I've never felt like I was the sort of girl people would describe as gentle.
I'm not an animal lover. I don't tend a garden. Growing up, I preferred camping over ballet and took weight lifting when my friends were taking home economics.
I didn't start wearing pink until my fifth child was born and rarely wore a dress or skirt until I was almost 28 years old. Maybe you don't use any of these things to describe someone who is gentle---but they're things that I've always associated with the trait. At any rate, the feminine side of me was slow to emerge and the consistently kind and gentle side is just now beginning to show itself.
Each January, many of my friends share their word for the year and talk about why they've chosen that particular thing to focus on. I've never done that either. (Well, I guess one year I did say I was going to start saying NO to everything. It's been my word for every year, ever since.)
I think I will choose a word this year. I think I'll choose, gentle. What I'm finding is that gentleness has little to do with the outward appearance traits that I described above---and everything to do with the heart.
It's funny---when I'm walking closely with God and he wants to do something new in me, he makes it really clear. I find similar themes cropping up in various areas of my life and pretty soon they all culminate in a big, a ha!! moment for me and I realize it's God.
The last few weeks, I've found myself seeking a gentler path in so many ways...
- Gentle Reading: I read Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss in January and just finished Mary Froehlich's Courageous Gentleness. I'm finding myself hungering for books that are going to nurture my soul and encourage me in my walk as a wife, mother, and homemaker. I've started hashtagging these #gentlereading on my social media. I'm hoping others will do the same so I can get more ideas for great reads!
- Gentle Speech: I've always sort of prided myself on my ability to make a joke in a split second. I've got a pop culture reference for just about anything anyone says and tend to be a social media show off when it comes to debating hot topics. I struggle between congratulating myself for my wit and condemning myself for the way I make some people feel. I do not like this part of me anymore. I'm trying to clean up my act and remember Proverbs 31:26--"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."
- Gentle to My Body: I've dealt with a lot of self-loathing as I've done the yo-yo diet thing for far too long. Lately, I've focused more on what I put in my body, rather than what I'm avoiding. I'm choosing natural and fermented foods, drinking healing herbal tea, taking good quality vitamins and supplements for those my body is lacking in, and cutting back on sugar. I feel peaceful and positive---which is way more motivating than putting myself through the daily guilt like before.
- Gentle to My Soul: I want to focus on positive self-talk. Speaking kind words to myself and others. Seeing the positive side of things and believing in myself more. Allowing myself times of rest and peace.
- Gentle in Homeschooling: Since moving to Arkansas, we've been able to relax quite a bit as there's not nearly the constraints on our rights as there were in Oregon. I want to continue on that path---letting go of crazy expectations and allowing God to mold our homeschool into the unique-to-us thing he wants it to be. I want more kids-on-lap reading time, more wonderful discovery time.
- Gentle in My Treatment of Others: Assuming the best, ignoring the rest. Walking away from conflict instead of getting sucked in. Realizing I can't "fix people" and doing my best to be an example of Christ in my words and actions.
I'm excited about the work of bold gentleness that God is doing in my heart and I'm looking forward to sharing more with you all about that.
Thanks for stopping by the Homemaking Party! Have a beautiful week!