Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Over the past few weeks, I have been struggling with negativity. I have been irritable, exhausted, judgmental and a complainer. Most days, I work hard to exude kindness and positive energy, but the past few weeks, I honestly haven’t cared. This morning, as I was driving to work, I was sort of mindlessly listening to a mix CD someone had given me a couple of years ago. A song came on that I didn’t know, and as I listened to the words, the Holy Spirit suddenly hit me like a tidal wave. While I had been blaming outside factors for my negative mindset, God revealed to me that the problem was (and is) me.
The reality is, the world sucks. There’s really no other way around it. There are terrible people doing terrible things. There’s poverty, disease, oppression, natural disaster and personal crises. But that story is not a new one. It’s always been like this. And we can choose to embrace the negativity of the world and be grumpy, irritable, judgmental and rude. We can very easily take on the mantle of the victim and live our lives moaning and groaning and accepting responsibility for nothing.
We can embrace the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ. We can take on the mantle of love, showing kindness, respect, mercy, forgiveness and hope. Instead of being victims, we can be change agents.
My friend, Amy L. Sullivan, is a change agent. A few years ago, she realized that she and her family were living very self-centered and selfish lives. Although they had plenty, it didn’t seem like enough. One Christmas, after going through the plethora of presents before them and still not being satisfied, Amy said, “Enough is enough. We’re changing.” And they did. Amy and her family started reaching out into the mess that is the world and finding ways to make a difference both near and far. Amy reached beyond the walls of her house and connected with other change agents from around the world, joining forces to help build wells, feed the hungry, send children to school, support cancer patients, provide shelter to the homeless and so much more.
I recently asked Amy how living this life of love and connection has changed her family. And do you know what she said? They’ve become EMPOWERED. Her children see a problem, and they DO SOMETHING about it. A local horse ranch needs funds, her kids make and sell muffins to raise money for them. There’s not complaining, no wallowing in self-pity, no grumpiness or judgement. There’s just the active work of meeting needs and doing it all in the name of Jesus Christ.
Amy has written a book about giving, which is set to release this September. Her book is called When More is Not Enough: How to Stop Giving Your Kids What They Want and Give Them What They Need. Here’s the link to pre-order your copy today! Really, go pre-order your copy today. I promise you, it will change your entire outlook on life. And then go to her website–she’s working on some amazing things!!
I know I write a lot about love. Part of the reason is that I have not yet been perfected in love, and that is because I do not practice love enough in my own life. The truth is, I want to BE a change agent, not just think about being one. I want to actively pursue living a life of love. I don’t want to continue to live under this cloud of negativity, but I have to DO SOMETHING about it. So this week, I am going to be an encourager at work. I am going to write notes (yes, actual notes on cards that are made of paper) to my co-workers to encourage them and thank them for all they do. It’s a small step, but it helps me to move away from the negative and to focus on the positive. I have other plans, but I will share those a little later.
For now, let’s all seek to be change agents this week.
Blessings and Peace,