Hello, Mini-Women! I just had the coolest idea for our series on getting along with family members. From your comments, I can tell that it's not just me who thinks the people we love the most can be the hardest to deal with sometimes. We've got brothers who bring us to tears and reduce us to screaming and pushing (that couldn't possibly be OUR fault, right?) and do gross disgusting things our parents think are cute. (Are they blind?) We have a major lack of privacy and time alone with parents because of those OTHER kids in the house. We even have parents who are under so much pressure they don't seem like the same mom and dad any more. And that's just the immediate family. What about those violent cousins?
Sure we have times when only family will do -- like when FAITH GIRL's whole family was sick for a week and they played a game where who ever threw up the most and had the highest temperature won. I mean, seriously, only family could do that!
But sometimes it's just so hard, mostly for two reasons.
One, because we do love our parents and siblings (no, really, we do) and when they do things we see as clueless or ridiculous or just plain wrong, it MATTERS more than it does when other people do it. Make sense?
And, two, because we spend SO much time with them. It's sort of like when your BFF spends the weekend with you and you're together twenty-four seven (literally) and by the end of the visit you're like, "Could she go home now? I need some alone time!" Only your brothers sisters can't just go home because, uh, they ARE home!
So does that mean we just put up with it and meanwhile let all our resentments build up until we ARE punching and screaming or just wishing everybody would go away? Actually no, because -- and this is a biggie -- Jesus says we don't get to do that. He gives us some pretty specific directions about stuff like this in the Gospel, so we can't exactly ignore them. If they were just suggestions, that would be one thing, but since they aren't, it looks like we'd better get on it.
Besides, if Jesus has the answer to making things better at home, why keep using our OWN answer and continuing with the screaming and the punching and the silent treatment?
So I'm thinking we'll have a series of mini-posts over the next week or two in which we look really quickly at some of the things Jesus says about loving even the people who make us nuts. Each time I'll give you a snippet and talk about it a little and suggest something for you to try, based on that. I'll invite you to comment, as always, and then I'll be back with another piece of Jesus-advice. Who knows, there might even be a contest buried in there somewhere.
Let's start, then, with the "blessed ares" (Matthew 5:3-11), known as The Beatitudes. It's very cool how they apply to family relationships. Some of them, like "Blessed are those who mourn" aren't as obvious, although I'm sure you've had times when you've mourned the situation you're in! But others are absolutely right on.
Today's? "Blessed are the meek." Now before you get all freaked out and say, "I can't be meek or my brothers and sisters will walk all over me like the bathroom rug!" , hear me out.
Meek doesn't mean you're a door mat. It doesn't mean you don't stand up for yourself when somebody is unfair to you. Jesus is talking about the people who because of the life they have to live right now, aren't the ones calling the shots and making the decisions. Doesn't that sound like you? You might argue with your parents until they threaten to ground you for life, but they still have the final say, which makes you pretty much the meek one. When Jesus says, "Blessed are the meek", he's saying, "The people who don't have a lot of control over their lives are still filled with my Holy Spirit ("blessed" means "indwelt with the spirit") Just because you don't get to say how late you stay up or you have to sit in the back seat because your sister has seniority, that doesn't mean you aren't important in God's eyes. That can really help a lot when you feel like, "For Pete's sake, would somebody pay attention to me!" I have many adult friends who really established their relationship with God when they were misunderstood kids.
The other thing to keep in mind about the whole "meek" thing is that the younger kids in your family are even meeker than you. Makes it kind of easy to pick on them, boss them around, wish they would leave you alone, wish you didn't have to entertain them when your parents are busy. But they, too, are "blessed". It's a lot harder to yell, "Get OUT of my ROOM!" when you remember that that little kid who's trying to make off with your journal is a special person to God.
So what do you do with that? I have a few suggestions:
* Tell yourself every day that even though the older (or louder!) people in your family don't always understand you or have enough time for you, you are still important to God. You still have the power to be exactly who you are inside. For example, you might not be allowed to stay up late, but nobody can keep you from talking to God after the lights are out, or sorting through the ideas that pop into your head, or planning out more ways to express the real you
* For Pete's sake, don't spend time feeling sorry for yourself or whining because nobody gets you or your family doesn't pay enough attention to you. Maybe that's true sometimes, but I'd be willing to bet it isn't true ALL the time. The blessed meek person looks for the good stuff and appreciates it when it's there. The blessed meek person says, 'Mom, when you have a minute, could we just hang out and talk?' The blessed meek person thinks, 'Y'know, there might be somebody who needs something more than I do right now.'
* Treat the meeker ones in your family the way YOU want to be treated, no matter how much they irritate you. Ever consider the fact that sometimes they behave like they do because they want somebody to notice them? Couldn't that somebody be you?
Jesus says that the meek shall inherit the earth. That does NOT mean somebody's going to leave you an island in their will (although how cool would that be?) I think he means that a whole new world is yours when you accept your meekness and know God loves you in a way God doesn't love anybody else (not more, mind you -- just unique to you).
If you'd like to comment in the next few days, tell us:
* who is the meekest person in your family?
* what is one good thing about being a meek one at your house?
* what's one way you could treat an even meeker family member like they are blessed?
* how does the world feel different when you do that?
Lots to think about! Guinness and Geneveve will be hearing your comments as I read them out loud to them. They are, after all, brother and sister . . .