“Love your wife. Eat pizza. It’s romantic.” That’s the advice my pastor friend gave me as he was sitting on the green, second-hand loveseat that used to be in his office but now resided in the living room of my wife and me. We had just finished explaining the recent large dispute that had prompted his visit.
I get hangry. You know, the hunger that makes a speedway to anger when things don’t go your way? Yeah, it was a recent discovery for me, and it took marriage to make me see that. The worst part is that when I get really hangry I lose my desire to eat, which if I did could make my bad mood into a short trip rather than a long, cross-country trek of misery for everyone around me.
This discussion of my latest visit down the hangry highway involved an interrupted dinner of stuffed-crust pizza to visit some longtime friends of my wife who were in town for a short while. I knew the ignition of my bad mood was keyed, I just had to make sure it was not turned. Hours went by and things went well; it was a good visit. But on the way home, something sparked and it wasn’t long before my hangriness was firing on all cylinders. The pizza ended up not being eaten for a long while.
That simple advice my pastor friend gave me on how to love my wife has stuck with me. But it applies to not just my wife and myself. In order to be able to love others, especially those closest to us, we have to be purposeful. If we are not then our love for others will stop and go faster than if NASCAR implemented traffic lights after every lap.
- Eat Pizza
If there are certain things you can do for yourself to set your route on the path to loving God and loving others well, then do it. For myself, one way is to make sure that I do not let being hungry affect my disposition. Things probably would have gone a lot better if I had eaten the pizza that evening. For you whether that is showering, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, logging off of Facebook, etc. Whatever it is, it is something that takes your thoughts off of how you feel so you can focus on others.
Sometimes our intentionality to love lies not in what we do but in what we don’t do. For myself that means not drinking Coca-Cola. I get unbearable when I drink the sugary, bubbly beverage. I enjoy the taste of it but for the sake of my family and my sanctification, I avoid it.
- More Than Pizza
Poising yourself to love God and others goes beyond appetites and grooming habits. It’s most importantly about the soul. Plain and simple, be reading and meditating on Scripture, and communing with God through prayer. Believers need to regularly take part in these ordinary means of grace (Acts 2:42) for our becoming more like Jesus, the One Who loved others the best. The Holy Spirit works in us the love for God and those around us (Gal. 5:22), and the means of grace are part of that working.
I think it is important to say in closing that our responsibility as believers to love is not dependent upon eating pizza or drinking coffee. There may be times we are unable to do those things; we are called to love in spite of our physical desires or needs. These haven been thoughts about poising ourselves the best we can on the most days we can to love others the best we can. Ultimately, the means of grace are much better enablers than pizza slices.