Love: Emotion or Choice

Love: Emotion or Choice

Love is something all of us crave in some way, shape, or form. There have been events that have occurred in our lives where many of us have closed our hearts from receiving or giving love to protect ourselves from being hurt again.

Too often, people in our lives who were meant to teach us how to love by extending love to us sadly have failed in that department. Typically this starts in one of the most basic relationships we have, and that’s in the family, namely with our parents. If we could be honest, some of our parents lacked affection, rarely said they loved us or loved us with conditions while saying their love was unconditional. 

Really, what were we to do with that?!!

How were we supposed to learn how to effectively love when we never had a real example of what love looked like? 

 

As a millennial mom, I’ve realized that there are some things surrounding love that our parents had to try and figure out when they navigated parenthood. Unfortunately, many of the broken ways of the previous generation influenced how they moved when parenting us. As a mom, I’ve tried to be very intentional about how I parent, and that includes taking a self-inspection of how I teach, influence, and love on my children.

 

Have any of you noticed any mannerisms of your parents that you exhibit when parenting? Are they harmful or helpful? Do you act consciously or unconsciously?

 

Sometimes we do what they’ve done and don’t even notice. 

 

One of the most important things I wanted to do is show my children in terms of love is that love is not a feeling; it is a choice. Even when you do not feel like the other person deserves your love, you can still make a CHOICE to love them well. I wanted them also to understand that love, too, is not harmful. When people do things like hurt you but turn around and say that they love you, to know that that is not true love. What they’ve experienced is an emotional response to whatever that person’s trigger was.

 

 It’s important to teach our children the difference between love and emotion. Emotion is a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. In contrast, love is a bit more layered. Not all love is created equal. 

 

Some love is brotherly. 

Some romantic.

Some unconditional.

Some natural/familial.

The type of love we have toward our family is storge, which is a deep caring natural bond that we should walk in with our loved ones. This kind of love is protective, loyal, and can withstand many trials. However, the type of love we all should strive to walk in is agape. This form of love is the highest, being that it is sacrificial. It isn’t predicated on whether or not the other person loves you in return; it is everlasting.

 

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 TPT:

4 Love is large and incredibly patient.[f] Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous[g] when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. 5 Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated[h] or quick to take offense.[i] 6 Love joyfully celebrates honesty[j] and finds no delight in what is wrong.[k] 7 Love is a safe place of shelter,[l] for it never stops believing the best for others.[m] Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. 8 Love never stops loving.[n] It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away.[o] It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten.

 

In my personal experience, I’ve found that although this form of love can be tough to walk in, it was much easier to do with my ex-husband than with my children. In “When the Bridge Breaks: Sacrificing a Perverted Promise,” I write about having to sacrifice a perverted form of love that I had settled for while learning and walking in agape love. Since my children were watching me walk out what love should look like, the Lord had me to dig deep in my relationship with them.

Why could I only show love and affection toward them to a certain extent and then shut down? Where was my patience in dealing with their wants, needs, brokenness, or pain? My parents. The answer partially lied in the relationship between my parents and me. How they were able to extend love to me shaped how I loved on my children. Also, it is interesting to note that our children are a lot like us! When you’re faced with parenting versions of yourself, it can be quite difficult considering all you want your children to do is respond how you feel you’d react in a situation. 

Crazy right?!

Often I have to go back to the basics, and that is looking at how Jesus loves. 

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The way God loves us is the most excellent example of what true love should indeed look like. There was never a thing we had to do to earn His love. He knows everything about us from the womb to our death and still loves us no matter what. We have the freedom just to be, which enables us to extend that same type of love for others. 

 

So I admonish you all to look at yourselves and inspect how you love your children and others. Is there anything from your childhood that has shaped how you love now? Is there anything you can change today to love better tomorrow? If so, do it, and I pray you have the strength to do so.

Unplug and Plug into Something Greater

Unplug and Plug into Something Greater

There has been so much that has happened in 2020. Here we are at the end of the year, reflecting on what has happened and what will happen in the future. Honestly, the Lord has me walking into so much new that I don’t know what to think. If walking by faith and not by sight were a person, they would look like me right now. Just thinking about it has me in awe at how intentional God truly is. In these past two months, I feel like God has been testing my obedience. Not in a small way, either. The children went to visit their dad. I traveled and spoke at my first conference, AAAAND God literally walked me through step by step in delivering a baby. An entire human being!! It was so wild but so rewarding! As exciting as all these events were (which I will fill you in later in other blog posts), I found myself extremely tired and overwhelmed. I planned to go full speed ahead in my business, but God had other plans. He wanted me to rest and focus on myself. I promise you that I did not know what to do with myself for about the first two weeks of being home alone.

Okay, so time to get transparent!! One of the biggest things I struggle with as a mom is SELF-CARE. Taking care of myself is not typically what’s at the forefront of my mind.

 Who else would do all the things that needed attention around the house while tending to the kids if I did?! 

Frankly, that’s the kind of stinkin thinking that I used to operate in until God had to highlight to me that HE DESIRES FOR ME TO REST. He desires for us to take care of ourselves.

In this season of my parenting career lol (seriously though mothering is a full-time job), I realized that I needed to take time for myself so that I didn’t fall apart! There would be no way to be my best self unless I learned to take time for myself. I believe God truly wanted me to receive that memo, so off to dad’s house did the kids go! 

It’s still a daily struggle, but I see that small things make a considerable difference little by little. One thing that I have committed to doing as a part of my self-care routine is making sure my hair gets done. Is it time-consuming to do it myself? Sometimes, especially having to stop to take care of the kids. However, simple protective styles take less time for me to do, and they last a while! Something as simple as doing my hair made me feel good and reduced my stress. Imagine looking at yourself in the mirror with this constant visual reminder of what feels like a weight of responsibility.

When was the last time you intentionally took time for yourself?

How good will you be to anyone, including your family, if you don’t practice self-care?!

Transparent moment. I’ve been overwhelmed to the point of not wanting to take care of myself. After doing everything else, I would unplug, and that’s it. It didn’t help because I would become frustrated when I had to switch modes and begin doing again. Unplugging can’t just be where we stop.

Godly self-care means unplugging but plugging back into something bigger.

Jesus is our most excellent example of how to live. He was constantly on the move but what He was intentional about was rest. Specifically, rest in the presence of His Father. He would often steal away and retreat to commune with His Dad. That’s where He was refreshed and filled.

So while you can engage in one simple task to establish a self-care routine, make sure you don’t neglect your relationship that rejuvenates and refreshes your soul. About 10-15 minutes a day(maybe less) is all you need to challenge yourself to be a better you!

Let’s dig into the list below and commit to doing at least one a day.

What is self-care?

Self- care is when you take an active role in your health by changing behavior and thoughts to contribute to your well being. Not only that, but True self-care means casting our anxieties on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

What self-care is not:

Time-consuming

Self-indulgent

Selfish

A one-time thing

If you’re constantly drained, snapping at the children, or very forgetful, then self-care may be precisely what you need.

  1. Write affirmations. One of the best things you can do is make declarations primarily rooted in the Word of God and speak them over yourself every day. Doing this increases your faith as well as builds you up as a person. 

Here are some to start:

  • I am calm. (Philippians 4:6)
  • I am beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
  • I am blessed. (Ephesians 1:3)
  • I am filled with joy. (John 17:13)

Who wouldn’t want a daily reminder that they are loved every day?

  1. Get moving! Exercise 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-HGAYSuOdY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvrcgZ25MWw

  1. Dance Party! This one is self-care, but you can also do it with the kids if you want! Throw on some music and dance to your heart’s desire.
  2. Read. Reading keeps your brain active and increases mental stimulation. Reading Recommendation: When the Bridge Breaks: Sacrificing A Perverted Promise
  3. Go to bed earlier. I’ve found that going to bed earlier has added time to my day. The earlier you sleep, you may wake up earlier, giving you more alone time to take care of yourself without little ones running under you.
  4. Do NOTHING. Instead of trying to complete your super long to-do list, don’t. Unless it’s dire, those things will still be there tomorrow. Take some time to decompress mentally.
  5. Journal. Journaling allows you to pour out your heart and organize your thoughts on paper. Journaling can also strengthen your relationship with God because it’s a way to settle yourself quietly to hear His voice.
  6. Pamper Yourself. Pampering yourself doesn’t have to be grandiose. Try that new nail polish you’ve been eyeing. Give yourself a facial, or do your hair. Just tweaking your appearance will give you whole new confidence!
  7. Unplug. Try putting your phone on, do not disturb. Take care of yourself by guarding your mental health, or spend some quiet time with the children watching a show.
  8. Call a friend. Catch up with a good friend. Reach out because sometimes it feels good just being able to open up to someone about how you’re feeling.

As all of these are great Godly self-care means unplugging but plugging back into something bigger.