I think its time we learn to be gentle.
Gentle with ourselves.
Gentle with others.
And by us....I mean me.
I don't do things gently.
I live intensely. I love extremes.
I love passionately, powerfully, loud and over the top. I can be exhausting to be around.
That can be good, but it can also be difficult. I don't want to stop being those things, but I do desire to deal with people and emotions and myself outside of an extreme.
When I experience guilt, I hold onto it for years. I treat it like its my favorite blanket that I can't live without and wrap it around myself, never being able to part with it.
I grip fear like a lifeline, trying to kill it so that I can be free from it. However, the tighter I hold it, the bigger it gets.
Anger is birthed from fear, and so instead of actually trying to hold onto it, I just hate it. It won't go away, almost like a shadow, though I would I love to be rid of it. I don't want to learn about it, study it, discover it, I just want it to disappear.
I hide loneliness hoping that no one will see. I cover it up so I can ignore the feeling and hopefully just move on without it.
When there is pain, and at some point there will always be pain, I run from it. I pretend that I am stronger than I am and ignore the open wound in my heart.
Ignoring and fighting are my tactics for dealing with unwanted emotion.
Not knowing how to be gentle I believe stems from being a bit of a control freak. You wouldn't believe how much of this tendency I have been able to surrender to the Lord. But it's still there. It often feels like a slow and steady current under my "Let's take it easy" attitude. As much as I have surrendered, I continue to hold my actions against this attitude and see where I have missed the mark.
This is my goal now. Call it my "word" for the year. Call it my New Year's resolution. I am sure I will need more time with this word than just a year, so maybe it will become my life achievement.
Hold things gently.
Hold people more gently.
Hold myself the most gentle of all.
I want to open my hands and hold each and every one of these feelings out in the open. I want to know how to understand them.
I want to respect them.
Feelings... people... myself.
Holding them gently means that I don't hide or shy away from them. I don't let them rule my heart, but I understand that by ignoring them, they grow bigger and dig deeper. Holding them gently simply means I can experience that feeling, then when it's over, I slowly move on.
Holding feelings gently means I don't live in extremes. I won't ignore what I think or feel, but I also won't feel bad about it.
I want to hold people gently. I desire for my relationships with my friends, my family, my partners in life to live vivaciously. I want them to be thriving and full of grace and love and passion. If I hold my relationships gently then there is respect. I can show grace because I don't have time to judge. I can love because hate isn't gentle. I can be compassionate, because understanding is at the center of what it means to be gentle.
I want to hold my mistakes gently.
This is difficult.
I desire with both my hands wide open, to cradle the things I have done wrong that have hurt myself and others. The disastrous way I can treat people. The selfishness I exude to my children. The way I lied to my husband. The 100th time I lost my cool and took out on the innocents around me. I want those mistakes to be laid bare in my hands and watch grace and mercy cover them. I want those moments to teach me about God, not keep me from him. I want them to be great lessons in life, and not the lock and key to my freedom.
I want to hold myself gently.
To appreciate the entirety of myself. The ways in which I am strong, but not conceited.
The ways in which I am weak, but not self-loathing.
To love and respect my loud and crazy days, and accept my quiet ones.
To know I can be apart of changing the world, but it's OK to go to bed at 8pm when needed.
To hold myself gently means to be free from comparison, judgement, and fear of others.
It is a way to accept myself and you for who we are.
I desire to live gently.
I desire to teach my children to be gentle with each other and themselves.
I desire to hold my marriage gently. To let it live in love and respect and give it the attention it is due.
I desire to hold faith gently, not letting legalism drive me but love.
I desire to hold strangers gently, allowing them to be who they are before I decide who I want them to be.
I desire to hold the earth gently, respecting it for the beauty and creation it is. It deserves my respect as any other living thing.
These are my desires.
I am going to pray that we as a community can each learn what it means to live gently.
Imagine what could happen if we did.