Yeah, I know. A little late for Valentine's Day. But I got a belated Valentine's Day gift on Sunday. It was kind of "ah-HA!" moment after weeks/months of nagging thoughts and half-hearted attempts at change.
All you need is love. Hmm. And if it's not there, man, do you know it! I'm not talking about husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, family, friend... don't get me wrong, all that is important! But the one Love I can't do without is God's love. Time for a little honesty. I never lost faith in God or loved Him. But I had lost my love for Him a little. If that make sense. My passion. My first Love. I still saw Him at work in my life and I desired more of Him, but there was still this something missing.
At times, I thought it was because I'm too busy. And I still am. But I also realized that simply taking things off my plate... only to fill them with other things or nothing substantial... was useless. I wasn't using much of the time I gained by removing things for more time with God. I still had my quiet times and was learning. But I was still just missing the point. It's so easy to do in the busyness of life.
So this little feeling deep down and realizing I want more than this... led me to yesterday. Sunday morning. I have to say, I am SO lucky to have found a church family that is family. I look forward to going, am sad to miss a Sunday, and feel so energized after worshipping and fellowshipping with my family there. I'm usually one of the last handful of people to leave, and most Sundays go by without having had a chance to talk to everyone I wish I could. So yesterday was like many other Sundays, but something... more. Sunday School was great. Not because of anything in particular, but I did see something new about a familiar story. My Sunday School teacher is one of the best I've had and just knows how to open up discussion, make it a safe environment, and push you to see things you didn't see before. Then, our new youth pastor gave a great message on family discipleship; it left me wanting to dig deeper in the Word, always a good response. One thing he said stuck out... God's plan for our lives is something we stumble upon while on the path of obedience. For any of us wondering God's plan for our lives, wow, does that help. And I got to talk to many friends and laugh and catch up and see how their lives were going. Just a good morning. I remember seriously wishing that every morning could start like that!
Then, when I got home, I had a good conversation with my parents, got to go on a walk, and read a book that had been neglected for a few weeks... but surprise, surprise... it was just the moment I was ready to hear what the author had to say. It's called The Most Loving Place in Town by Ken Blanchard, and it's about a local church elder who realizes he's become so focused on doing he's forgotten his first Love. It hit home. And so this long post is drawing to an end.
All you need is love. As much as I hadn't turned from God and still loved Him, my heart had grown complacent. And for me to love anyone else... close relationships or not-so-close (like some patrons who make me want to turn and run)... I have to be grounded in my love for God. If I'm not filled to over-flowing with His love, how can I possibly love others well? I will never love everyone perfectly... don't expect miracles! But keeping my heart filled with Him is a start. I can't even explain the difference. As I said, it's not like I had turned my back on God, but I did know I wasn't where I wanted to be. So while it may not look like anything changes, for me, it feels like night and day.