So here you have it as I process out loud once again.
"Lessons From My Five"
1. Forgive always, persevere continually, and relate to people based on how God sees them instead of how they behave.
The first member of my five is one of the most forgiving people I know. Where I have demonstrated a bad habit of mentally categorizing people based on their behaviors, this person relates to everyone based upon their potential. He forgives well and he forgives often. This member of my five helps me not to write people off but to step beyond my need for safety and push forward in my relationships. Forgive always. Persevere continually. Relate to people based on how God sees them instead of how they behave. He makes it look easy.
2. Your resources should be used to bless others who are less fortunate and all circumstances should be viewed through the perspective of God's love for you.
I struggle to put into words how much my next member of my five has shaped my life and my theology. She is hands down the most giving person I know. She doesn't just responds to needs as she sees them but plans out her giving as a way to hold herself accountable to being generous. Her example is a constant reminder to hold my possessions loosely.
As if that wasn't enough, she is also a great resource for perspective. Her faith is so ingrained in her being that she can't evaluate a situation without seeing it through the lens of God's love for her and His desire to shape her into His image. I love sharing what God is teaching me with her so I can hear her take on it through her faith and experience.
3. Treat others the way you want to be treated and bless others without expecting anything in return.
The third member of my five is a real sweetheart. Serving others is not something she has to remind herself to do but it is part of her DNA. I have heard before that your calling should give you energy. Where constantly cooking for others or jumping in to rescue someone in a bind would lead me to exhaustion, I believe it actually energizes her. She loves to serve. Receiving the blessing of her service to my family reminds me of the need to pull my head out of my own schedule long enough to see how I might help someone else. I am nowhere near her radar on this but her example is helping me want to try.
4. Place your family first. Advocate for them, serve them, and be their primary place of encouragement.
The fourth member of my five is a great cheerleader. Not the scantily clad kind but the "you've got what it takes to do this" kind. :) She spends her days advocating for her child who has a learning disability and it is not uncommon for me to receive an message requesting prayer for her husband with a project he has at work. She truly orders her days around her calling to serve her family. Watching her challenges me to make my family my priority.
5. Enjoy life! Try new places, go to the concert, take that trip, and live.
Oh how thankful I am for my number five! She is a gift to me in so many ways and has definitely made life more fun. If I said yes to all of her invitations, my life would be a constant "good time". I put that in quotes because I occasionally call her "good times" but she thinks it sends the wrong message. :)
I don't know about you, but I have the potential to get so caught up in my to do list that I forget to slow down and enjoy life. This friend is a true gift from God and reminds me that it is okay to let the laundry go in order to make a memory or enjoy a good lunch on a restaurant patio.
I believe at any point our five can change and what we consider to be important can change with it. I am incredibly thankful for the five God has given me at this stage of life. I could use a sixth who encourages me to exercise more and eat fewer cookies, but I am not willing to change any of my five for that reminder. :)
FORGIVE, LOVE, SERVE, PRIORITIZE, and LIVE. Not a bad average.