To Love Somebody

Can there be any greater question asked than “What is love” or what does it mean to “love somebody”? Perhaps not! Over the past couple of years I know I’ve struggled to find those answers. I’ve pursued the truth and tried to remain open to the likelihood that it wouldn’t necessarily coincide with my preconceptions. Much of that “seeking” has been shared here with you and as always, I hope you find something in what I’ve written that resonates with you and casts light on your own path…

What do I know about Love?

The first and most essential “thing” to know and embrace is that love isn’t a thing! It’s it’s own entity. It’s alive and real and exists entirely apart from us. It’s a very tangible, personal, presence we can’t possess and that can only be given unconditionally! One that our hearts are either open and welcoming to or closed and isolated from. It’s ultimately powerful and imparts it’s strength to us acting as an agent of change in our lives for the better. Love can come to us through something as common as the “secret ingredient” in mom’s cooking. Or speak to us through the inner empathic voice we hear that says, “You were once like that!” It’s what makes a man rise up early smiling and eagerly head to work everyday! But love can also take us to some un-familiar places like “your knees” where you find yourself desperately praying to whatever god is listening for intercession on someone’s behalf.

Love is divinely kind and wise and it shows us great respect in that even though it seeks to restore us in all ways it will only go where it’s invited or where doors are open. Love truly is all around us and how tragic it is that we can’t feel it because our hearts aren’t open! I think its under these difficult circumstances that love becomes creative and His methods most interesting. Working behind the scenes, choosing, Inhabiting and directing the necessary people and circumstances into peoples lives who’re destined to play a critical part in some cosmic “perfect storm” of revelation when we, as I did,sincerely request it!

Actually I feel like what I did was to demand it. I needed a personally unavoidable demonstration not unlike what Paul experienced on the Damascus road. And while I certainly wasn’t blinded, as a result my viewpoint has definitely been changed! In short…I’d seen the sun in the sky with my eyes and understood with my intellect the laws governing the travel of its rays from there to here, but because I couldn’t constantly feel it’s warmth on my skin I called the whole thing into question.

Of course I needed all this proof to occur despite my heart being closed, frozen solid and surrounded by glacial walls! Somehow I expected love to find me there hidden within the many tangled layers of impervious defense I’d built up over my life in response to the fear of pain…protecting and suffocating me all at once! It seems as though there are definitely times we can be our own greatest obstacle and I’m guessing that’s why it took so many years for all the components to come together. Not only in my life but also in the lives of all who were to be touched by what follows.

And so it happened one perfect summer evening that love chose to act upon me through the simple smile of a young girl. I don’t recall any rapturous swooning moment or anything like that, only the gentle warmth that seemed to reach out to me and touch the cold place inside causing the first huge piece of ice to melt and fall off of my heart! It was an opening through which love could now move, one which also allowed me to feel again! And with these new feelings came an onslaught of new questions, the answers to which were always supplied by “love” as long as I chose to listen. It was in that moment, in my heart at least, that she became my daughter. It became my joy to give her whatever she might ask of me that wasn’t obviously harmful and to concern myself with her welfare. I also saw fit to provide a few unsolicited “wants” to her and her family who were seemingly struggling at the time. I don’t see it as being wrong in any way to love someone or to feel good about helping people but for someone like myself it can easily become a situation where it becomes a bit more about you than it is them and that’s kind of messed up.

Blissfully unaware of my diversion from the prime directive of ” first do no harm” I had waded in about chest deep and it felt wonderful! Then one day while I was reveling in my own self aggrandisement I heard a voice in my head say…

Do you realize that God The Father loves you that much? and SO much more! And despite everything He’s already done for you is still more than willing to meet you where you are…He’s also eager to show how much He loves you! And now that you know how it feels wont you at least give Him that chance?

There before me my dilemma crystalized in all its painful beauty. It was hard to look at but I felt as though it was a blessed opportunity that I welcomed to invoke a “pattern interrupt” in my life and to somehow be the man that love saw me as and somehow believed I was! Simple things in life can be hard to learn, namely that I couldn’t (as only He could) love anyone perfectly! Believe me, perfection is a BIG deal to me! I feel as though whats happened, whatever it may be, has been a real game changer for me. After feeling rather hopeless about certain areas of my life and being spiritually adrift I now feel the empowerment to begin again and make some needed changes! It’s been the impetus for me to look at other relationships in my life both past and present, and at the people who’ve tried to love me (however imperfectly) that I’ve pushed away. As a further result I feel as if I’m able to give and receive love with a new openness in every relationship I’m a part of as a result of my new…

open heart

Here’s a news- flash!

It’s quite unrealistic to expect a perfect love from ourselves or others because our “selves” are always going to get in the way! I have a tendency to not trust in love so I find myself looking for reasons to affirm that mistrust.

I’m looking for a reason to reject others preemptively because I’m pretty sure that they’ll eventually reject me and I wanna be ready! I’ve found that if you focus on peoples imperfections and judge them for them instead of realizing the miracle it is that any of us can love at all you’re sure to reap what you sow!

That evening, In just a single moment love showed me it’s perfect self and then left me at loose ends.. scrambling to somehow find a way to give back the perfect gift I’d been given. Its been a gradual change for me since then but day after day I can still feel the ice melt and fall off. I’ll always be in loves debt and I’m still looking to make good on that… The only difference is that now I understand it’s a debt I owe to everyone!

I’ve found this to be quite a wonderfully humbling revelation!

And in case you didn’t know…that’s what’s known as a “teachable moment”

One which I’m happy to say is still in effect!

If I have any real point to make here it’s only this…

Thinking that God loved me didn’t do me any good! 

It’s only when we start to really know how much He loves us and how passionate He is about being a part of our lives that we can begin to receive the good “things” He has for us and as a result be empowered to transcend all of the petty in comparison trappings of this life that are the source of so much despair!

Treat yourself and have a listen to Sister Janis as she testifies!

Look At Yourself…

I don’t know any perfect people.

I’d even go so far as to say that I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have at least a few issue’s that they’re working out, myself included of course. The same goes for people I don’t know, be they Christian or Atheist, rich or poor, even if you’re the Pope or the Dali llama it really doesn’t matter! All of us share the same gene pool, and there below our fancy Latin taxonomic name I think it should say in parenthesis…

One common approach used by those who feel compelled to address this greatest of all truths as a spiritual problem or sickness is to engage in various forms of self medication. To, by the use of ritualistic practices, behaviors or good works, overcome or compensate for their bad or evil nature with good or righteous acts. For Christian people this sometimes means regular church attendance or being involved with some personal ministry or outreach effort that their church supports.

One thing I’ve noticed about volunteer work in the church is that there’s usually far more people who’re willing to sign on to do high profile activities such as taking meals to homeless people or visiting the sick than there are who are willing to work at the church.

There are certainly exceptions, but usually they have to pay people to come in and do the cleaning, lawn care, and other more mundane tasks that are essential to the function and care of the church whereas outreach ministries provide their participants with an immediate “this looks AND feels good for me”  pay off.

I do understand that in the body of Christ there’s a place for everyone to serve and I’m a huge fan of doing so but have you ever wondered why people who consider themselves to be servants all seem to be gifted the same way?

Call me cynical or whatever but it’s hard for me not to see it as strange, it’s as though what they’re really wanting is for themselves to be glorified by these works instead of God.


Over the past several years I’ve been on both sides of things. I’ve been the person in need and I’ve been the one who was in a position to give. I’ve been helped, and helped others as well. I’ve also been confused by people who would help you as long as by doing so they looked like a hero but then, when it was a much smaller matter where perhaps just a word from them asking after me and my situation would’ve meant a great deal they suddenly seemed rather indifferent.

I can still recall how struck I was by my own feelings when after volunteering with a local outreach ministry I found myself filling out insurance forms so people could get medicines at no cost from pharmaceutical companies. Within a couple of weeks I began to dislike doing it because of how boring and confusing it was at times. I began to feel uninspired, wishing I could be involved in some other aspect of the ministry that I might find more interesting.

I remember thinking… “this just isn’t my area of spiritual gifting!” I continued to show up and tried to do my best. It sounds bad to say it but when I eventually became financially unable to continue making the hour long drive in twice a week I was actually sort of glad.

These scenario’s are just small examples of what I think it means to look into your own heart and see how self centered and prideful each of us are. Of how desperately each of us are in need a Savior, and how amazing the grace of God which is extended to each of us through His Son Jesus is!
To me, the most remarkable part of this story is how faithful God has been to me. How He’s shown me through untold small miracles how much I mean to Him. How is it then that I can turn away from what could’ve been an opportunity to share Christ’s love with someone else through simple things or grow weary in serving God because I don’t think it’s a good fit for me? Things like spending time with people you may find repugnant but who God has put on your heart, or perhaps doing boring, tedious things you may not actually like to do.
Who knows, maybe if by our doing these things in a selfless manor hoping for some privilege to share Christ through it we might just find our real place of service. We all want to find our purpose in Gods kingdom and play our part in His great plan. For some it’s to be center stage with the white hot spot light and Gods anointment on them, and for others it’s to work in the background in a supporting role of some kind.
What most of us don’t realize is that it’s only through our trusting God and being willing to do whatever He calls us to do in whatever circumstances we find ourselves that we’ll ever truly find our way. There comes a point where we have to stop looking at ourselves and start looking only to Him as the source of everything! We don’t look down, or back, or anywhere else but to Him! That’s when the power of the Lord our God will be seen in a mighty way in our lives and in the lives of those who we’re seeking to serve in His name!