I felt particularly challenged last year by a friend who said she had determined to live generously no matter what. Even if she was never thanked, even if she was taken advantage of, even if no one ever saw. She chose generosity as a core value of her life, bottom line.
I ponder this often.
At the blackest spaces of my soul I am selfish, I am weak, I choose myself and my demands before anyone and anything else.
But what would my life and relationships look like if I fully and consistently committed to my proclaimed core values, the principles of this Jesus I claim to follow?
...to be loyal to and champion my friends no matter what (they do or don’t do in return).
...to love, serve and care for Jonathan before myself no matter what (he does or doesn’t do to deserve it).
...to only speak kindly of others no matter what (they have done to hurt me).
...to work hard, without complaints, and with excellence no matter what (even when I’m just plain tired).
...to live generously no matter what (even when we feel the tightness of our own budget).
...to choose positivity no matter what (even when the day has been black).
...to choose love and forgiveness no matter what (even for those who stab us in the back).
...to choose the higher road no matter what (even though it hurts like hell, hell, hell).
To be honest, I love the music of these words, the idea of these virtues woven into my everyday, the beauty of such grace. But the reality of this is just plain hard. This I know.
But I am committed to trying, to carving these tenets upon my heart and letting them bleed throughout my life.
I saw this sign the other day while I was walking through the small town of Winona Lake, Indiana-
...to accept love is to accept the vow to give it.
...to accept grace is to accept the vow to give it.
Freely you have received, freely give.
Alright then- let's get going.