Part 2 of, “What is on focus for this summer?”– I love so many things. A lot of them are pretty good things, or neutral things. I love my husband (He is happy about that!), my boys, my family and friends. I love good coffee, period dramas, being outside, flowers growing, an easy bike-ride, chocolate chip cookies, and thoughtful conversations. You could rattle off your own list.
There are also things that I don’t like to admit I love. I love to be accepted, liked and considered. I love to achieve, win and be chosen. I love accomplishing tasks, being in control, and investing my time well. The list can go on and on. The dimmer, but somewhat acceptable, side of this is: what I love often controls, shapes, encourages, and discourages me. It can make me happy to sad. It can motivate me or make my day cave-in. As I turn up the lights a little, I find often what I love is… so fickle, so wavering, with a lot of “me” in it. And it can entangle me.
It lacks color, fullness– intruding and entangling.
Love is the ruler of every motion of the heart; drawing all to itself, and making us like that we love… Now self-love is a restless, anxious, overeager love, and so the work done on its behalf is troubled, vexatious, and unsatisfactory; whereas the Love of God is calm, peaceful, and tranquil, and so the work done for its Sake, even in worldly things, is gentle, trustful, and quiet. –Saint Frances de Sales in Introduction to the Devout life
Turning the Love around
and changing my focus
Let’s turn this thing around and start with Jesus. There is a very significant place in the book of John in which Jesus points the disciples to the most gracious, radiant, bursting and shaping love ever. And it colors and changes their lives forever. This is amazing stuff.
Jesus tells His disciples during His final time with them that He has revealed to them the Father. Jesus uses a familiar and family sort of word. He says the Father loves Him and He loves the Father. If you have seen Him (Jesus) you have seen the Father– and there is so much to love about Jesus! He doesn’t say, “The God up there, the controller of all things, the one who is looking down on you….” He talks about a relationship– a love relationship between He and His Father, for eternity. This is not some sort of dim, fickle, or frugal love. No, the love they share and give is a lavish, personal, committed, abundant, colorful and radiant sort of love. And the disciples are brought into this relationship and imparted with the Spirit. They are forever apart of this loving family– apart of this family of love.
I then think about this, “What if this was the most important love in my life? Or, “What would the ramifications of this love be for my daily life?” This is the love I am invited into. I cannot help but stop. I love how Michael Reeves puts it,
Then, for the first time, I began to enjoy and love Christ as the Father has always done. And through Christ, for the first time, I began to enjoy and love the Father as the Son has always done. That was how it started, and that is how the new life goes on: by revealing the beauty, love, glory, and kindness of Christ to me, the Spirit kindles in me and ever deeper and more sincere love for God. And as he stirs me to think ever more on Christ, he makes me more and more God-like: less self-obsessed and more Christ-obsessed.” – Delighting in the Trinity.
My loves are pretty dim and gray compared to the radiance of His love. His love is much more colorful.
Love Starts Here
It gets so much more colorful.
So what if I start with this? What if I wake up each day and remember that my Father richly, and abundantly loves me? My life is not a task to be performed, a job to complete, a family to control, people to be accepted by or a love to win. It is a relationship to be lived in. This continues to have great implications, whether I am 10, 20, 40 or whatever number.
I love to tell stories about my kids because I love them so much. Recently, my nine-year-old son was being witty and told his friends that he has two girls he loves. Of course, he knew his friends would be baffled, then “ooh” and “ahh” and start to tease. But then he said, “My mom and my dog.” He got a big hug and kiss for that one out of me! I tell that story because I love to talk about him. Also, I love it that he knows he is loved, feels the freedom to just be loved and share that love with others. Sincere love does that to us. It colors our world.
A few things I want it to color:
1. My hope is to grow deeper in this and begin each day remembering this love relationship with my Father. His love shifts things around for me. In Him I am complete. There is no searching elsewhere for acceptance, approval, or love. I don’t need to be winning the love of others. My victories and defeats don’t diminish my love with Him.
2. This kind of love changes what and how I love. I have been given primary loves in my life– my husband and kids. These are the ones I want to give love and ample and flexible time to, more than other things in my life. The work, tasks, approval, achievements are very secondary, or “thirdary,” or “fourthdary…” My work and “to-dos” become lesser. I become less worried about what I achieve, what I do, what I need, what my future holds… Now what I do and who I am becomes a way of extending His radiance and love. As I am fulfilled in My Father’s love, I am able to be better present where I am and loving those right in front of me.
3. Choosing to see life in light of my relationship with my Father— that I am really apart of a loving, generous, abundant, life-giving relationship/family, causes many concerns to sort of fade away. For, I am held by my Father’s tenacious, life-giving love. This is the love I breathe now. This is now my life– as a daughter of the most gracious, and loving Father, my God.
What I am lovin’ today, this summer, and in the future I desire to be colored by the radiance of His love. It is not as much about what I am lovin’ as much as resting in Who I am intensely and completely loved by. I am not there yet, but the world is becoming a little more colorful.
Next time: Part 3, I do have tasks to do, work to be done… what am I giving my work to?
Overflow: allowing God’s ways to touch our lives and then our lives to pour out to others
- Read John 13-15 slowly, a paragraph or so each day. See it from the relationship of the Father and the Son.
- What loves are entangling you right now?
- Who would you like to love with a more “colorful” love?