Monday, February 7, 2011

Be Kind - Even When You Don't Feel Like It

At a time of the month when kindness tries to evade me, I find myself thinking of it often.  "How can I be so kind most weeks and then for nearly two weeks straight be a complete basket case full of sweat, tears, and rage?" I've often wondered.  I debated on whether or not it was appropriate to incorporate the premenstrual syndrome aspect of things into a Christian blog, but as you've read you see that I ultimately opted for honesty rather than your own personal comfort while you read.  I'm sorry if you're now squirming before your monitor, but please don't close out the window just yet.  If you've ever watched television, then you're no stranger to the commercials testifying about the genuine nature of premenstrual syndrome.  Moreover, if you're a man and have ever been in a relationship with a woman then you know firsthand how real it is.  Well, in my own case, it has been quite severe for as long as I can remember - so severe that in the past I even ended relationships once a month only to beg for forgiveness and resume them two weeks later.  I went through this little cycle of back and forth romance for years.  It went from "I don't like you and want to break up now" to "Please forgive me, I love you so much."  Can you believe that things don't work like this once you're married? 

This all comes to the surface of my mind at a time when I'm trying desperately to be kind when I don't feel like it.  High school and college relationships weren't the only ones to witness my range of personalities; My marriage also has not escaped the wrath of my hormonal fluctuations each month.  My husband, Sam, and I have gone through so much together in just the short five and a half years we've been together, some of which has been good and some of which has been bad.  The "good" has always been really good, but the "bad" used to be really bad - especially when I had P.M.S. 

Well, sometime in 2010 I started praying to God about my monthly transformation into the wild witch of the west.  "God, I can't live like this anymore.  Help!" I might have said.  I used to pray for Him to just fix Sam, but as weeks and months went on I noticed that Sam never changed. "Fine!  God, change me if you wont change him" I finally started saying in my prayers.  Well, that's all He was waiting for - and He got to work.  It's funny because when we ask God to change us into who He wants us to be, we don't immediately see the changes, but those around us do. I can confidently say on Sam's behalf - God has and still is answering my prayers.  Though I'm not entirely free from the clutches of intense mood swings and upside down hormonal fits, I'm far removed from where I once was, and with each passing month the storm dies down just a little bit more.

See, when we start asking God to change us, He does - but it's usually painful.  For instance, take yesterday's Super Bowl game.  I really had only a minimal interest in watching the game and before the first quarter was over, I was bored and ready to move on. "Ash, let's go ride our bikes," I said to our son, and so we did.  Well, all day Sam and I had discussed having popcorn during the game.  Popcorn for our family is a special thing.  I can't explain it, but it's just something that brings the three of us together regardless of what's on TV or what's going on outside.  We always eat it together, and you'll see in a minute why those words are in italicsAfter our bike ride, Ash and I came in and suggested popcorn.  Sam got up to make it and I was led to believe we were all three about to enjoy our family popcorn time.  Sam finished making ours and then headed back to his seat in front of the TV.  "What are you doing?  Where's yours?" I asked him.  "Oh, I'm not going to have any.  I'm full" he replied.  My little head almost popped right off with the kernals of corn in my bowl.  Immediately I began brewing up a conspiracy theory.  "He wants me to get fat without him," I thought as anger rised within me.  (Please keep in mind that I am not usually like this when hormones are in check) Anyway, I sat across from him on the other couch and just glared at him until he felt the burn from my gaze.  As he turned slowly towards me and asked "what?" I angrily replied with "you know what!  You are so rude for letting me think you were going to eat popcorn and then not eating it with us.  What - are you mad because we went and got exercise without you on our bikes?"  I coldy scolded.  "What are you talking about!" he asked with a shocked look and knowing smile on his face.  It occurred to me that he may very well not have a clue why I was angry, but I let my anger continue talking - at least for a minute or two. 

After I berated him a few minutes more, I sat back and finally acknowledged the conviction I already felt in my spirit.  "Do I really want to act like this?  Do I really want to speak things in anger to the man who just stopped everything he was doing to make me popcorn at my first suggestion?" I silently questioned.  I didn't.  I knew God was bringing correction into my behavior and after a couple more minutes of silence I decided to just really confuse Sam.......... "I love you," I said.  As his head turned to meet my stare, a smile spread across his lips and he let out a laugh from the depths of his belly. "I love you too," he said in return.   

The point is - I didn't necessarily feel like being kind at that moment.  I was still pretty undone about being the only one to consume empty calories, but a long time ago when I asked God how to overcome my problems, He gave me some advice - start being what you want to be.  In other words, don't just talk about being kind - be kind.  Don't just think about giving someone a hug - give them a hug.  Don't just talk about walking in love - really walk in love.  To be what we desire requires movement.  In other words, put action into your life and give action to your words and thoughts.  Dont just say you want to love your neighbor; really love them.  Don't just say you're going to stop telling lies; really stop and be honest!  Don't just think about being kind to everyone you meet; really be kind.  It's not as easy as it might sound because our flesh screams out for the exact opposite of what our spirit is telling us to do, but doing the right thing when we don't feel like it isn't just painful; more importantly, it's how we grow. We don't just wake up one day and decide to be kind every day for the rest of our life.  The decision is a good start, but it takes action to make it happen.  If, for 10 years, you make yourself show kindness to people whether they deserve it or not and whether your feel like it or not, you'll probably find that it's no longer hard.  Suddenly, you've become a kind person just from being kind.  It takes practice, repetition, and determination, but if you look outside of yourself and up to God, success is yours for the taking!  You can be whatever you want to be! 


  1. This is hilarious! I love it!

  2. Thanks for the comment because it took me back in time to that day! I can only imagine what it has been like for Sam during my little "spells" :) He has gotten pretty good at actually making me laugh in the middle of a raging fit, but wow, what a mess of a time he spent learning how! :)