Loving people well is not always easy.
It can be tiring, messy, and takes a certain type of courage. A courage that steps up, and doesn’t run when things feel stormy. These last couple months have taught us that loving people in real, and powerful ways is absolutely necessary.
I find this is especially true when it comes to family, close friends, the people we work with, live near, and encounter each day.
Let’s start at home. At this point I think it is safe to say we have all logged A LOT of quality time with the people we live with over the past couple months 🙂 Like us, you have probably had some great times and made sweet memories, and also likely faced some unique challenges brought on by lock downs, curfews and social distancing.
Normally we are traveling a lot and don’t get this much down time at home together so we have been cherishing it. It’s also easy to get on each other’s nerves simply because of all the close proximity.
Last month I shared about my parenting challenges and the need for Grace and forgiveness – check it out if you missed it.
In a recent Unstoppable Year Course Live Q&A one of our “Unstoppables” asked about advice for approaching relationships with family during quarantine. In addition to a lot of grace and a lot of forgiveness, we touched on a few other things I want to share with you. I think there are some helpful tools and reminders we can cling to every day, but especially now when relationships may be uniquely impacted by quarantine and LOTS of time together.
Here are some ways we can love well and lift up those around us!
Respond vs react. It’s so easy to react to something that someone does or says, and sometimes our first quick reactions can be emotional or hurtful. Try taking a deep breath, pause, and respond intentionally. Take a second to listen, empathize and look at things from the other person’s perspective. Make grace your default. Is the person who has wronged or annoyed you just tired/hungry/stir-crazy/frustrated?
Communication is KEY. Marriage and motherhood have taught me so much about how essential communication is for healthy relationships. Not only are our words important, but our tone of voice and our nonverbal (body/face) communication is just as important. Be aware of yourself and be clear, intentional, and honest in your communication.
Forgive. We can choose to forgive instead of holding anger and frustration inside. Forgiveness is grace!
Fruit of the Spirit. There is an amazing verse in the Bible that describes the “fruit of the Spirit” and provides us with a clear list of what to aspire to. It is helpful to use these traits as a goal and guidance for any relationship. Galatians 5:22-23 spells it out for us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Which one do you want to focus on? For me it’s patience!
Finally, one book that I highly recommend in helping you love your people better is Five Love Languages. Adam and I have found this book to be a helpful tool in learning how the other most needs loved expressed. The great thing is that the Five Love Languages can be applied to ANY one and ANY relationship. There are Five Love Language books geared for couples, men, children, teens, singles, and even military. You can check it out here: 5 Love Languages.
While we are still working on loving each other better every day and certainly don’t have it all figured out we want to encourage you with these five tools to apply to your relationships. A little effort can go a long way. And always remember…grace first!
Love your people well!