Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An Order of Love. Hold the Fear, Please.

For so long, all my life practically, I have not loved. You know, the 1 Corinthians 13 way that puts others above myself with love that is patient, kind, and never failing. The reason I love is to receive something in return. I love as an exchange. I love out of insecurity and fear. And it is a poor substitute for loving the way God’s love intends. When I receive a favorable response, I am relieved. When I don’t, I am crushed and devastated. And that is in no way, shape, or form how God planned it to be. That is not genuine love.

I want to love unselfishly. I want to love standing on the grand, unfathomable love of my God being able to give completely and freely, knowing whatever I have given He will replenish. That I don’t need a return from others because His love is enough. “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10. Reading a verse like that makes me think, who am I to try to protect myself when God Himself will restore me?

On the way to a movie, a friend and I were talking about how we feel so much happier when we are content with ourselves and our actions. This evolved into resolving to do good for others without fear of their reactions. Sometimes we feel vulnerable doing something that shows love because we’re afraid of how the other person will react. What if they don’t like me/love me as much as I do and now they’ll know by this action? What if they freak out because I’m showing more regard than they’re ready for? What if they think I’m weird?

But a light bulb turned on and I said, “Why should we be the ones that feel bad when we do something that is good and kind for someone else?” Are you really the one with the problem when you’ve decided to do something kind and generous for someone? Who cares about seeming forward? Shouldn’t we just love? It feels so much better knowing you’re doing what you’re supposed to instead of worrying about how someone will react.

You can always spot that kind of person immediately. I love meeting someone and getting the sense that they are truly interested in me and care about me. I’m drawn to it. I want to be like that. I want to build up and encourage those around me. I want to be gracious and compassionate. I want to be the hands and feet of Christ. So often I put my needs first, but I’m praying day by day I will be crucified with Christ so that it’s not me living, but Christ in me (Galatians 2:20).

Questions: You know what I mean? Have you ever felt that way too?

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