Sunday, February 28, 2010

Love, etc.

We hear a lot about love during the month of February. Valentine's Day coming right smack dab in the middle of it seems to set the tone for the month. There's a lot of conversation about love, good and bad.

Whether it has been on the radio, in magazine articles, on the internet or television - I've heard a lot of discussion about love. While a lot of it focused on the feeling of being in love, thankfully some went deeper into the true meaning of love.

Last week at our monthly R & R Working Women's lunch we talked about the many faces of love, sharing recent examples in our own lives of what living love out loud looks like. Our reminder of true love came straight from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. I was encouraged to find that I am not the only one who struggles with loving as God calls us to love. It is definitely NOT at all about the feeling, it is about the choice of how we love. 'Cause frankly, there are lots of times when I do not feel like being patient or kind, when I am easily angered and want to hide away in my heart that feeling of being wronged, when I do not want to trust or hope or persevere. But God calls me to love in a different way - not in the realm of feeling but in the realm of making the choice to love like He does.

Then on Wednesday in Girlfriends & God, there it was again. The subject of love! Brenda asked us to describe love. And you know what?! Not one description centered on romantic love or the feeling of being in love. Every single description was one of sacrificial love. Many compared it to the love a mother has for their child, being willing to give up everything, even life, for their child.

Again, back to the Bible, this time Matthew 22:34-40. Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." and then "Love your neighbor as yourself."

If I truly love God with everything I have, with every part of myself, then I will desire to love others as he does. And if I truly love my neighbor (others) as I love myself, then I will desire to be patient, to be kind, to not be easily angered, to keep no record of wrongs, to always protect, to always trust, to always hope, to always persevere.

Oh, that it was so easy to love that way. I can truthfully say that from deep within my soul, I want to love that way. But the self-centered human side of me can find all kinds of reasons not to. And so it goes - yet another of those battles that Paul described when he said in Romans 7, "For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." So what's a girl to do? When someone says hurtful things about me. When someone's actions cause pain in my loved ones' lives? When I am treated unfairly?

I wish I could tell you that I immediately go to my Heavenly Father for help. That I never entertain a thought of revenge or wishing they 'get theirs'. I really wish I could. But, girlfriends, that would not be honest. It would be putting on that 'good Christian mask', all the time telling you one thing when I live out something different.

What I can tell you, most honestly, is that while my thoughts may temporarily wander into those mind games of 'what I will tell them when I get a chance'., I do not allow them to stay there. 'Cause I know by staying there, my thinking will become even more 'stinking' and I could find myself going from thinking to doing. What I do is pull my focus back to God, asking Him for the desire, strength, and guts to love that person like He loves them. To help me to see the person through His eyes.

And it works! Not instantly, but over time it works. And during the time it takes to work, He is doing His amazing work in my heart. Which always brings good results.

So I leave the month of love behind, but not love. Love is something I never want to be without, something I want to get better at doing. So that one day I will truly be able to say that I love like Jesus.


"P.S. I shared this post on Heart to Heart with Holley."
(This is the actual hyperlink:

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