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The Better Jesus has one focus because there is one thing Jesus said that matters above all else: Loving God and loving others as we love ourselves. That means we get to love ourselves. We get to stop beating ourselves up, talking crap to ourselves, and putting ourselves last. It’s only when we truly love ourselves that we can begin to genuinely love all people.
What would your life look like if you could catch your breath? What if you had more calm and clarity? What if you stopped worrying so much about getting it right and were able to just focus on loving and living? How could you impact your world if you were free of shame and guilt?
My friend, and life coach, Steve Austin is encouraging me and giving me practical tools to do those things at Catching Your Breath Academy. He has a heart for helping us to both love ourselves and make an impact on our community by loving others. And I’m so excited to have him back on the blog today to share a sweet story about his amazing little boy Ben and how he taught Steve an important lesson about what love looks like.
Stay tuned to the end for a special 20% DISCOUNT offer Steve is offering just for you, my people. Thank you Steve!
What My Little Boy Taught Me about Loving Others
By Steve Austin
"Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of."
- Jim Casy, The Grapes of Wrath
My son loves LEGOs. He’s been building things as long as either of us can remember. At least once a month, his grandma takes him to the LEGO store at the mall downtown, and he gets to build with other LEGO fanatics, just like him.
So you’ll understand why I was a bit concerned when he came home yesterday and didn’t want to go to LEGO night. Ben never turns down a chance to build with the little plastic blocks, I mean ever. I started to question Ben when my wife looked up from texting and gave me “the look.” Any man who has been married very long knows “the look.” You don’t question the look, you just know to shut up, and do it now.
I wrinkled my eyebrows a bit, and then I shut up. Apparently, Lindsey knew something I didn’t know.
A few minutes later, Lindsey was on the phone in the kitchen, talking in a hushed voice. I wondered what was up. Usually, it means she’s talking to her sister and can’t get a word in edgewise, or she’s planning something for one of the kids with her mom.
A few minutes later, my mom texted me, “I’m so proud of Ben!”
Well, could somebody put all these pieces together for me, because frankly, I’m confused!
“Huh?!” I texted back.
“Ask Lindsey. I sure do love that sweet little boy.”
Once I was finally looped into all the goings on, I started to understand why Ben didn’t want to go to LEGOs. We’ve had the same next-door neighbors for nearly ten years. The mom and dad, their son, and Meme (the wife’s mother). They’re a close-knit, blue-collar family, who has always seemed to pull together to make ends meet. Good people. And the little boy loves his Meme.
On the way home from school, Ben was sitting next to the neighbor boy, (we’ll call him Josh), who started to cry. Josh told Ben that his grandma would be moving away on Sunday, and once the little boy made his confession, he really began to wail. Ben became so concerned that he stood up in his seat at the next stop and yelled, “Mrs. Baker! Josh is crying!” My compassionate little boy consoled his friend the rest of trip, walking him home with one arm around his shoulder.
Mrs. Baker happens to be best friends with my mother, and word travels fast in a small town.
Ben’s heart was broken for his friend because Ben, too, has a Meme whom he adores. Out of his concern and compassion, Ben wanted to stay home and play with Josh, rather than go to the mall and build LEGOs. Although he might not use the same words, Ben instinctively understood the power of empathy and compassion.
When Jesus issued the call to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” I think he was speaking to the very soul of empathy. The me too-ness of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and walking around a while. I think Desmond Tutu said it best when he said, “We are, each of us, a piece of God.”
If Desmond Tutu isn’t your cup of tea, how about the opening of John Steinbeck’s classic, The Grapes of Wrath? Tom Joad is hitchhiking home when he encounters Jim Casy, a preacher Tom remembers from childhood. Life, it seems, has changed Casy, but some might say for the better. The old preacher man tells Tom that he still believes in the Holy Spirit, if the Holy Spirit means love.
I think that’s the same kind of spirit my little seven-year-old boy was tapping into the other day when he chose to console his friend, rather than indulge in a LEGO night with Meme. Much like Jim Casy in The Grapes of Wrath, my son understands that love isn’t limited only to God or Jesus or the pontifications of religious scholars.
In his sweet, innocent, seven-year-old way, my son understands that unless love is universal and includes respect for all mankind, it isn’t love at all. I’m so grateful for this powerful reminder that love is passionate about the soul of all humanity. Without even realizing it, my little boy recognized that what we do matters because we’re all pieced together like LEGOs.
Thank you so much Steve for sharing that beautiful story about Ben. May we all learn to love like that.
Friends, Steve is offering a special 20% OFF DISCOUNT just for you on any of his courses. Just use the discount code: STEPH20 at checkout.
I am loving being enrolled in the monthly Catching Your Breath Academy because not only do we get a new course every month to help us slow down and breathe and get what we want out of life, we also get an exclusive online community, coaching, and accountability. If you enroll, let me know, so I can look for you in the group. And don’t forget to use your discount code: STEPH20 for 20% OFF.
And I cannot wait to start the new 90 Days of Calm course that begins on Monday. Y’all know I have anxiety and life has just been absolutely crazy lately, so I’m really looking forward to intentionally focusing on calm. If you take this course, let me know how you like it. And of course, don’t forget to use your discount code: STEPH20 to get your 20% OFF.