I remember when I learned to drive a stick shift. I was with my sister-in-law in the parking lot of the store on the northside of town. I was young and elated to be behind the wheel!

But driving a vehicle with a manual transmission is harder than it looks! Paying attention to surroundings, signaling, wrapping my head around the parameters of the vehicle in space (still haven’t mastered that), while trying to get a feel for how far to let the clutch out while at the same time pushing on the gas, meant stalling the engine. Several times. So many things to do on purpose. Having none of it moved over in my brain to an autopilot setting yet!

And the funny-jerking-forward-just-before-I-killed-the-engine! Ha!

That’s how learning something so full-body challenging is. To do it well, you need to learn, to focus on many things at once, and ultimately practice, practice, practice until it becomes second nature. And all this while you’re trying to listen to the person teaching you, like my sister-in-law, who was laughing at my goofiness, while also trying to coach me along. Can you relate?

The learning-to-drive scenario is much like learning to live a life full of unconditional love. (Especially after we had already learned to live in a supposedly easier way: getting people to do things or not do things by attacking, avoiding, acting wounded, holding on too tight, suffocating people or lying. ) Now we’re having to think instead of mindlessly doing things the way we’ve been taught all our lives!

And there are so many things to think about all at once!

I’m hearing my clients talk about recognizing their mistakes and unlovingness.
That is a pretty tough beginning and happens to us all to one degree or another. It’s a sobering process and requires time and patience and humility.

Truly, the experience of seeing ourselves as we really are, is extremely motivating to work on becoming who we really want to be! Our loving self! All of the time!

But at the beginning, we don’t have the understanding or skills, so even though our vision is clearing, we’re not quite ready to take our vehicle to the speedway, since our skills are still worthy of just putting around in the parking lot, stalling every five minutes!

We want to see it, grasp it and master it in a day! We want to be what we believe! Right now!

But learning doesn’t work that way does it?

Instead of going from yelling and demanding and giving the evil eye to our kids, to feeling loved ourselves, loving them, smiling at them and teaching them how to live well and understanding the consequences of their choices, we need the grace to sputter and spit and stall the engine a bit at first!

So. If you are in the throes of learning to be a family leader who leads with unconditional love, I offer a few ideas for staying on the road and not getting sucked off into a wreck of discouragement:

1 Start with telling the truth to God.

Without truth telling, we can’t feel loved and be taught.

Truth telling also strengthens your connection with God, your family and friends. Recognize too that everytime you are loving, you will be filled with more love! Truth telling, creating greater connection and being loving are the big love tank filling things we can do right now.

2 Go through the process of repentance and ask for forgiveness every time you make a mistake. Own your thinking errors and commit to spending time on the love gathering activities you’ve neglected in the past.

3 Study the principles of unconditional love every single day. This will keep your brain recalibrated to the truth that love is the answer, every time.

4 Set a time for family meetings where you can share the principles you are learning. Your family culture will begin shifting as you share your experience with humility and the clarity you are gaining and the strength you feel knowing you are on the right path.

At first, this is very much like finding the sweet spot between letting out the clutch and pressing on the gas! It can be subtle, learning when to own your mistakes, when to teach, when to apply a consequence and when to take a break. But little by little the awareness comes. With practice you’ll see more quickly and with greater confidence what to do, when.

5 Find a friend, a mentor, a class or support group to grow with you. In our Healing With Love class, we are learning together and sharing the struggles we experience as we are adopting a whole new way of being; at home, at work, at church and with friends. All you know and believe as a woman of faith will be strengthened and fortified as you embrace this new way of being.

Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Learning is messy.

Learning on the job can be hair-raising, but that is the only way to learn to be a loving human being. By being with other human beings who are depending on one another for care and learning.

God is good! We are part of His family! And He wants us to succeed.

With His grace, and our commitment to love, we will.

Love,

The mission of Lioness at the Door is to uplift, strengthen and encourage women of all ages to magnify health, hope and happiness at home. We do so boldly, with humility and gratitude for the opportunity.

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