Things of the Spirit.
What drives us to fill ourselves on our own?
But there's hope!
There's good news!
Joy comes in the morning (mourning, too!)For, love comes from God, and anyone who loves comes from God, and is born of God.
We can only be filled to the fullness with God and His love.
There is no other satisfaction we can have on this earth but to be filled to the full with Him.
So why do we try to fill ourselves with lesser things?
Being in love with my husband isn't bad. Nor is eating food, or buying a new shirt because my other ones are stained with toddler paint.
It is only when these quite simple pleasures of life overtake my first love--Jesus Christ--that I have a problem.
That problem is called idol worship.
It is so subtle, at times I almost don't recognize it. That is Satan's superior form of bondage--the subtle captivity--that I almost didn't see it coming. The Bible says the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand on our guards, then, God whispers.
The only way I have found that always works as I stand firm is to stand firm on God's Word. Yes, community; yes, worshipping God by singing and fellowshipping; yes, serving. All of these are good things. And there are many others to add to that list.
But they are lesser compared to Christ. I cannot healthily be in community, worship God in song and fellowship, or serve unless that love first springs from God. God is love, so unless I am acting out of His love, I am loving on my own limited love. So, then, I can rely on the love God has for me.
Once I am rooted, established, built up and believe fully that I am loved by God--beloved of Him!--then I can love. Then these "lesser" things, the things the Bible says are "all these things which will be added unto us," aren't lesser anymore. They will be made holy, because God's holy and filling love has outfitted me for my calling to walk in love.
I am learning to love even when I am not loved by others.
This is very hard for me.
I used to be an overly emotional person...
...and a very openly vulnerable person...uncomfortably vulnerable, like, why-did-you-just-ask/tell-me-that vulnerable...
...and a person who enjoyed giving and receiving lots of body love (i.e. hugs, rubbing someone's feet, holding the door for someone, being the first to volunteer.)
Although I wasn't always acting out of limited self-love, more of my actions were rooted in how loved I felt.
This was emotionally-charged love.
Not the love God my Father, Jesus my Savior, the Holy Spirit my Counselor loves me with.
When I felt cherished, I cherished.
When I felt loved, I loved.
My emotions were too tied up in this whole love thing.
This last year or two of my life has been an extreme sifting for me (spoken of in the Word of God concerning Peter.)
I am now learning how to love based on God's lavish love for me.
There are a few lessons I have learned concerning this.
I am learning to be emotional in healthy ways so that I am not codependent on others. Sometimes, that means I take care of myself in a different manner than I have before. I may not receive your help, for instance. Remember, I am learning to not be codependent. Please be gracious as I learn.
I am learning to be vulnerable in a manner that invites others to share of their true selves so they can be healed not by any love I can give, but by Christ's love. Sometimes, that means I may not share as much as I have in the past. I may appear secretive or uncomfortable when you ask me questions, for instance. Remember, I am learning to share what is appropriate and what I feel safe sharing. Please be gracious as I learn.
I am learning to love in other ways than body love. Sometimes, this means I don't have to touch someone to show them I love them. This means I sometimes rest and give myself what I need instead of jumping up to serve. This means I sometimes don't volunteer because God's purpose prevails: perhaps someone else is called to step forward this time. Remember, I am learning to not be first, or the most, or the best. Please be gracious as I learn.
This, at times, may appear or may have appeared selfish to you.
Please be gracious to me as I learn new ways of relating with you and others. Please forgive me as completely as Christ Jesus has forgiven you. Please remember that I am different than you.
I am learning that in order to love--with the love that comes from God--I am to love my first love first, Jesus Christ.
You are free in Christ. I may not always understand why you act the way you do, but I still love you. I am committed to loving you even when I don't understand you.
I pray this for the entire body of Christ. May we be one as the Father and Jesus are one.