Generally, I get out of bed immediately in the morning, but last Monday, I enjoyed the luxury of lying beneath my warm, cozy down comforter, allowing my mind to wander at will.
I started thinking about the next day, Valentine’s, including what dinner I’d like to prepare as an expression of my affection for my husband. We wouldn’t dish up our plates from the stove and watch the evening news, I decided.
Instead, I’d set our little eating nook table with a red tablecloth, good china, and candles. I’d go buy Ron a ribeye steak to go with the heart-healthy scallops I’d purchased Sunday, as well as a tiny little cup of Hagen Das ice cream to go with the healthy berries I thought would work well for dessert.
From Valentine’s Day dinner, my thoughts dove deeper into the matter of love. I no longer thought about love to let my man know how very special he is to me. Instead, I began thinking about the kind of love God desires me to exhibit, not only to those who are easy for me to love, but for ‘my neighbors’ throughout the world. Learning to love better is one of my heart’s deepest aspirations. I asked:
- How can I better love those within the culture in which God has placed me?
- How can I, a grandma living in North Idaho, display God’s love beyond the walls of my home, beyond the borders of my community—even though I realize these are important places to begin?
- In the world in which I’ve been placed—a world filled with so much fear, friction and factions—how can I, an incredibly flawed woman, reflect God’s unconditional love in a way that makes a difference?
My questions led me to get out of bed, go to my office and read 1 Corinthians 13, commonly called ‘the love chapter,’ in a variety of Bible translations and paraphrases. I liked the straightforward New Living Translation. I’m convinced these verses are the answer to loving in a more Christ-like and God-honoring way.
… Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance….
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (emphasis mine)
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and 13 NLT
Loving in a manner consistent with 1 Corinthians 13 is a ‘tall’ order, and I’m neither a particularly physically nor spiritually ‘tall’ lady.
I confess, my desire to love better is often more aspirational than actual, but I refuse to allow my inadequacy to immobilize me. Starting with desire is an essential place to begin any behavior change, I conclude.
Discomfort with my current level of loving presents a worthwhile challenge, and I purpose to lean into the discomfort.
My progress to love more like the 1 Corinthians 13 description may not be dramatic, but I’m determined, as Emeril Lagasse would say, to “Kick it up a notch!”
In writing this blog post, I realize many reading my words struggle with the same challenge. I’d love to hear how you are struggling—or succeeding—in your quest to love more like God. Until then, please know that I’m…
Blessings on your journey of loving well…