Almost everyone agrees that becoming more loving is good, but how do we put that into action? That’s what virtue is all about.
One way to be more loving is to be more humble, which can mean….insisting less on our own way.
Our preferences can be points of conflict—for no good reason. They are points where we can choose peace over contradiction and choose generosity over selfishness. And humility over pride.
Sometimes giving up a little can mean a lot. Like watching a movie the family wants instead of the one we had our heart set on; having fish for dinner for our spouse’s sake when we really feel like beef.
It’s the little things that we harmlessly give up for love of others that pump up our virtue muscles. Being “other directed” is the only way to true joy—one of the paradoxes of the spiritual life. Mother Teresa wrote, “A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves. Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness.”
My husband and I watch TV while we’re eating dinner. He likes to switch channels in the middle of a show. That’s my cue to thank God for a wonderful husband, a good meal, and for giving me a chance to love in a way that hurts a little. And it makes me more aware of when my husband is keeping silent about his preferences so that I can have my way. It’s easier to give up what I want if I remember to be grateful for what I have.
Being more aware of our preferences and insisting on them less is something we can do at home, at work, or in line at the grocery. Letting go of some of our preferences helps us see the big picture of God’s love more clearly and leads to a wonderful freedom.
Think of a time when you put your preferences on hold — then, scroll down and let us know how you allowed humility to win the day.
As a new widow, I suddenly get to watch whatever I want on TV whenever I want, get to flail around in the king size bed without disturbing my husband, get to fix only the foods I like. But in a heartbeat I’d go back to the old sharing way. Now I must look for new ways to be humble and giving. Rose, your words are priceless and if you don’t already know, you are a very gifted writer. Keep it real and down to earth and continue to share bits of your own life because that’s what we your loyal readers want to learn.
Coming from a writer with fans all over the world, your lovely comment makes my day. I see your beaming smile on social media, showing me that in your every-moment missing of your dear Jack, your eyes are fixed on Jesus, who makes all things new.
Rose, I identify so much with your comment about TV watching during dinner!My husband does the same and I too bite my tongue knowing he gives so much more than he takes! Thank you for reminding me to stay humble and count my blessings!
Thanks, Rebecca! Gratitude is the cure for just about everything, isn’t it? :)
To quote your commentary, Rose:
“And it makes me more aware of when my husband is keeping silent about his preferences so that I can have my way.”
That’s about as powerful and mature an observation I could make about another person: seeing something that person DOESN’T do as an act of deference and consideration to me. I must admit I don’t think of this possibility often enough and that’s the product of bias on my part. Usually it is because It fits the case I’ve already built against this person. In that frame of mind I could misinterpret his/her quiet consideration as stony silence; what a miscalculation! What a loss!
True enough. Luckily, the case I’ve built for my husband is one of generosity and sacrifice for my happiness, so it’s easy to assume the best. That’s a great subject: how the case we have built for or against someone colors our response to their actions. I feel a blog post coming on!