Thursday, May 6, 2010

The "Act Like It" Phase

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will go strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

My last "break through" lesson in love was that God loves me. His love is unconditional, safe, and...permanent. The resulting challenge (God loves to challenge and stretch His kids!) was that I should live and love as though I am the recipient of the literally outrageous love of the Creator of the Universe. This is the "lab" part of my Love 101 course. This is where I apply what I've learned practically. I like to call it the "act like it" phase of my learning. The interesting thing is that, in this lab, I am studying myself as much as I am studying love.

What's that? You want to know what I've learned? I was really afraid you were going to ask! Well, the short version is that I've learned that I am a wimp! I am short-sighted, I am easily distracted, and I am self-focused. Hey, come on, you asked! BUT...I am also learning over and over on a daily basis, that I have an incredible Abba Daddy who is always willing to forgive and never willing to give up on me.

And although I am not setting any world's records in regard to how quickly I'm learning, I am finding that when I become distracted by my own fragile ego it is taking less time to re-focus and "hear" the Holy Spirit's still, small voice. And His voice always says, "Focus on Me, my daughter. Remember that I love you - always. And I will help you see those you are struggling with through My eyes. Sweetheart, I love them like I love you and I want you to love them the way I do."

Do I need to be loved by the people I love? Yes, the plain truth is that I do need some of them to love me. We all do, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. That is the way God wired us. But because of the safety and security in Jesus' love for me, I can love people who don't love me back. Some days when my focus is more on myself than Jesus it can feel brutal. At other times I am filled with a longing, a literal ache, for the "hard to love" people in my life to realize and embrace the intensity of God's love for them. On those days God's Spirit whispers to my spirit, "Now you are learning what real love looks like."

"Still the prayer I had prayed nearly every day for over a decade remained: Jesus, let me love with Your love and see with Your eyes. Show me what it means to be the expression of Your heart to those around me. Because I knew more than ever that His love did indeed have a face: mine."
Michelle Perry from Love Has A Face

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