When the bandwagon comes, I usually sprint in the opposite direction. Maybe it’s that independent, non-conformist PNW influence.
But I’m stepping into 2016 and hopping onto two different bandwagons. Ahhh! What’s wrong with me?!
The first is the pick-a-word-for-the-year bandwagon (I’ll write about the other in a later post).
I’ve seen this idea pop up the last few years and the Holy Spirit has been circulating one word through my mind over and over; so I figured I might as well turn around and saunter on over to the bandwagon this year.
Really, though, it’s a word for my entire life. I would argue it’s the most important concept that Jesus taught because, in it, all the law is summed up and fulfilled. And because of it, Christ died and rose unto our salvation.
Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Love your spouse. Love your children. Love the Body of Christ. Love God. Love yourself.
Does love ever feel like more of a burden than a joy?
When I think of all the people I’m supposed to love, on top of loving God (whom, let’s be honest, I will never be able to love nearly the way He loves me – yet one more thing I can’t grasp), I feel like a failure before I’ve even crossed the starting line.
Why even try? Besides, do I want to pay the cost of loving another?
C.S. Lewis sums up what I’m sure many of us only secretly admit:
“Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as ‘Careful! This might lead you to suffering.’ To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my conscience. When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ.”
To draw near to Christ requires that I draw near to love.
But love is not my natural inclination. I’ve refused many offers of love – God’s and other peoples’– believing that they couldn’t really love me because I was unlovable. Misconstruing the whole idea of love. Making it something I had to earn or deserve. Entwining love with a sense of pride instead of humility. And those very feelings have made it a strain for me to sincerely love others as Christ first loved me.
Before I became a mom, I worried that I wouldn’t be capable of loving and connecting with my children (but now I realize it’s nearly impossible to NOT love your children ;)). I don’t have those cutesy-love feelings for babies or baby animals like some women do. I’m not naturally very generous. I drag my feet to forgive. I walk a short path to impatience. I can be too concerned with my own comfort to consider another’s.
However, it’s those moments of ‘love-revelation’ that have galvanized my faith and propelled my sanctification. It has cast out fears in frightening times, provided rest in weary times, assured safety in perilous times, and cradled me in tearful times. It’s those rare glimpses and truest instances of understanding the tiniest drop of God’s great love that have wrought healing, change, and peace in my soul.
The natural man is still striving with in me – within all of us – but we have the glorious gift of being elevated by the Supernatural.
Maybe you, like me, have experienced the excruciating work of mustering up love for someone you know you should love, because that’s what God commands, but you find it humanly impossible to do so? Or maybe you’ve experienced that aching desire to be loved?
That’s why I’m starting a Love Quest.
I want to better understand what it means to abide in His love (John 15:9) and bear fruit that is nourished by love.
I want to continue to learn how to love God and others with His Agape love, not my exacting and forced love.
So I’ll be posting as I learn and grow in Love. God’s love for me, for all of us; my love for God, my love for others.
I’m counting on Love to continue to change me and mold me into the woman God desires me to be. I am sharing this journey (and another to come) in hope that a few of you might be my companions along the way. I would love to hear from you!
How has God’s love transformed and challenged and changed your mind, heart, relationships etc…? Is it difficult for you to accept God’s love or other people’s love?