After coming back from a fun and relaxing weekend with my family, I’ve realized a characteristic of myself that isn’t exactly something I take pride in: I get caught up in the little things. Have you ever looked back on a situation and wished you handled it differently? Have you wished you had a better grasp on the bigger picture when you were in that moment? I’ve done that a lot recently, and no one helps me see that better than my all-too-honest sisters. (Thanks, girls).
I’m one of four girls. That means that in our household, emotions run high and even though we love and respect each other deep down, that doesn’t always show in our everyday interactions with one another. My sisters and I all know how to push each other’s buttons; we know how to silently manipulate an argument without bringing fault upon ourselves, and we’ve become experts at teaming up on each other. Anyone with siblings probably knows what I’m talking about- and when we yell at each other and storm out of the room only to come back 10 minutes later ready to make peace, it may be the greatest representation of unconditional love there is. If anyone else even accidentally hurt one of my sisters’ feelings, I would be out for them in no time, because I love all of them even more than I can explain and I never want to see them feel belittled. But, oddly enough, I may be their number one source of hurt feelings… and I would argue that it’s because I get caught up in the little things.
When I’m mad at my sisters, I’m not thinking about how much they do for me or how much they respect me- I’m thinking about that very moment that they’ve pushed me over the edge and sparked yet another petty argument. This weekend, my sister and I got in multiple arguments over which one of us could use the car, because she just recently got her license and I’m having a pretty difficult time adjusting to the idea that my precious car is being used by another person… and even though I have to be honest and say that as I sit here right now, it stings a little to think that she’s driving my car around at home, let’s be real- it doesn’t matter. Because if it ever came down to whether I wanted my sister or my car in my life, I would choose my sister every time- and not because I know my mom reads this blog and she would kill me if I said otherwise- but because when I step back and look at the bigger picture, sharing a car doesn’t matter. Having a car doesn’t even matter when I compare it to having my sister in my life.
The more I think about this, the more I try to figure out what exactly it is that keeps us from just surrendering. I mean, I never let my sister use the car this weekend- I just drove her around everywhere because God forbid I not have immediate access to my car if I needed it… and that wasn’t the only petty argument I got into this weekend. My mom always says that it only takes a few hours for me to be home before I can fall right back into the routine arguments with my sisters- and while our house is far from a parade of discord and chaos every second, it does say something about my lack of realizing what’s actually important in life. What keeps me from surrendering in the moment? It’s not that I don’t know what I’m doing. It has something to do with wanting instant gratification, but I don’t think that’s solely to blame.
Above all, it comes down to my selfish motives. Because in the heat of the moment, what I want for myself is more important than what my sister wants. It’s more important than what is best for other people. It’s more important than setting an example. It’s more important than the feeling of guilt that will shortly follow. It’s a bitter reality- many of us hold our wants and needs in highest regard, no matter who else is involved.
Building on that, a lot of times our needs and desires are even more important than what God wants. I used to tell myself that if God wanted me to do something, He would make it so that I felt compelled to make the good choices in life. But let’s be honest- sometimes (actually, most of the time) the hardest decisions we ever have to make end up being the best decisions in life. It’s not always about doing what’s easy or what we want, because there are things much more important than our own self-interests.
Obviously, living for greater interests than our own is something that has to be sought after every day for us to truly live that way. It’s not easy to do so, because it goes against just about every human instinct we have to pursue our own selfish motives. I wish my writing about this instantly made me realize how selfish I am, but I’ll probably do a 1000 more things just today that involves putting myself before others. But, it’s definitely something to strive for. I’ve found that the more I long to become the person that God created me to be, the easier it is to pursue His plans instead of my own. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll just give my sister the car… That sure would take an act of God. :)
Have a great week!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28