Tuesday, July 26, 2011

lawnmower love or lack thereof

I was raised in a Dutch family and If you are from a dutch area you will know that the Dutch as notorious for being thrifty, frugal and well... cheap. My Dad couponed before it was cool, and when I say he couponed I mean he had two laundry baskets full of coupon packets, which he cataloged in bundles. He was known for being paid to take toothpaste and hamburger helper off the grocery store's hands. Hardcore. Somehow I dodged the frugal gene and I am actually having to learn to be more thrifty with my money. Along these lines when we needed a new lawnmower this spring instead of heading down to the John Deer dealership we cruised the streets of out hometown looking for a used mower that we could adopt as our very own. And it was through these means that Murray the mower came to live in our garage.

Here is the thing about Murray, although he is a mower he has a strange aversion to mowing our lawn. Murray prefers to come out of the garage, pretend to gear up for a marathon session of clipping the grass, but then he peters out and prefers to sun himself in the front yard. Murray the mower is clearly not tuned in to the purpose he was made for. Maybe I need to start playing some inspirational books on tape about purpose and calling in the garage to get him on the right track.

I have the right to not like Murray, he isn't cute, he always wants a new battery and he does not pull his weight around here. I have expectations of mowing from Murray and when he doesn't meet them I am entitled to be crabby about it. Through his antics however I have learned a very important lesson. Although I don't have to give grace to Murray I do need to have grace for the guy riding Murray and trying to coax him to mow. If that guy has had a busy week and I start nagging him about shaggy grass I have lost perspective, haven't I?

People are not lawnmowers, you have to love them whether or not they are doing what you think they should be doing. This doesn't mean that my husband gets to lay around, do nothing for our family and I have to be okay with it. He would never do that, that's not being faithful to Gods call to show us love, love is a two way street but at the same time its not conditional.

I have to learn to love people more than what they produce. I can't treat my family and friends like I treat Murray. I need to love the person God created them to be above all else. Out of that kind of love they can draw energy to follow God's call on their life. I don't need to chase them down with motivational matnras and advice, I need to support and listen to where they are at. God is more than capable of teaching and correcting them, and life doles out enough tough love that they don't need it from me. I need to be more of a harbor than a harpy.

Loving the product more than the person robs both of you of the relationship you really want to have because no one signs up to be loved like a lawnmower. But you get distracted and selfish so sometimes you end up there. It comes from a mentality where you are more focused on what people are doing for you, rather than who you are being called to be in that relationship.

This kind of thinking can have a broad and drastic impact on your life because you begin to examine your approach to love in all your relationships. With my friends, family and those I minister to it is so easy for me to get side tracked and love the product more than the person. If you are looking for failures and reasons to walk away from people, our sinful nature will usually provide it in spade. But guess what? You provide reasons for them to walk away too.

So maybe you have a few relationships where you are loving people like lawnmowers, only if they start when you say so and mow with turn on a dime precision. We are all guilty of this from time to time, and I hope God reminds you as he did me of how he called us to love each other. He wants us to love us each like he loves us with reckless abandon, extravagantly and selflessly.

2 comments:

Kel Penny said...

Gotta love Murray!

johnandjill said...

Great post Leanne. A high calling and a huge challenge, but possible through Christ.

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