“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
[Part one of nine in a fruits of the spirit series]
I LOVE love. The reason I started this blog was to just share a little bit of love with the world. The cute fun stories, the ordinary moments, the hard truths and everything in between. I wanted people to see the real side of life–not the carefully crafted narratives we share on social media but the beautiful, real stuff that happens behind the scenes. Sometimes, it may be beautiful. Sometimes, it may not be pretty–if you know what I mean–but this is my story. My journey of finding something to love in each and every moment.
For starters, what is the definition of love? In my head, it is be that passionate expression of “I would do anything for that person” or “I get flush with excitement when ____ happens”. Both of these things indicate some sort of pouring out. But from what?
I’ve tried it too many times on my own. What I wish I knew then is that you have to be connected with the source to pour into others.
Find what fills you, centers you or brings you joy. For me, it’s seeing the joy in others when they do something they love or that they were absolutely created to do. Bringing out that potential is empowering and creates a sense of community as we build each other up. And, Lord knows we could use more of that in this world.
In the words of the queen of authentic love, Jen Hatmaker:
“The early church involved small, organic communities who gathered around tables, lived simple lives on mission, and loved God and neighbor. It was basic and lovely”
Talk about #lifegoals for a minute! Just being the church–outside the building, being filled by the love of Christ, and showing the world the same.
What’s stopping you from doing this? In your office, even in the longest weeks–show love. In your home, in the messes the kids made for the eleventh time–show love. In your dorm, where everyone is so unique–show love.
It starts within
When my heart is full of stress, thoughts that I am not good enough or negativity, that’s what my responses to difficult situations tend to reflect. But, oh, friends, when I’m intentional about finding joy and filling myself up, my actions become much more of the reflection I want to be giving to the world.
Scripture was created to reveal this awareness of God and his merciful love towards us. In Nehemiah 8:9-10, we are reminded that although studying may bring moments of conviction, it’s intent is to reveal our need for a Savior, and rejoicing in the fact that He has come for us. Not only did He come, but he SAVED US. He LOVES US. What a truth to rejoice in!
“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
I love that God has the ability to root us like no one else. He establishes us and builds us up. How many times have I tried to do something on my own, only to have it fail and finally turn to Him? *Facepalm*
Loving the “others”
Humans are messy, beautiful, and complicated. We are emotional, vulnerable and closed-off. All at the same time. Aye. No wonder it is so hard sometimes to truly show love to others.
But loving those who are different? That’s the gold in life. Our differences are exactly the ingredients God wanted to use to grow each of us into a better reflection of his image.
Think of the beauty in the busy city street. The beauty in introverts and extroverts. The beauty in celebrating differences, respecting cultures and experiencing new traditions. That’s the stuff.
Loving the “hard-to-love”
But, how do you give love to the hard-to-love?? Good question. Search for the good, put yourself out there and try new things. Give more grace than you think you should. Send up a prayer for patience, because this practice is definitely a growing process.
Take time to love others. When they love you back, when they don’t. When they make time for you, when they don’t. When they notice your efforts, and when they don’t. Every day is a blessing. Use it wisely!
When I get to the end of my life, I want people to say “She lived her life full and well.” But that’s impossible without interacting with my world, my city, my friends, my family.
What does love look like for me? Not really sure yet. For you? Probably totally different. But I know that wisdom comes with age, and I pray that we learn to love sooner rather than later.