have you ever had a conversation with someone that quickly escalates and you find yourself responding in their same elevated tone?
i recently had a phone conversation like this… and after hanging up i was like what happened there. i didn’t like it.
but in it i realized that something had happened to me over the past few years and i had let a muscle i once valued and cultivated grow weak.
i used to work at a maternity home. now with this let me give you some context. have you ever tried to reason with a 15 year old girl? (i can say this because i once was one).
okay so if you have then just imagine that she is also pregnant and all those irrational hormones are also flowing through her small body. then on top of that add that she is facing some life-altering decisions…
will i parent this child for the rest of my life?
or will i place this child for adoption and face the pain of letting go of all i know and choosing what i believe to be the best option for my baby?
now that you have the picture i think you will understand that interactions with these girls where NOT always calm, rational, and in a controlled tone. and while i lived and worked in that house God taught me some amazing lessons and tools.
He taught me that we don’t honor people because of what they’ve done or not done. we honor because that person is made in HIS image. they are valuable. they are worth it. even before they know it, and we as a staff got the incredible privilege of demonstrating that day in and day out, and sometimes night in and night out too!
at first i was lousy at it, but over the years i learned… girl BLOWS up in the kitchen… okay pull her into the office and simply ask in a sweet tone, “hey sweetie, what’s going on”. that was usually followed by tears and her explaining how scared she was about the decisions before her, which was a precious and vulnerable moment to love her WITHOUT conditions.
i had this pretty well down, there was one time that i told a girl to “shut up” on our way to church… but that’s a story for another time. tag for that one.. #hownottodoit
since those days my ministry has changed and for the most part my interactions with people are incredible and honoring and all that feel good stuff.
but this phone call reminded me of something so important. i honor people because they are valuable.
it’s not because of how they treat me or how amazing they think i am.
it’s not their sweet tone.
it’s not their behavior.
it’s simply because they are made in His image .
here’s the gorgeous part of it… this makes me powerful and not a victim to other peoples behavior! initially with my girls at the maternity home, i was so afraid of them. i was afraid of blow ups and intimidation.
but honor has a way of diffusing that, and that is beautiful and glorious.
let’s all do a little experiment and label it “unconditional”.
we get to be powerful. we get to be in control of our emotions even when others might not be.