Several years ago I realized something about myself–something that shook me to my core.
I realized that I didn’t extend the same level of kindness and grace and self-control with my dear little family as I did with friends, and acquaintances, and sadly, even, strangers.
It wasn’t that I was a monster (or anything remotely like that) with my family. It’s just that I was really nice to these other people–really gracious and accommodating. If I was hungry, and grumpy, and exhausted, I always, always hid how I felt. I “went the extra mile”.
With these “other people”, if someone said something rude or hurtful or careless, I did my best to ignore the offense–to forgive when necessary. But when my husband had a weak moment (like we all do, from time-to-time!), I was far less likely to extend grace, to defuse the situation with my response.
And interruptions. I embraced them more graciously with those I loved less. (Ironically, I have had several, already, while writing this post. Thankfully, now, I am learning to love and embrace these moments my family has something to share or needs me. To see them as blessings.)
It’s sobering to realize that you have been less loving in your behavior towards those you love the most–to the people dearest to you in all the world.
To realize that the person you are behind closed doors is the person you really, truly are. And while you may not be a monster, and you do love your family and they know that, that there is room for some improvement, some change, some repentance.
So these days, with God’s help, I am trying to be the same person at home with my sweet family as I would be in public with friends, and acquaintances, and strangers. To extend the same kind of grace.
To dig into love–the true kind of love that calls me to practice patience, kindness, and self-control–even when no one is looking.
P.S. It’s so funny! I just have to say that while writing this post my husband started three conversations, my youngest sat on my lap twice and then brought me a coloring page two different times to look at, and my oldest daughter came to ask me three different questions. All opportunities to love on my family!