Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Love List

Wow. Psalm 119 has been hitting me left and right. This morning I was skewered by this verse:

"Look down upon my sorrows and rescue me, for I have not forgotten Your laws." (119:153)

I had a not so great morning today, thanks to friction between me and my dh and I...oh, you know what I mean! Thing is, I never doubt we love each other, and there are times we have a lot of fun (as the picture will attest). But we sure seem to spend a lot of time irritated at one another. I hate that. Hate the way it makes me feel, the way I let it make me act. So I go, muttering to myself, from our little exchange (which, let's be honest, was mostly my fault) and sit down in my comfy chair with my perfect, soft lighting and read the line above. Now, you might think I was all encouraged: Oh, thank You, Lord! You'll rescue me.

Not so much. Because what struck my spirit wasn't that God was going to pluck me from my sorrows, but that next bit. The line that's kind of a quiet little offbeat: "For I have not forgotten Your laws."

Ah. Yes. God's laws.

When things get dark and difficult, which is how it so often feels even if they haven't (what can I say? David and I share a like mind: we whine!), if I just remember God's laws, I can endure. More than that, I can find rescue.

Rescue. Being a word person I hopped on over to Webster to check that out. Rescue means set free from evil or harm. Delivered. Liberated. Legally, it means to be removed forcibly from someone's custody.

I need to be rescued. From me. From my tendency to forget God's laws and fall into a willfully critical spirit. From the custody of the flesh.

So what are God's laws? Hey, I'm no theologian, but I think Luke 10:26-28 is pretty clear, specifically where it says: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Do that, Christ tells us, and you will live.

Okay, my still somewhat irritated mind says, so how does one do that? (Mind you, I don't ask because I don't know, but because I need to be reminded. Again.) So over to 1 Corinthians 13, and I wrote out Karen's version of the Love list:
  • Be patient
  • Be kind
  • Don't be jealous or boastful, proud or rude
  • Don't demand your own way. (Ouch!)
  • Don't be irritable. (Double ouch!!)
  • Don't keep a record of wrongs (Okay, fine...I've blown this big time lately...)
  • Rejoice in the truth's victories, not in in justice.
  • Never give up! (So much for thinking weariness or day after day of dealing with the same issues excuses my wrong responses...)
  • Never lose faith! (I didn't lose it. Not really. Just kind of got my focus off of it for awhile...Dope.)
  • Always be full of hope (Always. Not when everything's going well, but always.)
  • Always endure about your tall orders. And it's not like this is an option. Loving God's way isn't an option. So as I read the list over, I had to admit there was just one question.

Will I choose to obey?

If I do, RESCUE! Not because I've earned it, but because living God's way has consequences: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And not living God's way? Not loving His way?

Oh, yeah. Consequences galore. I should know, I've been experiencing a number of them lately. Frustration. Irritability. Self-f0cus. Self-pity. Self-righteousness. Self, self, selfselfselfself.

Bleah. These consequences I can do without.

So what now? I choose. For this day, in this moment, I choose to obey. And to help myself to that, because I know my steel sponge of a mind and my oh-so-stubborn self, I've printed out the love list above and stuck it to my computer. And a kitchen cupboard. And my bathroom mirror. Even in my car. (Make that especially in my car!) To remind my heart, mind, and soul that there's a better way to live and love.

All I have to do is choose.


Nicole said...

As always, Karen, your honesty is much appreciated. Those of us who've been there, done that, know how it can be. Either we're playing the victim and carrying out our self-imposed silence, or we're realizing we went ahead and pushed those "Do Not Touch" buttons belonging to our loved one. Ah, yes, we did indeed.

And because God loves us, He shows us how this all could've been avoided if we hadn't insisted on making our intentions known--as if they were really necessary to begin with.

Respect him, he'll love me. Ah, geez. Could it be any simpler?

I get it. I just don't always do it right. You know?

Rel said...

Mmmmm.....thanks :) Your words are always a blessing especially the ones after God has led you through the bad stuff!!! Sorry about that but is helps me to know I am not alone in my frustrations!