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Lately, I’ve been striving to change my habits. I would hate for my daughters or my husband to interpret my stress as a lack of love for them. I don’t want my grumpiness to get in the way of showering my girls with the love they so desperately need from their mother. I’m a work in progress, to say the least, but here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- Putting love into action is a choice.
There’s no doubt I love my family, and they know I love them. But to show love, I have to make a conscious effort to do so. When I’ve had a good night’s rest and full of energy, showing love is fairly easy. I have the drive to serve them. I have the desire to sit and play with my daughters. And I naturally feel joyful and am able to respond to things positively rather than negatively. But when I’m tired or have too much on my plate, it’s so much harder. I have a choice to make. I can choose to live in my state of stress, or I can take my stress to God and allow His joy to be my strength.
- Time is one of the best ways to show love.
I can cook and clean all day long (and it certainly feels like I do), but nothing beats playtime with my girls. They love nothing more than when I’m willing to set aside the laundry to play princesses. The truth is, most of us feel the same way about our loved ones – we feel the most loved when they give us their time. The laundry will get done when it gets done. In the meantime, I’m pretending to be Rapunzel!
- Realize that showing love can be contagious.
I can always tell when my day is going to be stressful… not by how I feel, but by how my children are acting. They FEEL my stress and often act out accordingly. It’s funny how that works. The more stressed I become, the more they act out. It’s a vicious cycle.
The good news is I’ve discovered that the cycle also works the other way around. When I choose to trust God with my day and allow Him to be my strength, my kids respond accordingly. Now I obviously can’t dote on them every second of the day (I do have to get some housework done), but I can certainly show them how much I love them by making sure I give them some quality time and attention. And when they feel heard, loved, and appreciated, they respond by making me feel heard, loved, and appreciated. The same is true with my husband. His mood towards me is greatly affected by my mood towards him.
We can certainly rely on God’s strength as we strive to be like Christ and show love to those around us.
So there you have it. Like I said, I’m still a work in progress. Life gets hard, and it’s easy to succumb to its pressures. But we can allow the joy of the Lord to be our strength!
When we have the Lord as our strength, we can do anything He’s called us to.Click To Tweet
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.