Great Morning Beloved!
The 5 Love Languages –. Acts of Service
Welcome to part 4 of our series on the 5 Languages of Love. We’re getting to the end of this journey…have you discovered your love language yet? How about the language of your loved ones?
If not, maybe todays, Acts of Service is the one for you.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”- Kahlil Gibran
By acts of service, we mean doing things you know your spouse or friends would like done for them, you seek to please them by serving them, to express your love by doing things for them.
These things require thought, planning, time, effort & energy if done in a positive spirit, they are expressions of love. They are not looked upon as a ‘chore’ to be done as quickly as possible.
They are not done because it’s expected of you, though it may be. But the reason, the energy behind why you are doing something is what makes it a Gift of Service.
DO you see the difference?
A husband may be EXPECTED to mow the lawn, but if his thoughts and energy behind the request is positive, he feels better about it and so does his partner.
“I think I have learned that the best way to lift one’s self up is to help someone else.”
– Booker T. Washington*
Love is always freely given, it cannot be demanded. The story in the beginning of this series about the wife who wanted her husband to paint the bedroom is a perfect example of demand and request.
She kept telling him to paint the bedroom, and for 9 months it did not get done. But when she changed the way she approached her husband with the request, he painted it.
So, we see that by requesting we give direction to love through service, a demand stops the flow of love with negative energy.
SO, what could you do for your spouse or loved ones, your friends?
Ask yourself what expectation of service you might have from your loved ones.
Expectations can cause disappointments and interfere with relationship.
Make a list of gifts of service you would like, it might help you think of what you could do for others. Making a list forces us to think concretely.
You may have to ask if you can’t ‘see’ it for yourself. Don’t think that it’s something you ‘should’ know, no matter how long you have known this person.
Ask ‘what are the most important things to do for the one you love or care about?’
Jesus was very specific in his instructions to us about service. He told us that whatever we do to the least of us, we also do to him. When we feed the hungry or help the sick and weak, we serve the Divine.
When asked about helping our neighbors, Jesus gave the example of the Good Samaritan. His was a Gospel of compassion and generosity, leaving no wiggle room to avoid service.
Many of us find the idea of service to be foreign or unattractive. Service is not always met with enthusiasm. It is an idea loaded with misperceptions and confusion. We have all been taught that service is a good thing, but it doesn’t always feel that way.
And that is due to the thinking behind it. What energy are you bringing to service?
We may think that service means hard work, with a promise for rewards at some undesignated time in the distant future. We may also have heard that service requires great sacrifice to be considered legitimate.
Somehow, this beautiful practice has been turned into something to be avoided rather than pursued and celebrated. Case in point: some people don’t like the word service because it implies being a servant, which seems demeaning.
Jesus presented a very different picture of service. He showed us what happens as we mature spiritually: Our reasons for giving become more fully developed. We find ourselves serving, as he did, not to get something in return but because we recognize that giving is the essence of who we are, so we experience the joy that comes with it.
Service challenges us once again to look at our attitude toward receiving. Instead of teaching us to sacrifice, service teaches us how to accept gifts. There is no. martyrdom to true service.
That may sound like a contradiction. But when we give for the pleasure of giving, we see how others get the same pleasure from sharing. We let them give to us because we know that it brings them joy, since that is our experience too.
However insignificant we may feel our own contribution is, we should always remember that our good works are vital to the well-being of the whole. Without our efforts, someone would suffer.
Serving others does not have to be difficult; in fact, when we are spiritually fit, it is rather easy. During morning meditation, we simply state our intention to be of service to the people we are with.
Then, as we go about our day, we silently ask the questions; How may I serve? What Truth principle wants to express through me at this moment? How can I love God’s beloved?
Then we let it go. We don’t define it or control it. We simply make ourselves available to Spirit.
Another way we serve is by being our authentic selves. When we remember who we are as blessed sons and daughters of God and act accordingly, we serve as an inspiration to others. But it is not just our good deeds that encourage others; we also serve by sharing our growth opportunities. Those challenges, large or small, that make us grow.
Sharing all our life’s journey with those who we trust and believe in helps to grow each other.
And, being authentic makes learning about our love language, the love language of our partner, family and friends, easier.
Keep in mind, it is rare that each member of a couple has the same love language, so learning yours is one thing, but learning the love language of your loved ones may be a very different thing.
And, ‘what we do for each other before marriage or partnership is no indication of what we will do after our arrangement.
After, we revert to the people we were before we were ‘in love’.
And with our parents as role models, our behaviors as well as our own personality, our perceptions of love, our emotions, needs and desires will dictate what we consider what a marriage or partnership is about.
If you are basing your role in a relationship on the roles you witnessed in other relationships, you may want to have a conversation with your partner. Arranging how a relationship will work takes honesty and understanding between those involved.
Each of us must choose daily to love or not, if we choose to love; then expressing it in the way in which our spouse requests will aid in making our love relationship grow emotionally.
And that goes for our close friends and family too.
Chapman tells us, our spouse’s criticisms about our behavior provides the clearest clue to their primary love language – people tend to criticize the loudest in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need…they are pleading for love.
Asking for a gift or to have a conversation may indicate the Love Language of the person asking.
Again, a reminder that we need to make requests not demands. Love is a choice & it cannot be forced.
Criticism & demands drive wedges in relationships.
We can look at criticism as a means to request clarification, trying to get to the bottom of the issue.
Ask, “Tell me more” about what they are trying to say….maybe in a quieter tone, can help get to the bottom of an issue.
When we talk about Gifts of Service, we are NOT talking about a person being a doormat.
What’s the difference between a doormat and someone who loves?
Ex. A wife who preformed acts of service for years and years but not out of love; maybe guilt, fear, even resentment. “I have served him for 20 years. …waited on him hand & foot; been his doormat while being ignored, mistreated and humiliated in front of friends and family.” Of course, this caused resentment.
Chapman states, “A doormat can be your servant but not your lover”. This is not Gifts of Service.
And manipulation is not either. Causing guilt (If you were a good spouse, you would do this….) is not a love language.
Coercion by fear (you will do this, or you will be sorry) is alien to love; is not a love language.
No person should allow oneself to be used or manipulated by another, this is not an act of love.
Love says “I love you too much to let you treat me this way…it’s not good for either of us.
Learning Gifts of Service will require some of us to reexamine our stereotypes of the roles we play in family situations. A willingness to examine and change stereotypes is necessary to express love more effectively.
You have heard the phrase…actions speak louder than words. People can only see what’s in your heart through your actions.
Try to think of some acts of service that are not chores…maybe serving someone other than your spouse or friend…maybe through a relative or a pet. Like taking the dog to the groomer or for a walk. Or helping an elderly parent with yardwork.
These are examples of ways to show your friend or spouse that you care.
You can always ask for a prioritized list of things that you could do for them.
Or hire someone to do service that no one wants to do…cleaning, painting, etc.
You could make sure no one interferes when a favorite TV show or special game is on.
These are some simple things that could really mean a lot to someone else.
There are tremendous benefits to meeting the emotional needs of spouses and close friends.
Fulfillment comes from giving of oneself.
When we give freely of ourselves and our abundance, we affirm God’s presence in our lives. Consequently, God’s love grows in us and we become the catalyst for spiritual evolution in our world.
As we discover our unique gifts and develop them in a way that contributes to the well-being of others, we begin to see how we are repeating what Jesus did. … As we serve simply and purely, we add a little bit each day to Jesus’ vision of a more compassionate world
“The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth.”
– Wilfred Grenfell