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.