Posts Tagged ‘compassion

06
Mar
17

Middle of Life Grown Up Lessons

soil and plant

I think I might almost be a grown up.  At least, I’m heading that way. I’m 45 years old, and some might think that it’s about time. But, for me, it’s been a process. And I absolutely love it, and sometimes I hate it. It’s hard, and it’s messy. But I love that I’m here, and I love that I’m learning things about myself that maybe I, personally, would not have been able to learn in my twenties. Some of my growth required time and experiences that I wasn’t looking for earlier, and some lessons I actually didn’t even know existed until now.

I get excited when I get to share what I’ve learned and what I’m learning, because, honestly, growth is not really an age thing. We’ve all seen younger people who seem to be wise beyond their years, and we’ve also seen older people who are still demanding their own way and who act like three year olds in old people bodies…it’s not pretty, but it’s a real thing. So I think growth and grown up-hood is not only a thing of grace, but it also has to do with our openness to receiving the gifts given to us. It’s having eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that’s open to new possibilities.

Lesson #1:  We all have core value because we are made in the image of God…we are God’s image bearers. That’s incredible. However, we all have core hurts that some of us live out of. And after continually walking in those core hurts, it’s hard to know and feel our own core value and virtually impossible to see other people’s value if we can’t even see our own. We are valuable, and we are worth it.

Lesson #2:  Feelings are not bad. In fact, they are helpful in how we figure out why we do the things we do. We have to be able to feel and to realize what we’re feeling, and only then, can we move towards healing and growth.

Lesson #3:  In order to know and love others well, we have to know ourselves. We have to be compassionate with ourselves before we can be compassionate with others. Jesus said, “Love God; love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Lesson #4:  Boundaries are vital. Everyone has a “yard,” and we get to decide who comes in and out of our yards.  While boundaries don’t initially make things easier, they make things healthier, and eventually, things do get easier with use.

Lesson #5:  We all have a voice. And finding and using our voice is important.  We have to be able to use it for ourselves before we are able to use it for others.

Lessons #6:  We are all unique individuals who have different gifts, and when we grace people with our particular gift, those around us are enriched and encouraged. No one’s gift is better than anyone else’s, so we don’t have to compete and compare.

Lesson #7:  I no longer have to put people in boxes labeled: good box and bad box. If I am establishing appropriate boundaries (Lesson 4) and seeing other people’s core value (Lesson 1), then I no longer have to make people the bad guy and me the good guy. People are just people.

Lesson #8:  You only know what you know. This seems like a very obvious kind of statement. But if we really believe that about ourselves and others, we can begin to not only show people grace, but we can cut ourselves some slack, as well.

Lesson #9:  You are not alone. We are all in this together.  Your story may have different details than mine, but our stories are connected. We don’t have to do this alone.

Lessons #10:  Life is hard. It just is. There is always going to be stuff that we would rather not go through. But as I get older, I ask myself, “What am I supposed to be learning from this?” I want to look for the beauty in everything, but especially in the struggle.

Lesson #11:  Everything is connected. If you start looking for the connections, you start seeing them everywhere.

Lesson #12:  “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am” is not just a nice principle or a cute Bible verse, it’s a real, life-giving mystery. And that’s the “following Jesus” kind of church that anyone anywhere can be a part of.

Lesson #13:  Questions are good. I have a couple friends who ask questions well, and I’m learning from them. If we’re willing to ask, there will always be someone there to answer.

Lesson #14:  Things are not happening to me; they are happening for me. When hard things come my way, instead of asking “Why me?” I now ask “How do I get to grow up in this?” If I look at the world through this lens, I no longer have to be a victim. It’s the difference between knowing that God is for me, not against me.

Lesson #15:  I absolutely have to have solitude and silence and wide open spaces. I cannot breathe well without these.

I don’t usually do lists, but I thought this might be a not-so-Kim-kind-of-way to look at how I’m becoming a grown up. A lot of these lessons overlap because everything is connected, of course (Lesson 11). These lessons have not been easy, and I hope to share stories in future blogs about how these lessons came to be.

For some of these lessons, I’m at the very beginning, while others I’m somewhere in the middle, and other lessons have been long and hard, and I’ve had to endure way more than I cared to. But I have a good Friend who has walked beside me and continues to walk with me on this amazing journey. And I’m grateful for the lessons He’s teaching me on a daily basis and for the friends He’s given to walk with me along the way.

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14
Mar
12

Oh, Brother

We recently went out to eat for Jeff’s birthday. We went to one of those all you can eat buffets where we enjoyed our time and ate a whole lot of food. During our trip, Jonah, who is 14, went to use the bathroom. Not realizing that Jonah went to use the bathroom, Jesse, 15, also went to use the bathroom when Jesse saw Jonah’s shoes under the bathroom stall. Jesse told us all back at the table, “I didn’t even have to formulate a plan. I already knew what I was going to do.”

So here was the “already formulated plan” that was in Jesse’s head: Jesse went into the stall next to Jonah and started throwing toilet paper over the top of the stall onto Jonah. Jonah did not realize that Jesse was even in the bathroom and got nervous that some stranger was throwing toilet paper over on him. So Jonah started kicking the tp back under the stall with his shoe.  Jesse did not get the result that he was looking for with the toilet paper (it lacked heaviness), so he wet the tp down using clean toilet water (gross) and then threw it into Jonah’s stall. Still, Jonah did not realize until he came back to the table that the person who caused his bathroom agony was his beloved older brother.

A couple of days later, brotherly love came around again when Jesse took Jonah and Jake’s doorknob off and switched it around, so that the lock was on the outside of the door, making it to where he could lock them in their room from the outside.  Apparently, Jonah and Jake did not like being locked in their own room and started yelling, so Jesse switched the doorknob back around before anyone else was the wiser.  To be honest, his misplaced creativity boggles my mind.

But, apparently, this is how Jesse shows love. And he often goes too far.  He tickles Jeremiah until he can’t breathe and teases Julia until she really can’t handle it anymore and sometimes wrestles Jake to the floor, which is really funny to watch two big kids with long legs and long arms rolling around on the floor laughing.

We just watched the movie Warrior which I really liked. One of the themes was families but more specifically brothers. It was about love and anger, betrayal and forgiveness. I loved how they beat the crap out of each other, only to compassionately walk with each other in the end. The younger brother was finally willing to let go when he heard his older brother say that he loved him, and that was when the  I got tears in my eyes and a really large lump in my throat, like I sometimes do around here.

Jesse recently got his air soft gun out and threatened Jonah and Jake with it. I thought everyone was having a good time. Jeff had the hose out, trying to soak Jesse with it, and I was laughing my head off. Jonah and Jake were way out in the backyard, while Jesse stood near the house shooting his air soft gun in their direction (it can’t shoot that far, and they both wear glasses, so I thought they were okay). They weren’t okay. In fact, they were angry and scared. At some point, Jesse realized that they weren’t okay with his game.  Without saying anything, he walked inside and put away his weapon. Walking away at that moment was Jesse loving his brothers; it was Jesse showing compassion. And that is the way of this brother.




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