Relationships improve, pain disappears

At one point last year, my mouth became painful. It was uncomfortable all the time and made eating and drinking difficult. During this time, I was also feeling unsettled about an upcoming social gathering. 

In my prayers, I realized that my attitude toward the event was one of impatience and irritation. In order to change this unlovely outlook, I prayed to understand more deeply that man—made in the image and likeness of God, as the first chapter of Genesis states—can include only Godlike qualities, such as selflessness, patience, and gentleness. I also saw that I needed and wanted to trust God more deeply with every aspect of my life—past, present, and future—and to relinquish any desire to orchestrate my life in a willful or self-centered way. 

I was quite uncomfortable for a couple of days, but then this arresting thought came to me in prayer: If what you feel isn’t unselfish, you can’t call it love. I knew I loved those who would be at the event, but I couldn’t honestly say that I was totally free from self-centered thoughts and feelings. 

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