Heart Gardening

Those who regularly follow my blog probably sense that I prefer to write about God’s character than I do about my — or our — lack. But sometimes my own glaring lack of godliness becomes too much to overlook, and this week I’ve noticed a “showering with my socks on” kind of discomfort that eventually made me examine my own heart, when I’d really prefer to be judging someone else’s.

appetizer bowl bread breakfast
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This morning I was thinking, as I have for a couple of days, about my disappointment with some people. I realized that right now I was not at all disposed to show favour to them. Just couldn’t find any. Like Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, my decision was, “No grace for you!”

No showering of needed rain or shining of needed sun on both the just and the unjust (or whomever I felt to be unjust at the moment). No patience. No mercy.  Not for them.

And, certainly, no humility. Not in me.

I came to this assessment of my hardened heart as I drove home this morning from depositing my husband at work. My thought-map ended up something like this: Everyone in my world, past and present, have needed on-purpose goodness and mercy and grace at some point in our relationship. As I have needed from them. I have no problem offering all three to my nearest and dearest as often as needed, and when I see my own short-comings and sin, I gratefully find grace in God’s eyes, as well as from my family and friends.

But today was the first time I saw this particular nastiness in me: There are some people I don’t find grace in my heart for. Hardly ever. The slightest transgression makes me disappointed to the point of anger. Sometimes even to despair. And although I don’t want to break relationship, being near them is too painful, so I slowly back away. Out of sight, out of mind.

Then I came home this morning and checked my Facebook Feed. There I found Ann Voskamp’s blog post,”When you’re Finding it Hard to be Patient”. If my blog post is speaking to you, then I suggest you jet on over to www.aholyexperience.com. Here’s what spoke to me today:

My failure to love is first a failure to be grateful for who people are right now. And my impatience is a result of my unthankfulness.

I’ve written before about how what we put our attention on becomes seed in our hearts. Obviously, if I’m in such a snit about someone else’s (or even my own) failures, then it’s because I’ve spent too much time looking at it and not enough time being thankful for the good that is there to be found.

I’ll leave you with one more quote from one of my favorite bloggers:

Lack gratitude — then lack patience — then, ultimately, lack love.

Perhaps the opposite is also true:

Be thankful; then find patience; then live in love. And mercy and grace.

May you and I have a love-filled day.