Thanksgiving is getting ready to rear the corner. Followed by Christmas. Which means–we will all be busier than normal. We will also be invited or not invited to different things. We will get together with people who we love dearly—the turkey and tinsel–what’s not to love about the most wonderful time of the year;)! And mixed in among the turkey and tinsel whether it’s family or friends–you might even find yourself gathering among people that aren’t the easiest for our hearts to be around. It might just be clashing personalities or it could be relationships that the longer the miscommunication or misunderstanding has gone on…there is hurt there–maybe even deeper than we ever dreamed until we find ourselves dreading these different encounters during the holidays. We may even be around family who WE have hurt but are completely clueless to the way we make them feel–and we need to love outside of our own flesh to show them that we love them.
Or maybe you are juggling a family who pulls you or pulls him. So you have to have this with them–then stretch yourself to do that with them–and oh my…your heart just longs for TOGETHER…why can’t we all just make it easy and be TOGETHER. This time of year is my favorite–but it’s also the time of year that can be very hard for a lot of people because something went wrong with the word LOVE and everything that it is supposed to stand for.
I’ve been thinking about that big “L” word a lot lately.
How I’m really not good at it. I’m really good at loving people who love me. I’m good at loving people who are lovable. I’m good at loving people who serve me back or appreciate me, respect my time and family or who think about my feelings as much as I think about theirs. That kind of love–that’s just easy.
What I’m not good at…I hate to type–is HIS kind of LOVE.
When you read 1 Corinthians 13–“the love chapter”–many of us have read at our weddings or refer to when we are talking about love–isn’t talking about those in our lives that are easy to love. There’d really be no need to write a chapter on love if it was that easy would it? There would be no instructions because it’d be natural. But loving people who hurt your heart is anything but natural.
I want to run. Avoid. Smile and get through it. Jump in my van with my kids who love me back and say under my breath, “Whew. That’s over. Now let’s race back to our farm and rest and be surrounded by comfortable.” But His kind of love is anything but comfortable. And I’m really not good at it–but I want to be. This kind of love takes dying to self, humility–A LOT of humility, effort, confidence in who we are in Him (believing and knowing that this is all that matters) and forgiveness.
You might find yourself in a relationship or situation where you find yourself saying, “I’m done. I’m tired of being the only one trying. I’m serving. I’m giving. And nothing back. Just done.” Okay. So that’s good. You are getting some where. You are officially done loving in your own strength. And now–you are ready.
Think about someone in your life–right now–where there is a struggle…a lack of love…a broken relationship. Someone who your heart has just said, “I’m done” too. Just done trying. Done with your own strength. Because–you have done it over and over and it just doesn’t work. Deep breath…
The Message especially challenges my socks off on how to love now that you are ready to say you are done…
1 Corinthians 13:3-7
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
Now go back and read it again–thinking specifically about that person that was brought to mind earlier as you read.
Line by line…sentence by sentence…in 1 Corinthians–go back and read and stop after each one as you think about this person remembering this first…LOVE NEVER GIVES UP.
And remember–that love puts up with anything and it keeps going to the end.
I wanna love like THAT.
To not bring up wrongs–not keeping score. Even in friendships when you have served and served and served…it’s okay to draw boundaries and say no–but it’s not okay to carry a grudge of frustration that you don’t feel appreciated or valued. Love let’s it go and ALWAYS looks for the best in that person instead.
And it keeps going. Even when you feel done. When you feel done–LOVE says, “What can I do tomorrow to show him/him that he/she is loved?” It just keeps going and going and going—and the one who loves like He does–trusts the Lord to provide strength for each day.
Running this race with you. Know you are deeply LOVED. And you are not alone:)