I am so humbled by all of you who have taken the 90 days of kindness challenge! I have received lots of comments and e-mails about how you have incorporated this into your daily lives and the areas in which you are going to focus your energy. I fear, however, that I have fallen a bit behind in providing you support. I have read every post and e-mail and comment and am so grateful for them and am trying to write you back in meaningful ways. Please trust that I value each and every word you share!
In all my talk of challenging you, I realize that I have not shared my kindness plan, and in all honesty it's in part because it's so hard to put into words.
I find that kindness toward strangers comes fairly easily to me. I love going out of my way to help others as they walk past me on the street, come into my office, and enter and exit my life throughout the day. I am by no means where I need to be in my efforts and feel called to extend this kindness in more intentional ways to those in the community who are struggling.
There is an area, however, where I fall short most of the time. There is a person that I sometimes have little patience for. The times when I lose my temper the most, hold grudges, put myself first, and bring up faults has to do with the most valued, trusted, and loved person in my life: my husband.
Writing those words just makes me want to crawl under a rock for fear of being thought of as the most horrible wife in the world. But why is it so easy to show strangers kindness when I struggle to show kindness to the most important person in the world?
Before I go to bed I pray that God will help me become the wife that he calls me to be. That he will show me how to love my husband with the love of Jesus. That he will take away my impatience, my selfishness, my stubbornness, because it's all there. All that ugly stuff of a sinner is there.
These things do not come out for lack of love for my husband. I love him more and more every day. I love him so much that it hurts to think of ever spending one day apart from him. But throughout my daily life, my responsibilities at work and to my students, I often find that when I get home in the evening, my energy is gone, my kindness is used up, and all I have for him are the "leftovers." The frustrations that I can't tell my colleagues, I often let out on him. The impatience that I've had throughout the day comes out on him. And I hate that I do this.
For the next 90 days (or the next forever perhaps?) I want to focus my energy on treating my husband the way he deserves to be treated. He is the head of our family, the king of our household, the one God called to be a leader in every way.
"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:22-24
The word "submit" used to give me the willies, but I think God has been softening my heart through marriage. This book also helped. As a follower of Christ, I don't get to pick and chose which parts of the bible sound good and which don't. If I believe in the words of Jesus, that he is my savior and died for my sins, and that he is coming back some day, then I sure better believe that I need to submit to my husband.
Ephesians calls me to respect my husband unconditionally, as in without conditions- not after he does the dishes, or takes out the garbage, or does the budget, but always. This is hard for me, and it is one of many elements I want to focus on through this challenge.
So there you have it...that was a lot of words. I hope you don't think less of me for not always being kind to my husband. I swear I love him. I do! But I can always love him more, the way Christ loves me.