When you pray be sure that you listen as well as talk. You have things you want to say to God but He also has things He wants to say to you.
- Joyce Meyer
I brought home some biscotti from a social event last night, thinking they would make a nice breakfast treat for my kids. They were in a white plastic bag, which I put down in the far corner of the kitchen, away from prying eyes. Half an hour later I discovered that someone had eaten nearly half of them.
I was hurt and angry. Instead of thankful kids, or kids who learned by my example to be thoughtful of others, somewhere in the ranks I had a selfish and sneaky child who had indulged his or her appetite at the expense of others. That was almost exactly the opposite of what I hoped. It was hard–really hard–to express my deep disappointment without letting my temper fly.
However, if I’m going to be a thoughtful person–or generous, or loving, or kind–I must choose to be that way regardless of how others behave. I don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) bring biscotti to the self-indulgent. But I do need to be able to give without expecting specific outcomes.
Perhaps if I make a little bit of progress in that, those biscotti will have served their purpose. And perhaps I will be able to celebrate Christmas this year with a cleaner heart, one that receives and reflects the gift of Christ a tiny bit better.
Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.