January 25, 2012
But I Really Don't Like Her
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (NIV 1984)
Guns were loaded. Ten paces taken. The showdown had begun. Her at one end of the table; me at the other. My plate a smoking gun; lima beans my bullets.
I wish I could say I was a two-year-old toddler, throwing a tantrum. Instead, I'm embarrassed to admit I was a 25-year-old adult, sticking it to a woman I couldn't stand. Neither of us was backing down. Meeting her stealthy gaze I methodically slid one lima bean after another to the side. I would not take one bite of her potpie until it was clear of the offending veggies.
Oh, it's not that I dislike lima beans. On the contrary. I like them. What I didn't like was her.
Her, my boyfriend's mother. Clinging tightly to her matronly apron strings. Sitting at the head of his table. Wedging herself between us. Serving his favorite meal.
Me, her son's girlfriend. Building bonds meant to last a lifetime. Sitting by his side. Wedging myself between mother and son. Resenting her home-cooked meal.
My own mother's voice grew louder in my head with each lima bean I pushed aside. "It doesn't matter what she's done, you eat the limas, Sam." I held my challenger's stare as I flicked another bean onto the growing mound. "Put down your disdain and put her above yourself, Samantha."
With determined purpose I jabbed the last lima. Without a word I said it all: I will not honor your meal. I will not honor your feelings. I will not honor you. My mom's voice shook my inner core. "Use your humility, Samantha Elaine!!"
After dishes were washed and guns put away, another voice resonated. The Lord spoke gently, yet firmly. Sam, I've asked you to not be selfish. This was a perfect opportunity to show humility. She took time to cook that meal; you should have put her needs above your desires and eaten all of it.
I was ready with my rebuttal. But I really don't like her! She's controlling and invasive. She doesn't respect me or my relationship with her son. She's impossible to get along with, much less honor.
As far as I was concerned, she was the enemy and it was my duty to draw the battle lines. Yet deep down I knew, my actions should not be determined by hers. After all, she had worked hard on that dinner. She was my boyfriend's mom. And most importantly, she was my sister in Christ.
On that premise alone I knew God called me to be humble toward her. Not only that, but to go above—by eating (all) of her meal, and beyond—by complimenting her special dish. It would have been a small thing, but it would have been the right thing... and the God thing.
Though my relationship with my boyfriend and his mom has since ended, my relationship with humility has grown. And continues to grow as I challenge myself. It may be something as small as eating food I don't care for, watching a television show that bores me, attending a function I'd rather not. Or maybe speaking kind words when I'm frustrated, praying for someone who has offended me, or taking a back seat when I want to be first.
And for the times my finger is on the trigger, I keep in mind that by being humble, I'm honoring God. There is joy in giving glory to the One who so humbly laid down His life so I can keep mine eternally. This truth gives me the grace I need to tuck my guns away and ask, "May I please have seconds of your delicious lima bean potpie?"
Dear Lord, thanks for being the best example of humility and honor. Please give me the grace to respect others, especially those who I find hard to respect. Thanks for Your Word and for reminding me to put others first. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Sharing Grace - Family Traditions - Gift ideas (E-Book) by LeAnn Rice
Visit Samantha's blog for her potpie recipe and a give-away of A Perfect Mess by Lisa Harper.
Reflect and Respond:
We must not only do that which is good, but we must cleave to it. All our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, love. ~Matthew Henry
Who do I struggle to be humble toward? What is one thing I can do to "tuck my guns away" and show them kindness?
Romans 12:10, "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." (ESV)
Colossians 3:12-13a, "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another..." (ESV)
© 2012 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105