Ephesians 1

I kneel before the Father... and pray to know the width, length, height and depth of the LOVE of Christ... Amen

Thursday, May 27, 2010

the L-word

So I was passing through a little gem called Greenville, SC on my way back to The Plains from Charlotte when my chauffer asked me if I wanted to stop and see Holly one of my endearing, best and most-missed friends.
Elated upon meeting up, we ran into each other's arms and promptly found an IPA, stacked nachos with mango salsa and stools that encouraged our summer-sandal wearing feet to dangle.
As we sipped and stuffed, she asked me my opinion on saying the L-word.
We're girls, so of course boys come into convo all too often. But in my answer, I wasn't so concerned with that part of the definition.

My preacher once told me no one can look at my life and tell I love Christ with 30, 70 or 100 percent of my heart. The only way someone knows the extent of my love for Christ is by the way I love others.
When I heard this, I was just at the age when my head wasn't buried in my mother's lap, while she braided my hair or playing silent games with my dad. I was just old enough to feel the Holy Spirit gently tugging on my heart, and I knew then I'd never forget that statement. (If you ever see me humming when I'm frustrated, it's the muted version of "And they'll know we are Christians by our love," which I'm blaring in between my ears as I try to find my happy place...)
It was then I wanted to live in love with God and consequently his creation for the rest of my life as long as we all shall live.

So my take on the L-word is simple... Duh I say it. And I mean it.
I can't separate the L-word into compartments labeled boyfriend, friends, etc. etc. etc. It's all the same to me because it's all independent of... me.
There is this stigma in the church that we can only love the person we're going to marry.
Sorry. That may be true for some people, but it's not true for me, and I'd bargain to say it's not true for most people if they'd dissect the big picture down to it's smallest thread. I have loved and been loved so deeply it hurts, excites and encourages, but it never disappoints.
I'm one of those ridiculously practical people who sets out her oatmeal, bowl and spoon and pre-sets the coffee every night before I sleep, and I'm similarly practical in every aspect of life except when it comes to love. And i LOVE it.
I love friends, dogs, especially Traveler, running, camp, horses (not ponies), missions, short stories, wedding blogs, every member of my crazy family and mostly my first love, Christ, my groom. I love loving.
The above mentioned mindset in the church infers that God portions (or sanctions) a pre-determined amount of love for each of us to spend on His creation and Him for that matter. It misses the point.
The relationship we share with God isn't one that comes pre-packaged for portion control like a Lean Cuisine on the shelf at Kroger.
Because He sent Jesus to die and called us to die to ourselves, He rules our hearts with never ending love. I love all creation out of a cosmic consequence of a love relationship with my first Love. I call it consequence love: He loves me, and my cup is so overflowing that I can't help but love others.
If we were at Kroger, it'd be like a gift card with no limit or 'use by' date.

Now, I'm not saying go throw your heart and body at some good lookin' fella or gal at the next foam party you get invited to by some bar you rarely if ever attend. Don't twist this advice to fit some cockananny scheme you know is wrong and should run/flee from.
...Because you know all that matters is loving God and loving the people he created...

Disclaimer: when I want to do things my way or solve problems with my resources, they often come up short of even a Kroger pre-packaged dinner. They taste bland, smell questionable and leave me wanting more. I'm prone to this often, but I'm like a fat woman at Jenny Craig- trying.

Sooo you lovers and closet love lovers out there, live in love and love deeply... it's not yours, and it never was.

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