Learning to Love

Amy Brandt has been on our Collide team for a few years and her presence on this team has been so special as she brings her counseling background and her spiritual wisdom, but even more she truly desires to love those around her, to shine the light of Jesus and to see transformation take place in people’s lives. I think you will truly enjoy her humility and be able to say amen to her prayer as you make it your prayer as well! – Willow

“Love….true Love…. is what brings us…. together…. today…”

I have a dear friend getting married in a month. And today we spent over an hour talking about the wedding, her man, marriage and thanking God for His goodness. While she has waited longer than she would have wanted to marry, God has faithfully delivered a great man.

Talking with her has me thinking about and reflecting on Love, not to mention Valentine’s Day was a few weeks ago. I’m not sure about you, but the older I get the more convinced I am that I don’t know how to love. The older I get the more aware I am of my selfishness and my inability to love the way that I wish I could.

This very popular and perhaps over-quoted verse from 1 Corinthians is supposed to be our goal right? The Message translates it this way:

Love never gives up

I feel like giving up all the time. My patience is limited especially when my little one dumps the dog’s water on the hardwoods for the 15th time.

Love cares more for others than for self

I so wish this was true of me, but I really spend more time thinking about myself.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Oh Contentment….how elusive you are!

Love doesn’t strut,

Maybe I do okay at this one? But sometimes I get the balance between humility and self-loathing wrong.

Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,

I’m more of a glass half empty kind-of gal thank you very much! ☺

Never looks back,

This one is so hard. How do we not wish away the present, not avoid the past or look forward to the future? How do we accept and delight in what God has given now?

But keeps going to the end.

Do you ever do this? Read this verse or other verses and go through it like a giant checklist? I think that it is easy for me to feel discouraged in the conviction this verse brings. I am still learning to love; learning to love myself, my husband and our son. It’s hard to love sometimes. Or it’s hard to love selflessly without strings attached. It’s hard to love when my hairbrush is thrown into the toilet again, and when my feelings get hurt again. It’s hard to love myself when I find myself struggling with the same sins again and again.

It can be disheartening until I remember this…

He who began to work in you, will keep transforming you. He will make you more and more like Him until He returns. (paraphrase of Philippians 1:6)

Transforming me…that means that I am in process and I am not finished yet. Thank goodness! I don’t have to have this Love thing down yet. I desperately want to. I feel like I am learning that being a good lover to my husband and my son is less about perfection and more about being a learner.

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It’s not about getting it right. It’s about learning to love better, deeper. It’s about trying and trusting!

 And trying is hard work. You can’t sit on the bench and learn to love. Loving is active. It’s about trying and succeeding and then trying and failing. And then trying again and learning and growing and trying.

It’s about accepting and owning my imperfections without bashing myself for them and trusting God to continue to make me lovely…because He promises to.

 It’s about having a heart that wants to grow in love and inviting a God, who is gentle and sweet, to transform me. God isn’t standing over me, holding a clipboard (I’m a counselor so sometimes when I picture God, He has a clipboard) shaking His head and furiously making notes about my lack-luster Love performance. He’s more like the swim coach that gets in the water with you and shows you how a little tweak here and a little tweak there will improve your back stroke.

 So Jesus, teach me to love.  Help me to be a woman who is open to your conviction and your transformation. Help me to know how much you love me. Help me to remember that you are loving, kind and gentle and that like a coach, you have my best interest at heart. I invite you to lovingly and gently transform me. I want a better backstroke. I SOOOOO wish to love well; to be a gift of love to the people around me. I want to be lovely in my actions towards others and myself. Thank you that I can trust you to grow me in Love…true love. ☺ -Amy

 

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