Welcome to part one of our four-part series on Love! First up- Love is commitment…..
The picture at the top of this post has always made me think of my husband. And I think that is such a statement about how love is commitment. There is such safety in commitment. Which makes me ponder how I’m loving others. When they see this picture, do they think of me? Do they know how committed I am to them? Or am I a fair-weather fan?
One of my kids recently got into some trouble and we had to put some serious restrictions on them. As we traveled through that, I found myself grieving for the things we couldn’t give them, and the things we couldn’t let them do. I want to give my children the world. But, sometimes the world is not a good thing for them to have. This got me thinking about when God wants to give us all the riches and all of our wildest desires, but we can’t have them because we haven’t showed our ability to handle the smaller things in life, or maybe it isn’t actually good for us to have all of the things.
I want to give my children the world. But, sometimes the world is not a good thing for them to have.
Parenting adopted kids adds another layer to this too. We have to show our children over and over again that we’ll love them no matter what- that we are committed to them and to their well-being, and that our love for them is absolutely unconditional. They often will push us just to see how we’ll react. When they get scared, they act out because they need to know that we won’t leave them. Anxiety is a real thing for them all, and a constant companion in our daily lives. They need us to teach them about trust. They way we are often called to do that is to show them that they can trust us to love them even when- especially when they aren’t in line with our values or boundaries for their lives. They need us to teach them how to honor themselves enough to not want to be destructive to test that boundary. It does not come naturally to them.
I wonder if it is sometimes hard for God too- like it is hard for us as parents to put restrictions on our children. Does he look at us and long to give us oh so much more than we could even ask for?
Maybe all of the things are what take our focus off of what is important.
This month we’re talking about love. I think we should focus on three facets: How do we love others? How do we love ourselves? How do we love God? Hannah Keeley demonstrated in one of her training videos a 3 legged stool, when one leg is missing or broken the whole stool falls over. Let’s tackle love with that mindset in mind.
When I love others with commitment, I forgive them. I am committed to seeing them how God sees them, not how the world does. Do I look for their heart in all of my interactions with them, or do I jump to conclusions? I am working on watching for this in my life. I am a very emotional being. I love deeply and intensely, but there is vulnerability there. When you commit to love, you give them your heart. I can stay on guard some times with that and look for possible ways that they could hurt me. This comes from past hurts, but I need to remember that those hurts don’t define this moment in time. God loves us with commitment. He has promised to always be with us. He knows we will fail Him. He already knows this and already loves us through that. If I want to love others like He loves, I commit to those I love to love them through their failures.
Do I look for the heart in all of my interactions with my loved ones, or do I jump to conclusions?
I need to remember that past hurts don’t define this moment in time.
“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16
When I love myself with commitment, I realize the importance of self care. I understand that I can not care for others without caring for myself and I can’t give others what I don’t have. I give myself grace to fail, and encouragement to keep going. I stay focused on the long term goal, instead of the short term failures. I learn from others and strive to always work on being better today than I was yesterday. I put myself on the list! How many of us as moms get so focused on taking care of our families, that we stop taking care of ourselves? This works for a time, but after a while we find ourselves overwhelmed, exhausted, and maybe resentful as well. Maybe our marriage is struggling because we don’t have anything left for our husband. What are we teaching our children when we do this? Do I want my children to strive for perfection, or do I want them to strive for balance? They will do as I do, not as I say.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)
Do I want my children to strive for perfection, or do I want them to strive for balance?
When we love God with commitment we know there will be times that we are asked to stand firm. We know there will be times that we can’t explain away. We know there will be times that things don’t work out how we want, or make sense, but we stand on His promises. We commit our lives to His glory, not our own. We know that churches are full of people, and people are broken. We do not let their brokenness define our view of who God is, but rather the miracles that take place in that brokenness.
We do not let the brokenness of people define our view of who God is, but rather the miracles that take place in that brokenness.
When we love God with commitment we recognize the importance of time with Him. We make that a priority in our day. We also recognize that He commanded a Sabbath rest for us. We make the time to really focus on the people we love and on His love for us. We follow His ways, trust in His will. We use His will as our plumb line in life. No matter what comes our way, we intentionally say, “It is well with my soul”. We look for Him in everything.
“For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward. But as for me, I would seek God, and I would place my cause before God; Who does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number.”- Job 5:7-9
Join the conversation! In the comment section below tell me how you love others with commitment, how do you love yourself with commitment? How do you love God with commitment? Has this brought into light some ways you are not loving with commitment, or ways you could be more intentional?
Continue with me all month as we explore the Four “C’s” of Love: