February may be short, but it's an ambitious month in the Gainey household. On top of continuing January's goal of routine (specifically: exercise, quiet time and showering in the morning- yes, I was showering before, just often after David got home!) I've added a few others.
February's goals are to update the budget weekly, stay under my grocery budget and (the one I'm really scared about) stop criticizing and boasting.
My final Feb goal (which David is working on too) is something I've been convicted of quite recently. Both David and I have noticed over the last year our conversations too often center on what "we do right" and what "others do wrong". I'm ashamed to admit that. How do these conversations happen? Well, I think a big part of it is there's a fine line between sharing your heart with your spouse and tearing someone else down in the process.
The advent of social media like facebook, blogs and even the easy accessibility of mass media at any time of the day or night makes it easier than ever for us to compare ourselves to others. And, in the words of John Acuff, "Our internal dialogue has two modes: extreme criticism or extreme flattery." Whether I'm down in the dumps because another mom appears to have her life all together or feeling unreasonably proud of the fact that I cooked while another family went out to eat ('cause you know, we never do that...) it all stems from the same wrong heart: that I can ever evaluate my worth based on another human being.
I've met so many families, many of them Christian unfortunately, who seemed to have an air of superiority about themselves. You could hear it in their disdain for the choices others around them were making and in their bragging about their own morality. This is not the Gospel. And this is not how I want conversations in our family to sound. We are all made in the image of God and therefore each carry unique value and worth, but we are also all broken by sin, often manifesting in very different ways in our lives, but broken none-the-less. This is how I want to view people. It's how I want our children to view people. To be able to see beauty and inherent worth in each person, while still being able to forgive individual failings. Tearing others down extinguishes this truth in our hearts.
How does that look in real life? Here are some verses I'm praying will make their way from my head to my heart:
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (Phillipians 4:8)
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (Prov. 19:11)
"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." (James 1:19)
"Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Col. 3:13)
I think it's important that we can be open with one another about what is on our heart, but not at someone else's expense.
I know this won't be an easy habit to build, but I hope by approaching it intentionally and with prayer that February will be a month I get better at showing love in my speech. Isn't love what this month is supposed to be about anyway?
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." -1st Corinthians 13:4-5