I am absolutely, over-the-top amazed at the joy in my life now. I’ve talked about the importance of introspection and loving: Jesus commanded us to love one another in John 13:35, but that took me on to 1 Corinthians 13:4.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” –John 13:35
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;” –1 Corinthians 13:4-5
These love verses speak to my desire to be more Christ-like. God is love. God is kind and patient, etc., and that means that I need to work on those traits. I’ve asked Barbara which of these four are most important to her, and she has chosen kindness, patience, not insisting on one’s own way, and rejoicing in truth (from verse 6). That is further defined when she tells me something I don’t like. I can’t get all defensive; I just take that in as truth and I decide what I’m going to do about it now.
I can tell you that this whole concept of focusing on how I am living out the traits of love has absolutely changed the joy in my life. I used to believe that my joy came when everyone did things my way, and as I started specifically working on the aspect of love that does not insist on its own way, I became very open to the desires of others. Where do Barbara or my friends want to go? I don’t have an agenda but am actually being led by the Spirit because I don’t have these great expectations. Well guess what? The expectations aren’t falling short because I don’t have them!
In my life, I have realized that I can choose to live through the spirit, as opposed to living out of these old expectations that I thought were necessary. So I’d really, really suggest that anybody who wants to move toward that more abundant life needs to spend some diligent time being introspective. Living an examined life – one that asks, “How am I doing?” when it comes to living those traits so clearly stated in the Bible.
Among the traits of love, patience is probably the one that I’ve had to work on most. But there are times when I am absolutely amazed that some event that would normally have had me all spun up, goes on with a whole lot less anxiety than in the past. It’s as if the new me is not the Steve Uhlmann I grew up with. I am truly letting go and learning to live out of the Spirit that has brought immense joy – one that wasn’t typical of me in past years.