It was the kind of tired when the very thought of lifting your arm and your head up far enough and long enough to send a text message seems like an impossible task.

The kind of tired that makes you pretty sure there are two hippopotamus’ sleeping in your bedroom. One is lying on your left leg and the other on your right. You’re pretty sure that absent a crane Dragging them off, you will never be able to move again.

The kind of tired that makes you think that if you you could lift your head, and if you could move your legs, you would crawl to the window, stick your head out, and declare to the madly spinning world…STOP.

Just STOP. That is all.

That was me. That was my December.

So as the new year approached, I had nothing to give. I made no plans, set no goals, made no resolutions. I scarcely noticed that the 8 at the end of the date was turning to 9 except for a feeble attempt to recharge my Scripture memory and catch my breath.

I’ve taken January a day at a time. My main goal: to get through it.

So recently, I started wondering if I could sort of start 2019 over. And asking myself…if I could, what would I do differently? Would I try to lose weight? Save money? Eat better? Work less? Read more? Pray more?

What priorities do I have that need to be reordered? What are my biggest messes that need to turn hard corners and come to Jesus?

Thinking through the last four months, I realized that more than any other challenge I face, I struggle to apply the simple admonishment: “Love is kind.” (1 Corinthians 13).

Love is kind.

I have had a lot of opportunities to apply that verse lately. And I have failed in many of them.

Love is kind.

Kindness, I’ve learned, takes extra energy. It requires humility. It demands quick forgiveness. It means extreme self control. It is a successor of patience. It feeds off creativity. And it is often exercised while clinging to the lifesaver of prayer.

Love is kind.

Kindness is not what you say, it’s how you say it. It is not what you do, it’s why you do it. It rises above the way that it is treated and gives to those whose who take and take and take.

Love is kind.

It’s sympathetic. It’s quiet when words won’t help. It’s vulnerable when tears are unavoidable. It’s slow to judge. It is wisdom exercised with gentleness. It keeps its calm in the middle of the storm.

It’s hard.

In fact, it takes practice. I know because I’ve failed a lot. I’ve tried, and I’ve still failed a lot.

But as I tried to take inventory of my life and make sense of some tough days, I sensed this recurring theme: God is teaching me to be gentle and kind.

In a world gone mad, where women want to prove themselves tough and “equal” to be men, I need to be kind.

In the craziness of the business world and the imminence of deadlines that are not being met, I need to be kind.

In the brokenness of people around me and the constant wave after wave of needs that seem so overwhelming, I need to be kind.

With my type A personality that doesn’t understand why some people are highly unmotivated and pathetically disorganized, I need to be kind.

Even in the face of disrespect, unprovoked anger, or the foggy frustration of exhaustion, I need to be kind.

I share this for two reasons:

One, many of you know me well enough to help me work on kindness. I give you permission to make me read this every day in 2019.

Two, maybe you could also use some kindness. I hope you will join me in the challenge: finding practical, creative ways of being kind. If you need to, read this every day in 2019. Or write your own reminder and send it to me.

Thinking through the first month of 2019 has helped me shape perspective about what it important. Perhaps I will set some measurable goals; perhaps I won’t. This year, I’m setting my sights on pleasing Someone who doesn’t care about check boxes and scales and bank accounts. I may never have the satisfaction of accomplishment on this one; Just the slowly growing humility the fuels a critical element of the strongest force in the world. That’s all I need.

Love is kind.

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