Love is kind. I often forget to start with myself when I consider this statement in 1 Corinthians 13:4. Yet, it’s not enough to just recognize when I am unkind, in order to truly change I need to know why.

“It does not do to leave a living dragon out of your calculations if you live near him” – JRR Tolkien

As I listened to a Christian meditation the narrator shared that quote by Tolkien. It really made me pause to consider my dragons and how often I take them into my calculations versus try to ignore them. My dragons keep me from accessing the kindness of God.

Prov3:5-6 “Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way. Don’t trust in your own wisdom, but fear and respect the Lord…”

When I initially looked back at 2018 all I could see was my failures. How I failed God and those I love the most. I relied on my own wisdom and chose my emotions over integrity more than I would have liked to in 2018. I thought of what a disappointment I was. I questioned if God could still use me.

It took others to help me see my victories and my growth. My dragons live in my head and accuse me. They use my past against me. They are my pride and fear, which often result in me reaching for control or acting out of my emotions. I chose my paths instead of God’s when I rely on my thinking and don’t account for the dragons. I also lose sight of how God sees me and can’t see good in myself. I rely on my own strength to try and fight the dragons instead of allowing God to fight them for me. Left to my own wrong thinking, not filtered through God’s loving kindness, I make choices that are selfish and make me feel better in the short run but only hurt more in the long run.

It is easier for me to have faith for others than for myself. It’s easier to see them fight their dragons and tell them how incredible they are and how much God loves them. I want to fight their dragons for them. But this too, I am learning, is not kindness. Just as I cannot fight other’s dragons for them they cannot fight mine for me. Those I love most need to come to God’s loving kindness on their own and so do I, daily.

We serve a God that never forces himself on us. He stands and loves us and waits patiently for us to approach Him and ask for His help. It is then that He can truly work on our hearts, on my heart. By humbling myself, mustering up all my courage to risk failure and vulnerability by asking for HIS help over relying on my own strength, He shows me kindness.

It is a choice for me to accept or reject God’s kindness versus to simply think Him unkind when I am the one rejecting Him.Accepting his kindness allows me to focus on becoming fully me and allowing others to become fully themselves. He unlocks the parts of my thinking that reveal His truth about who I am to Him so I can fight the lies of who I think I am.

Job 8:5-7 “ But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, he will surely rise up and restore you. And though you started with little, you will end with much.”

I have a choice every day as to what I will believe about myself and about God. When I chose to believe His word I believe that He is not withholding. He is working and He finds me worthy. He is still able to use me and I am lovable. I can recover from my failures. I can choose what is hard and most loving for myself and those closest to me. As the scripture above states, I can trust His way when I feel like I have little and trust that His end will hold much. I can choose integrity over my emotions even when my heart is breaking. When I see myself through God’s eyes I am able to give myself grace and kindness.I am able to see His kindness and be kinder to myself and in turn love others better.