For someone who has spent so much of her life trying to measure up to the world’s expectations and standards, and at times who has spent so little of her life trying to measure up because I was too discouraged and disheartened to even try to measure up to something I intuitively knew I would never reach in measure, I am amazed how simple love has become for me. And when I humble myself, and allow myself to be filled with the resplendent love of the Lord, how simple, how beautiful, how priceless, how precious, love has become in even the smallest of acts. Acts I never even considered to be acts of love. Acts I sometimes never even considered to take. How often do we find ourselves too busy for love? Too preoccupied for love? Too distracted for love? Neglecting to love? Figuring we loved enough by simply saying the words? I love you. How often are we failing to love? How often are we overlooking opportunities to love because we judged them as too trivial, too meaningless, too inconsequential? Maybe even because we considered the acts of love to be acts that would never be recognized, acknowledged? Or because we knew the person, or the people, would never say thank you? How often have we been careless with love? How often have we sought to be loved and forgotten, or been too prideful, to love? How often have we missed an opportunity for an act of love because we figured the love wouldn’t be BIG enough?
As my eyes and heart open increasingly to the Lord and His ways, and as my thoughts awaken to seeing so much in this world that I have missed but that I now can see in relation to my love for the Lord, I notice things like little acts of love. Acts that in the past I would not have considered, or acts that I might have done but wouldn’t have done them in love. Just more busyness. Just more obligation. Just more anything but what I am discovering more and more. The Lord’s greatest command is to love – to love Him and others. His call is for us to love from a pure heart, to love fervently, to love sincerely, to love with the love He has given us through faith in the greatest gift of love He ever demonstrated – by sending His son Jesus to die on the cross for us. He calls us to love!
Sometimes I feel so insignificant, so incapable of giving back even an iota of what has been given to me, so unable to love the Lord and others in any kind of meaningful ways. But who am I to judge love? God does not call us to measure love. He calls us to be loving, to walk in His love, and to love Him and others.And when I reflect on this, and let go of thinking I have to do these amazing acts of love, I consider all the little ways I can love on a daily basis. Like calling a friend whose mother is dying to see how her family is. Like calling the husband of a friend whose wife is going through a trial too tough to even talk about yet, to give a meaty bone that is half the size of the tiny disabled senior dog who is enjoying her new life free from the neglect she came from, like tending to my beloved long-time dog Jake who is dying of bone cancer, like going tonight to a special night at the waterfront for fellow survivors of sexual abuse, incest, and rape, like checking in on a friend whose father recently passed away, like asking the cashier if she’s really okay because she really don’t look okay, like stopping in the parking lot to ask the elderly man if he needs help with his packages, like listening to someone pour out her heart about how a loved one is hurting her and her husband immeasurably, like being my Father’s daughter. Learning to love like He does. With mercy, compassion, grace, kindness, patience, and a heart full of the love of Jesus Christ.
I have come a long way in learning to love, and I have a long way to go. Don’t we all? So who am I, and who are any of us, to think the little ways of loving aren’t important also? Who are we to disregard little acts of love with the idea that the only love that matters are the BIG acts of love? I can only hope, and pray, that for myself and others, that we take more time, and care, and love, to love. With the love of the Lord, whose love never, ever, never for a single second, fails. For His love goes on forevermore.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” – Romans 12:9 NIV
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.