This word, inconvenience, describes a reaction I naturally give to my immediate family. I am annoyed. They give me trouble, and I let them know. And I have come to despise my own reaction.
My trouble with responding to others is life-long, but for many years I was not even aware that I was responding in a negative way. My husband was first to point it out to me, to which I could not agree. He challenged me with the idea that I spoke differently to him than I did to others, and not in a nice way. Moi?
After Christ became Lord of my life, He confirmed what my husband had been telling me. I do speak differently to those closest to me. I guess I felt that they should know me well enough not to bother me with idiotic things, and, duh, isn’t the answer obvious?
My desire to change my tone of voice has been the greatest battle I have ever faced. Over the years, it has gotten so much better. God has truly softened my heart and tongue and made them both pliable for His use, but my natural reaction is so ingrained that it still rears its ugly head.
God has given me a meter to monitor my verbal attitude. This meter comes in the form of a girl and boy who happen to live under the same roof, my children. My daughter takes my verbal abuse without blinking, no response. See, my words aren’t really affecting anyone…but then I hear her speaking to her brother in the EXACT same way. She has learned which battles she can win.
My son, on the other hand, does not spread the reaction, but holds it deep within his heart. He views my words as rejection. If I speak to him in that manner, then I really, deep down inside, must not love him. He is an inconvenience.
Our Keepers of the Faith group has been studying Meekness as a character quality this year. Through this study I have realized that I am not meek, and this is the core issue of my problem.
According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
MEE’KNESS, n. Softness of temper; mildness; gentleness; forbearance under injuries and provocations.
1. In an evangelical sense, humility; resignation; submission to the divine will, without murmuring or peevishness; opposed to pride, arrogance and refractoriness. Gal 5.
I beseech you by the meekness of Christ. 1 Cor 10.
Meekness is a grace which Jesus alone inculcated, and which no ancient philosopher seems to have understood or recommended.
So God is taking me on a journey to learn meekness. I have found that the only times I can truly be meek is when I am not trying to be. Outwardly I can appear meek for a time, but the heart issue always reveals itself. Meekness comes from having a heart after God, from humility, from a desire to always put the other person first. Sadly, I don’t always feel this way.
Once again I am learning that my reactions should never be based on how I “feel,” but rather on truth. The truth is that I am an unworthy recipient of neverending grace, that even though my heart elevates itself, my true place is prostrate at the feet of Jesus. Only when my heart is there am I meek.
While it is extremely sad that my children have learned my horrible reaction of inconvenience (and that my husband has had to endure it for so long), they also get to journey with me as we learn meekness together. They’ve experienced and tasted of both reacting in inconvenience and meekness. I’m praying that as they reach adulthood, the one that sticks will be meekness.