Sometimes we can be a bit cynical. Or at least I should say, sometimes I can be a bit cynical.
It’s easy to do; after all our society raises us to see flaws quickly, to pass judgement, and to move on. Think of the way that we approach our leadership, the presidential election, and even our own mirror image… Is that the way a true leader should run his people?… Can you believe what that idiot said?… -Or- Is that a flaw in my face where that hairy moly skin shouldn’t be?…
Each of us could probably name twenty things that we don’t like about ourselves, many of us in less than a minute. We are good at it.
And it’s not that we are hard just on ourselves. I bet we could do it for our spouses, our families, or community, and our nation… all in under a minute. We excel at naming the flaws we see because we practice it day-in and day-out, and that’s okay.
-But— Can we also be a people that name the good we see in the world around us? Like, how long would it take you to say twenty things you love about yourself? Could you do it in a minute, or would it take you five? Could you name twenty things at all?
And so while the world is thinking about Thanksgiving dinner, and holiday clutter, maybe start a spiritual practice. This week, every morning when you wake up, name 5 things you like about yourself. Just five, every morning. If you can think of new things the following morning, great! If you can’t, that’s okay too.
And when you can name 20 things you like about yourself in less than a minute, add another person, like your spouse. Name 5 things you like about you that day and 5 things you like about them – and see how far you can take it. And then add your kids, or the man down the street, or your banker, until your adding people that just really tick you off.
Because, part of being a Christian is being thankful to God for all God has done – and while people including family, friends, and even our own bodies may irritate us, they are gifts (and not curses) from God. And the way that we talk to ourselves about people is the way that we treat them. Yes, they may drive us up the wall some days, but can we also see the good of who they are in our lives? Our God calls us to be a thankful people, and sometimes it starts with the little things.