Leading with love

Sunday, February 11, 2018

As I pondered the ďWhat do I write about this week?Ē question this morning, I was trying to think of something different. It dawned upon me recently that I have been writing this column now, with exception of a couple breaks once or twice, for 10 years.

Ten years is a really long time.

As I face another birthday and look back over those 10 years, the biggest concern I have about writing a regular column is not to come across as boring, boastful, nagging, negative or preachy. I guess itís inevitable that my column is all of those things at times, but I try to at least swap it up.

I never want to disappoint anyone, and with my column that refers to all our lovely and loyal readers. Iím often told by friends they like my column because itís about things anyone can relate to, but Iím also often told by my own insecure inner voice I might write too much about nothing.

ďSelf, no one wants to hear another word about flips, food or positive thinking! Give it up, already!Ē

Truth be told, I love my column because itís a part of who I am and even when I donít have time I always make time. It makes me stop and reflect on whatís going on in life.

I want to make a book one day of all my columns to share with my daughter, who has kindly and unknowingly served as the star or guinea pig so many times.

At any rate, Iím trying to think of some new possible angles to pursue for this column, so stay tuned on that if youíd like, but in the meantime, hereís my attempt at sharing something a little different than normal.

Late last year, my daughter started going to church with her father. A few weeks into it, she returned one Sunday and invited me to be her guest the following week, Jan. 1.

I try to be careful as to if and how I commit to things, as I never want to say Iíll do something and not do it, so this one was tricky, especially with God involved.

I have a spiritual belief system. I donít share much about it, but itís there. I wasnít certain I wanted to commit to a church service about which I wasnít quite familiar.

I thought about it and told my daughter, ďYes, Iíll be your guest, sometime. I canít say for sure if it will be next week, but yes, sometime.Ē

My reservations lied with her church routine being one she has with her father and didnít want to over-step boundaries, among other things.

Jan. 1 came and went, and I didnít go to church. A couple weeks later, however, she was with me and I decided to go see what this Gateway thing is all about. I had been hearing about Gateway quite a bit the past six months at random times, from all sorts of different people.

As I walked in the doors of this church, I felt an array of fresh, new, positive things all around me. Itís very upbeat, and what youíd expect to see at say, World Outreach in Murfreesboro or some other non-denominational place of worship.

I love how much my daughter is enjoying church, and Iíve gone with her a couple times now. The first message from the charismatic preacher was about hell and the second one, about Heaven. I left both services with some interesting thoughts to consider as well as a more positive attitude for the start of the week.

As I said, I never considered myself someone who had to go to church to know God, but I will also say thereís something to say about the people who disagree with that line of thinking. The bottom line: Iím glad I went. It canít ever hurt anyone to go to church.

Besides my daughterís invitation, Iím reading a book right now that encourages the reader to explore spirituality more deeply, which is another reason I went to Gateway.

This same book encourages the reader to take risks, live better, react smarter and all sorts of cool little strategies to help us get to where we are supposed to be going.

Yesterday, as I was about to walk out the door to pick my daughter up from school, something caught my eye on the kitchen counter. Itís just a little book of daily devotions for women, but for whatever reason I stopped and read the dayís short message.

Timing is so amazing, and the message of the devotion really hit spot on, complementing what Iíve been reading about in the first book, as well as the church experience, among other things. The more we look, the more itís there.

Its title:

Lead with Love

ďThe Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8)

ďWhat kind of temper do you have? Do you store up your frustrations, then explode over some silly Ďstraw that breaks the camelís back?í Do you react immediately when youíre upset so that your children fear your anger? Are you fairly controlled and able to handle situations with composure?

ďThe Lord is a good example for all parents. He understands where His children are coming from. He cares about the situations that make us behave the way we do. He understands our emotions. He takes a long time to get angry and His discipline is always couched in love.Ē

Thatís a good example for any parent ó lead with love.

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