Fake it till you make it. Feeling follows action.
Just do it.
These are the slogans I've been reminding myself with over and over again lately. You see, my compassion (and patience, and tenderness, and...) towards my family has been running a bit low. You could ask them yourself...but please don't, their answers would not be pretty.
I recently found myself retorting with annoyance and indigence to the tiniest of questions or requests. I even realized - and this is so difficult to admit - that my split-second first reaction to one of my children getting (mildly) hurt was not one of concern or compassion but of rolled-eye-annoyance.
I felt awful. My awful attitude was dragging my whole family down with me, with the woe-is-me-orchestra playing to the very end.
Upon deep introspection, I realized I was the one to blame for the disappearance of my compassion. I found that I was becoming increasingly self-absorbed - a professional navel gazer as it were - and most of my annoyance and lack of tenderness stemmed from my own agenda being interrupted.
Recognizing the source of the issue is great - your source may be different. You may be running on empty having over committed yourself to outside obligations. Maybe you're working two (or three) jobs just to make ends meet and you're flat out tired. Maybe you're going through a rough patch in your marriage. There are a million and one valid reasons for our compassion tanks to run dangerously low.
For me, the first stop must be Scripture. I need to get into the Word and let it do the cleansing work only the Word of God can do. So, let me share with you 5 Verses for When Your Compassion is Running Low. I've also included a way to turn the Scripture into a prayer - my mind works better when I can take the theoretical and turn it into practical.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1
Oh Father, let my answers be gentle. Remove any harshness from my words, from my heart, from my spirit. Let me not be one who stirs up anger in my home, rather one who can turn away wrath and cultivate an atmosphere of gentleness. Amen.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6
Father God, season my words with your Salt - let them "taste" good to those who receive them. Fill my conversations and words with grace. Help me know how to answer everyone...for there are so many questions to be answered in the life of a mother. Amen.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight." Psalm 119:77
God, I know that I cannot give what I do not possess. Let Your Compassion fall fresh on me today, Lord. Minute by minute, that I might live fully in the light of your Grace and that I might be a tangible extension of that Compassion to my family. Amen.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corintians 1:3-4
How wonderful you are, God! Thank you for comforting me in my times of need - in sadness, anger, frustration and fatigue. Please help me to use that comfort to be a comfort and encouragement to my family as they experience their own time of struggle. Amen.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14
Oh Father, how I need your help! Help me to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience minute by minute. Let that be what others see when they look at me. And help me to forgive my children when the disobey, argue and whine. I know that forgiveness does not equal permission - but I often dole it out as if it does. Cover me with Love, Lord. You are Love, so fit yourself over me that all these things would come together in unity to help me be the wife and mother You created me to be. Amen.
What do you do when your Compassion Tank is in E? What verses help you?