23 July 2016

What Love Looks Like

The other day my yoga instructor (who's also a friend from church who absolutely inspires me) was talking about a kid we both know--a kid whom I love dearly, but don't have much patience for.  My friend was leading a group of kids through yoga and this kid was in the group, doing his own thing.  Exactly the opposite of what the yoga instructor said to do--typical of this kid, I thought as she told the story.  So the next day, the kid comes up and tells the instructor, look, I'm not gonna do it today.  Not feeling it.

At this point in the story, I'm thinking, UGH.  THAT IS THE WORST.  MAN, I HOPE YOU GAVE IT TO HIM!

But this woman, y'all, she looks at the kid and really, really sees him.  This kid likes to be center stage, which is great when he's pointing other kids back at what the lesson is about, not so great when he's off in left field and takes the whole class with him.  Instead of lecturing the kid, or saying any of the things I would have said, she invites him on to the platform with her to help lead the class.  And that ding dang kid hopped up there and did every pose perfectly.

Not how I thought--okay, hoped--that story would go.  It really threw me for a loop.  And I told her, I am so impressed by you...I would have wanted him to obey.  Period.  I was struck by the love in that story, and humbled by how small it made me feel because I get so stuck on wanting things to go MY way.  That's really the problem with me and kids, sometimes, that they don't do what I want.  Then I get grumpy because they're disobedient...but that's just my warped view of it.

So that.

Then yesterday, Noble and I went to the library so he could check out a book (because that's what we need around here, right, more books?).  As usual, I took up my post at the New Releases section and flipped through books I won't read.  There were several on parenting, and I picked one up that looked like a whole bunch of New Age hooey.  My opinion didn't change after glancing through it, but I opened straight up to a page that almost--almost--made me check out the book.  It was a section about unconditional love, and the author talked about how the problem with love is how we make it about how the other person makes us feel.  Ouch.  I closed the book because Noble was ready to go, but that has been rolling around in my head.

This morning, I read for a few minutes.  And danged if I didn't read a section where Jess talks about love from the Father's point of view.  (Yes, universe, I'm listening.)

You know the story of Hosea and Gomer?  You gotta read Jess' thoughts on it in Wild and Free.

Here I'm going to backtrack:  I've been spending a lot of time in my head this past week and a half or so.  Thinking about how I feel, how and when I feel loved and unloved, how I want to feel, how I want more...and I'm not gonna lie, y'all, I was feeling pretty self-righteous about it all.  That's how the enemy works, isn't it? To come in when we're feeling low and whisper agreement to our deepest, darkest, most selfish thoughts...to use the language that we long to hear:  you deserve...you should have...he doesn't...they don't...he should...

Man, that's a dangerous place to be.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8

So, back to love.

I get to this place every so often.  I don't like it there--I'm much better with big puffy hearts and hugs and unicorns and rainbows.

So there I was this morning, in my happy place, not feeling that happy at all, reading the truth I needed to hear.  It wasn't packaged the way I would have expected, but Jess' words about how Hosea pursued Gomer and that's how God loves us...wildly...well, for the first time in my adult life I didn't see myself as Gomer in the story.  What if I'm Hosea, and all He wants me to do is love my Boy and my people unconditionally, like He loves me?  Without worrying about how they "make" me feel.  Without worrying about what I'm doing/giving/putting in...just doing what I'm called to do.

Without expectation.
Without condemnation.

Here I am again, at the truth that chases me:  it's not about me.

What?  Social media just stopped for a second.  For real, it's not about me.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."  Mark 16:24

It's funny, I find myself wishing now that I had some time to sit and process what this looks like.  But that's not how it works--family calls.

Time to practice, y'all.

Practice loving--and listening--when I really just want some peace and quiet.

Time to really see my people--see what's important to them, what they need from me to grow.

Time to worry less about what I want to do and spend more time doing what they love to do, just because that's what love does.

Love doesn't look much like I expected, and it's much more about what I give and do than what I get or how I feel.

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