be the person I want to be, I would do just that.
I would let the hurt and anger go.
Not hold out for an apology or expect a changed heart from the other person, but just LOVE THAT PERSON.
Throw their wrongdoing into the deepest depths of the ocean and never hold it against them again.
Because – God told me – I hadn’t done a perfect job of speaking this person’s love language.
Or even a decent job of it.
I hadn’t done it at all, if I’m honest, in the last three years. Because in the last three years I’ve been so consumed with not drowning – living in survival mode – that I haven’t paid enough attention – IN THE WAY THAT THEY NEED ATTENTION – to any of the ones I love the most.
I haven’t made any of them feel very loved.
And this person, in particular, needed to feel loved. By me.
And if I’m going to just LOVE THIS PERSON, I needed to love this person in a way that feels like love to them.
And this particular person is a Quality Time kinda person.
I’ve known that for years and years.
And I used to do it better.
I called this person and set a date and time to go have breakfast together. Quality Time. We did. And as per my newfound humility I didn’t bring up the hard, heavy stuff… I just focused on LOVING THIS PERSON, and it was fun.
And healing. The first steps of it, at least.
But what does that have to do with gum?
I’m getting to that.
I’ve resolved to make more REAL, consistent, concerted efforts to make my most treasured, valued people feel loved, by finding a way to speak their love language to them every chance I get.
One of my kids is a Quality Time girl. When she was little, she loved nothing more than to lay on the floor and color in a coloring book together, and I did that with her every chance I got, and she would always says, Thank you, mama, for coloring with me…
One of them is all about Physical Touch. She needs hugs. When she was little, she needed to be held and snuggled and would crawl right up into your skin with you to be as close as possible.
And the third one?
I figured her out yesterday.
The two of us ran into Brookshire’s to pick up steaks to cook on the grill with a certain man friend of mine.
This kid of mine suggested we also get him a little gift, since he invited us over to swim in his pool and cook on his grill and all, and is always, always, ALWAYS doing things for us like fixing our lawnmower or fixing our sprinkler system or taking a look at our cars or moving heavy things for us or… I mean, I could go on and on – but because of all of that, my kid wanted to get him a gift.
What do you have in mind, I asked?
How about some gum, she answered.
And a light bulb went off in my head.
She wants to get him gum because her love language is Gifts, and why have I not realized this before now???
This is not the first time we’ve been to the store and bought this guy some gum, because she wanted to get him some gum.
And my mind raced back to all the times this kid was THRILLLLLLED with the tiniest cheap little gift from the dollar spot at Target or obtained for free, even, like shells I brought her from the beach, and she cherishes ALL the gifts and displays them in her room as if they’re the finest treasures.
Do you think he would like some gum? I asked her.
Well, I thought of what I would like to have, and so I decided to get that for him, she said, because the best kinds of gifts to give somebody are the ones you’d like to have for yourself.
So much wisdom from such a little kid.
I’m not sure my Acts of Service guy truly appreciated the meaning behind a gift of gum.
And if I hadn’t just had the humbling of a lifetime and had my eyes opened to all the ways the people around me need me to show up for them, I might have missed this, myself.
I tell them all, OFTEN, how I feel about them, because that’s my love language – Words.
The problem is that they don’t hear it, because it’s not their love language.
By the way, since my love language is Words, that’s probably why things said about me and things said to me are so extra hurtful…
From now on, I’m going to make an effort on the daily to spend some Quality Time with my Quality Time people.
Im going to make sure I hug my Physical Touch people, and hug them often.
I’m going to do something nice to make life easier for the ones who thrive on Acts of Service.
And I’m going to bring gum to the kid who would REALLY feel valued and treasured if I brought her some gum.