Posts Tagged ‘love’

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I Love You

March 15, 2011

What is love? How do you know when you are in love? When do you know it’s more than just physical desire and initial chemistry?

I don’t know. I wish I knew. It would make things so much easier. Everyone offers cute quips and romantic suggestions, and while I think all of these things play into love none of these, even when grouped together can be considered love.

I’ve wanted to say it. I’ve come close so many times but I always pull back. One time it was because of fear- what if she doesn’t love me? What if I put too much pressure on her? What if by telling her how I fell I lose her? It was too much.

But then I realized that I would rather lose her with her knowing how I feel than lose her because I kept quiet. But then I got to thinking about it too much. How do I know I love her?

I want to be with her, always. I love to hear about her day, watch her cook (and then clean up the dishes ūüôā ). I have had the desire, the urge, the need to tell her I love her, and yet here I sit wondering if I do.

If I think I do, is that enough? If the desire to say the three simple words “I love you” are so strong that they almost slip out without even thinking, is that enough? I don’t know. But I think it’s going to have to be. There are too many times that I forget to catch myself, and that is enough reason to just tell her. Why should I hold such words and feelings inside?

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Lunch With Fred Phelps

February 23, 2011

On Sunday our sermon was titled “Lunch With Fred Phelps”. I go to a church that proudly proclaims that we are a liberal, Christian, church. The exact opposite of anything that Fred Phelps is. In fact, I think the people at my church are more likely to hate Mr. Phelps than the average American. The point was that it isn’t our job to change people. It is not our job to tell people they are wrong and make them change. It is our job, our responsibility as Christ-followers to love people exactly as the are. We should have lunch with Fred Phelps and not tell him how wrong he is or condemn him, but just to enjoy a meal together. Putting “love your enemies” into this context makes it even more obvious how difficult this command from Jesus really is.

After church L. and I were talking about love and I made the observation that I can totally be respectful and caring toward my enemies, but the true agape love- the love that comes from someplace that has nothing to do with worth or earning it- that I don’t know how to do. I can be the nicest person in the world, but being nice is not the same as loving someone. Love affects our actions, but our actions can be loving without the reason being love. I am completely and utterly incapable of true agape love on my own. But that’s the point. That’s the beauty of it. We can’t. We aren’t expected to. Our role is to allow God to work in our lives to create that love for others inside us. My job is to make room for God to take over until I start to see everyone through God’s eyes and not my own. Because the only being capable of true agape love is God. And the only way we can even begin to experience it is by allowing ourselves to be transformed by God. On my own the best I can do is show respect and kindness. But this is not what God has called me to. God has called me, and you, to a standard that requires submitting ourselves fully to him.

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Infantile Romance

February 12, 2011

It’s Valentine’s Weekend- the “official” weekend to celebrate love and that significant other you have found (or for those who until this year were in the same position I was, a weekend to grumble and complain about all the lovey dovey stuff going on around you). Today marks exactly 2 weeks that my girlfriend and I have been dating. It’s crazy to look back and realize it’s only been two weeks, it feels like a different lifetime. But as I rev up for our “big” celebration I realize that while I’m not big on Valentine’s day, or any of the commercialization surrounding it, I do want to show L. how I feel, and so there’s a lot of pressure. But, what’s more I am realizing how major a change this is in my life.

I used to talk with my other “single” friends about how frustrating and irritating it was that once someone started dating they suddenly disappeared. I always swore that would never be me, and yet, it is incredibly hard to not be that person. I don’t really want to give up a night with L. to go have dinner with friends. I don’t want to give up an afternoon with L. to have coffee. I don’t want to give up a single second that could be spent with her to spend time with my friends- who I still like a lot, but who just can’t fill the desires that L. does.

I feel safe. I feel comfortable. I feel challenged. I find myself expanding. I am becoming more aware of what I want, and at the same time becoming more aware of what she wants. I love the feel of her hand in mine, the smell of her as we sit watching a movie, the sound of her laughter, and the way her face looks when I say or do something that she finds humerus. I feel pain when she is sad, I worry when she worries, my heart breaks a little when I see her hurting.

So why say this here? Why do I feel the need to share this with you all? It’s because to me this is the point of celebrating Valentine’s day. It’s a silly holiday, it should be completely¬†unnecessary. But when a relationship is no longer new I think we forget about celebrating these remarkable things. When time has passed we become comfortable and¬†complacent and we need to have occasions that remind us of the joy and beauty to be found in a relationship. Much like we have holidays in the church calendar to remind us of what’s important, we need holidays and momentous occasions to remind us what’s important in a relationship.

Get past the cheesiness of this holiday and remember the joy you first had in your relationship. Remind yourself and your loved one just what a treasure your relationship is. And if you can’t do that, take the time to figure out how you can get that back.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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My provider, my Hope

January 30, 2011

It’s been hard. Not really harder than expected, but harder in a different way. I’ve seen God’s faithfulness and provision as he’s provided exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it, and not a minute early or a minute late. But the waiting, the not knowing, the wondering if the next time I am in need will be the time that God chooses to wait a minute longer, has been exhausting. Draining and bringing me ultimately to a place where happiness seemed a thing of the past. Joy and peace have been ever present, but the giddy let it all go nothing to worry about happy feeling hasn’t been around in a long time. And I realize now that I’m at the end of my rope. I don’t think I could go on much longer without finding that happiness back.

Last Saturday I went to Second City. It was hilarious and in a very weird way life changing for me. It was the first time in months that I found myself truly feeling that happy feeling. The first time in months I just let go and had fun. And that night as I went home and went to bed I felt God telling me that things were going to get back to that again-soon. I went to church Sunday morning and while I can’t say I did a very good job worshiping God at church other things, community and relational things, were amazing and powerful and life-giving. Despite this being the hardest week at work I have yet had I felt a perpetual hope that this was it, this was the brink, the edge of the cliff. And it was, in ways I cannot yet fully comprehend.

The day after the worst day I have ever had at work came I got a call for an interview, which I had on Friday and by Friday afternoon I had a new job. Friday night and Saturday were spent with a girl who came out of nowhere and who makes my stomach tight and my heart beat faster and makes me feel safe. Which is beyond terrifying because I have never felt that way so quickly before, but it’s amazing and beautiful and hope building. And as I sit here looking over the past week I can’t believe how quickly and how greatly God has provided.

He is my hope, he is my salvation, he is my Father. I can see and feel and know in the deepest parts of who I am that God desires my happiness and my pleasure and my peace. Because no matter what happens from here God has blessed me when I was wondering if I could make it through another week. When I wondered what the next week would hold that would provide what I needed, God blew me away with his generosity.

I’m falling now. The edge of the cliff is behind me, the ground is below. I don’t know what it holds, but I know that God is guiding me and that he will place a trampoline at the bottom of the cliff, or perhaps I will fall and find myself broken and not knowing what comes next, but I know that God will be there to pick me up and put me carefully back together. Until the bottom arrives I don’t know which it will be, but I do know that God loves me and I know that love does not seek to hurt.

If you’re at the end of your rope, hold on. If you don’t know how to hold on, then let go. But whatever you do, trust that God is there, that God will provide. Perhaps only exactly what you need, but perhaps he will blow you away with the amazing things he gives you today, this week, this year.

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I am part of the problem

October 21, 2010

I wore purple yesterday, did you? It was a great idea and hopefully it gave hope to many, but simply wearing purple is not enough- it wasn’t enough yesterday and it isn’t enough for today and tomorrow and all the days to come. Neither is tweeting about love or against bullying. These are all great things, all beneficial and steps in the right direction, but none of these things alone or combined is enough. We must change the way we think about others in order to overcome bullying and hate.

I am part of the problem. I hate having to admit it, but I am. Although I rarely if ever act on my thoughts and feelings I still look at non-Christians as missing something (which they are in some ways but not others). They don’t have a relationship with Jesus, but that doesn’t make them any less of a person that I am, but I think somewhere along the way I got this mind set that they are. Now, people who are my friends and are not Christians I don’t have the same problem with. I see them as people just like I see my Christian friends as people, but unless I get to know someone I look at them and base a lot of how I see them on whether they are or are not a Christian.

I don’t like this and I’m working to change it. But when I think about it I can’t help but see how this mentality applied to any particular group of people (LGBT, religious groups, handicaps, race, etc) helps to contribute to bullying. If we view people as being less than or as missing something that we have then we automatically view them as lower than us and that means that we have less problem treating them poorly. We are far more likely to bully someone if we think of them in a less than whole way.

The end to bullying, and the end to hate,¬† can only fully come when we change the entire way we view others. When I encounter someone different than myself I need to ensure that I do not pre-judge them, I need to make sure that I don’t diminish them as a person for any reason, and when I feel threatened by their difference I need to recognize this as a fault in me and not a flaw with them. Only when the “other”¬†becomes equal to or greater than myself can I truly love them. And love is what conquers hate, and bullying is born of fear and hate.

I’m still working on it, are you?

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Grace

September 24, 2010

***Part Two of my thoughts on If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person.***

Grace. It’s a big word, full of meaning and various understandings and interpretations. One of the things I will take away from reading “If Grace Is True” is how the authors have chosen to define grace. “By grace I mean God’s unfailing commitment to love”. I really like this understanding of grace, because it shows most clearly what it really is. Grace is God’s love overcoming everything else to draw us to him. It is God’s willingness to do whatever was/is necessary for us to have relationship with him.

One of the arguments the authors make regarding universal salvation is that the Bible presents us with two Gods- the God revealed in the Old Testament and the God revealed in Jesus Christ. They then suggest that the only accurate picture of God is the latter. That God is indeed only loving, and completely and perfectly so. That because of this, we must discard the contradicting testimonies of God acting in the world and instead recognize that because God is all loving and all powerful everyone will be saved eventually, because that is the only truly loving thing that can be done.

Grace is God’s perfect love conquering everything. Grace is God’s love taking us filthy dirty humans and making us shiny, clean, and new. Grace is when even after being made clean we get filthy again and God once more cleans us up and makes us new. And what’s remarkable, what’s amazing, what’s inhuman about this is that God does all of this without being even slightly tarnished by our filth. No matter how dirty I am, no matter how often I ignore the guidelines given me and go and get filthy and run down and beat up, God takes me in his arms and makes me clean again without even a smudge getting on him.

But where I take issue with the argument of the authors is that they believe this is something everyone will experience. I believe it is something everyone could experience, but not all will allow it. God has chosen to allow us a choice whether we wish to be clean or not. The longer we stay dirty the more miserable we will be, even if we don’t realize it. But God will never force us to be made clean and new. God will wait eagerly, but patiently at the door, for us to realize that being made clean and new is better than living in filth. And then no matter how filthy we are he effortlessly makes us clean. Even Hitler, even the 9/11 masterminds, even me. But the only way for us to be made clean is for us to allow God to do it. I believe that. I believe that God has given us free will because he desires a real and authentic relationship with us. To say that God will save everyone is essentially saying we don’t actually have free will.

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Longing

July 12, 2010

I wanted to write this nice, elegant post about longing and desire and letting God fill the hole, and…

Instead I couldn’t come up with any nice elegant things to say.

It sucks. I was fine, I still am fine most of the time. But then days come along where the longing seems to consume every minute, no matter what I try to do to fill it in. That’s been today.

I had an awesome day yesterday hanging out with new friends. Last night I went to bed full of joy and gratitude for these new people. And none of that has gone away.

But after spending a day with a couple who has so much of what I long for I woke up this morning feeling exceptionally lonely, and wishing I was waking up next to someone. As I made dinner I wanted to be making it for someone else too. At church this morning I longed to have someone standing beside me as the reality took route. And everything today just seemed like it needed a second person to make it complete.

I know God is all I need. I know God can fill the emptiness I feel. And I’m not just saying these things because they are the right things to say. I have experienced it, I know it, I live in it 95% of the time. But right now it doesn’t feel true.

Obviously God created us for human companionship as well, today I know this more than I do most days. And it hurts.

I think this may be why God created ice cream.