It’s easy to “turn it on” — to be kind to everybody else.
I find myself examining that reality. After a Sunday spent sharing consistently genuine smiles with so many after church, I may come home and wonder why “turning it on” with those that I love can seem so arduous at times.
I mean – it’s not like I don’t love my family — I do. They mean the world to me.
But still, sometimes smiling when I feel like scowling is a challenge. Offering a kind response in lieu of a lash of the tongue can be so much harder than what it seems it should be.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
Where you love hard, you feel fully.
Where you relax the most can be the place you feel the most exposed.
Where you open your heart and your hand, you are in a position to receive something a little heavier than what you meant to carry.
Home is hard work, people.
Home is heart work.
Home is where the rubber meets the road.
It is the place where it is the most important to practice the disciplines that seem so effortless elsewhere.
It is the place where the people we love the most can try us the most because we give them the most.
It is the place where we desire to let down our hair, but in doing so we are then laid bare to those who know us the best.
It is the place where we want to give our best but sometimes realize that those under our roof still. need. more.
And we are tempted to respond to the trying, the unmasking, or the taxing with less kindness because we are just a little worn down.
But we love them.
And because we love them, sometimes we have to remind ourselves about how our words or acts of kindness can tell the story of our heart even when our flesh would want to do or say otherwise.
So we speak gracious words because they can be “sweet to the soul and health to the body” of the hearer (Proverbs 16:24).
While our flesh would want to yell, argue, or “get-them-back,” we remember that a “soft answer turns away wrath…” (Proverbs 15:1).
When we would be tempted to list the litany of things that are wrong, we instead use words “that are good for building up… to give grace to those that hear…” (Ephesians 4:29).
So today, when you might find yourself tempted to be a little short, a little “to-the-point,” or a bit graceless, remember that the people under your roof are the best people to whom you give your best.
Remember that those within the reach of your voice are in need of your encouragement, graciousness, and smiles.
And if you have a day or two where you didn’t do so hot, know that it’s never too late to start being the kind of person that you want your family to remember.
Smile at your peeps.
Speak kind words.
Do kind deeds.
Love God. Love others.
But especially show love to those “others” who live down the hall.
“Turning it on” with those people – your people – is worth your effort. Because home is where your heart, your words, and your actions matter most.
So be kind. Show love. Give greatly.
Turn it on.