Wednesday Wisdom 🙂
Inspiration this week comes from Luke 10: 27
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and with all your mind. And, Love your neighbor as yourself.”
John 21: 18
“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”
Do you remember “falling in love”? I do. It was the fall of my freshman year of college when I met my favorite farmer. I had many things going on in my life: classes, swim team, friends but he quickly rose to the top of the list. My perspective altered as “I” became “we” and we began our journey together. Twenty seven years later, I still can say with confidence that he is the best thing that Dartmouth College gifted to me 🙂
When we fall in love our priorities change, but perhaps more importantly our hearts change. We discover that others are more important than ourselves. We find the joy of finding joy together. Many of us are also stretched (and blessed) even further as God gives us children to love. As we navigate the years, God uses our families to help us to learn the beauty of unconditional and unselfish love.
I have found love to be the only truly meaningful inspiration in my life. It is the one thing that leads me to places that I have not chosen myself. Sometimes those places are happy places but as I get older I am finding that they can be uncomfortable or even painful places. I allow myself to be guided to them and through them because I love. I think that sometimes we are tempted to let fear inspire us, but I believe that our God is a God of love.
Just as my heart changed when I met and fell in love with my favorite farmer, so it did again when I fell in love with Jesus. I learned that when I love God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, and all my mind; then I am called to love my neighbor in a new way. This new way of loving is a love without expectation of anything in return. It is a love that takes me to places that I don’t always want to go to.
The first time that I read the above passage from John 21:18, I thought of being old and going to a nursing home. I thought of people taking care of me because I could no longer take care of myself. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I hate the thought of leaving the farm and being moved into a nursing home! However, as I read Henri Nouwen’s book, Following Jesus, the passage took on an entirely new meaning for me. When I placed it together with the Golden Rule and really analyzed the entire chapter, my eyes were opened.
Just as our bodies and our minds mature over time, so do our spiritual hearts. When I was spiritually young, I did whatever I liked and went wherever I wanted to go. As I have fallen in love with Jesus, my heart changed and now I find myself stretching out my hands and submitting to where the Holy Spirit tells me to go — even if it is somewhere hard. As Nouwen analyzes the passage from the Gospel of John he says, “When you are in love, when you are really in love, you can be guided to places that you have not chosen yourself. The person who loves can go to places where she or he would rather not go.” Not only that, but “If we are truly in love, our eyes are not focused on what hurts. Our eyes are focused on the person we love.”
In the last 3 weeks, I’ve traveled across the country to deliver my two older girls to college, and also begun my fall coaching tenure. During this time, I have been repeatedly reminded that fear does not spark meaningful change. Fear brings shame, hurt, guilt, anger, loneliness and frustration. Our country is filled with fear, but it needs love. Love is what changes hearts and moves us into meaningful and purposeful places.
We all need to fall in love again with the One who first loved and will continually fill us with the perfect love that casts out fear.
Please join me in prayer for this 🙂