Last week proved itself to be an eventful one. I “deleted” myself from Facebook, accepted a new job offer, pumped my fist at my favorite new album, and shared the only advice of Beyonce’s I’d ever take and why I’m copycatting the surprising lifestyle of a Russian billionaire. Today, I’m falling back in love with Jesus.
We started a new 10-week series at my church titled, Unleash Love and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Back in August, I launched the series, The Blossom Project, and on it’s founding day, I wrote a manifesto coming clean about who I was. I shared that the primary reason for The Blossom Project’s existence was to become better. I wrote that I wanted to “put into this world what I hope to get out of it” which is kindness and love, and to continue to do so even when it’s impossible to get the same in return. Talk about a challenge. Talk about something in which to be afraid.
This Sunday was the second part in the Unleash Love series, and we talked about loving others – inexcusably, inexplicably, in ways – big or small, everyday, all the time. In case anyone didn’t understand, our pastor used I Corinthians 13 to explain the meaning of love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy; love does not boast, it does not puff itself up. Love is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, thinks no harm. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth, withstands all things, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. It never gives up. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”
– I Corinthians 13:4-8
Talk about a challenge. Talk about something in which to be afraid. I immediately began feeling anxious. I imagined every possible scenario in which ‘unleashing love’ could go wrong. Love is patient?! Well there are plenty of times when you just run out of patience. Love always trusts?! Sometimes people don’t deserve your trust. I immediately decided there was just no way. What if I unleash love and someone doesn’t love me back? And then I remembered the meaning of I/O in The Blossom Project’s url. Input/Output. You don’t put into this world what you know you’ll get back. You put into this world what you want to. Dangit. I thought to myself. My own words came back to bite me again. My reluctance quickly gave way to hope, however, as I realized goals and desires I had expressed months ago are steps God wants me to begin to take, today. If our goals are aligned, then this must definitely be good for me and a good thing to do. I decided to do it. But how? I asked. It seemed our Pastor had an answer for that, too.
It’s easy to give someone a task and command them to go do it. But if that person hasn’t been properly instructed on how to accomplish that task, they won’t do it effectively. Can you imagine putting a pilot in a cockpit without any flight training or who has never experienced flying a plane before and telling him to fly? It is a recipe for disaster. Love works the same way. In order to love others, we must first experience love ourselves. The bible teaches us that love is a chain reaction. We love others, because we are loved by Christ first. And that love compels us to unleash love on others. Do you feel guilty of something you’ve done, dirty or unworthy to be loved by God? You know He loves you. You’ve been told 10,000 times. But there are also 20,000 reasons why you can understand if He suddenly stops or never did at all. “God is love” – I John 4:8. “Love never fails. It never gives up.” – I Cor. 13:8. I began to swap out the word ‘love’ for ‘God’ in the scripture above.
“God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy; God does not boast, He does not puff Himself up. God is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, thinks no harm. God does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth, withstands all things, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails. He never gives up. And now these three remain: faith, hope and God, but the greatest of these is God.”
– I Corinthians 13:4-8
I began to cry. How blessed and indescribably lucky we are to have such a loving God. As we concluded, the pastor challenged us to put aside unleashing love on others for now, and to focus on accepting and being wrapped in God’s love for us.
I’m going to try very hard over the course of these next few weeks to really work on my relationship with God, by talking to Him, seeking Him, and giving Him more room to work in my life. I won’t get so caught up how much I don’t deserve His love, but will practice growing our relationship openly and boldly, believing that He loves me as deeply as He has always said He does. I’m so glad that I went to church, today. While you’re here, check out this recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes. There’s nothing breakfast (*cough cough DESSERT*) at dinner after a heartwarming day. – xo ♥