I don’t remember now what topic it was in Sunday School last year. I just remember really enjoying the lesson as I was preparing for it. I came away from that lesson with an ‘Aha! moment’ which I couldn’t wait to share with others: One of the most spiritual things you can do is to get to know yourself.
‘Well, how do you get to know yourself?’ a young, married mother asked seriously.
She also wanted to know if I thought it was odd that she would ask this question, given that she was in her thirties, a wife, a working mother, and a student.
Actually, I didn’t think it was odd at all. We spend a lot of time trying to learn about everything else, focusing on our families, researching opportunities for our children, doing a lot of reading, attending seminars, trying to get ahead in our professions, investing in spiritual things … (Now that’s a biggie for any Christian – investing in spiritual things.)
‘What sorts of things do you actually like to do, for instance?’ I asked.
She thought about it for a minute, but came up blank. ‘I’m not really sure,’ she said.
‘I bet if I asked you some Bible trivia questions, you’d be rattling off Bible verses for me by heart right now,’ I replied. She laughed in agreement.
I could totally relate and I don’t mean to minimize the importance of Bible knowledge for any professing Christian. But what I learned while preparing for the lesson was that it’s important for me to get to know myself really well, too. After all, the Bible is meant to be applied to my life – to me. How do you do one without knowing the other? My quest for spirituality will not make up for my ignorance about my own self.
Anyway, this long introduction was simply meant to build up to the fact that I’ve learned something new about myself. I got a phone call from my sister this morning and she brought up the subject of communication in relationships. I told her that I only recently realized just how important it would be for me (if I were in a relationship) to be in one with a person who actually likes to communicate. As I’m sure one of my sisters would jokingly retort: This kind cometh not but by fasting and prayer (lol!).
By liking to communicate, I just mean someone for whom communication is not burdensome, but comes easily and naturally. And I’m referring to anything from emails to in-person conversations. A person who actually enjoys receiving and replying my lengthy emails and text messages. I’ve noticed that my son is the sort of person who leaves texts and emails unanswered. This really bugs me, but I realize he’s just easily distracted. I keep emphasizing that the polite thing to do is to at least send a quick response acknowledging receipt. I hope he ‘gets’ it before he leaves for college, Lord!
The fact that this sort of communication is actually important to me is really a revelation, simple as it sounds. I never would have thought it was that critical before. (I used to think that the only important thing was to share the same faith.) And it’s not just about enjoying this sort of communication – it’s also about communicating well (which is a point I made to my sister, too). It’s just nice to read things that are well-written and to listen to good diction. I don’t mean one has to be an essayist or best-selling author (lol), or anything like that. But the ability to communicate with finesse is extremely appealing.
It’s amazing that I didn’t realize this about myself before.
There’s this time I was typing away on my laptop with the TV on in the background. All of the sudden, what I now know to be a song by Christina Aguilera (and some other people) came on. My ears pricked up as soon as I heard the words, ‘Say something – I’m giving up on you …’
My fingers paused over the keyboard and I didn’t hear anything else because I was so absorbed by those two phrases. I immediately understood very deeply what the entire song was about even though I didn’t listen to any more of it. I’ve been there, Lord knows, I’ve been there.
There are different ways of processing things, and even of communicating. Some people are just more comfortable with non-verbal communication. Others somehow drift through life barely communicating at all. I’m just one of those that really gravitate toward verbal and written communication. Before there was email, I used to write tons of letters. With email, mine tend to be lengthy unless I’m busy at the time. And friends of mine have pointed out that when I reply emails, I reply to every single sentence/paragraph – lol. (I thought that’s how you were supposed to reply.) And I’ve been told I’m a poor texter because I don’t use abbreviations in my texts. Anyway, you get the picture.
I’m just glad that I know this one thing about myself for sure. I’m feeling very accomplished (J).