{Be Real} The Way to Freedom

Spiritual Growth

She left the house, the door slammed shut. My head hung over my computer and the kitchen table. She left in a way that said something deeper than, I’m upset.

What we communicated with our eyes our two giant sighs, exhaling like a chorus, saying, we messed this thing up. Our love should have overcome that.

I’ll never forget that moment. The feeling in my chest, heavy with shame. I wasn’t disappointed in her, I was disappointed in myself.

How did I let something so small overcome my love for my her? How did I hurt the one person I love most in this world? Did that even happen?

I realized it all came back to this thing that lives inside my chest somewhere behind God and the beauty of His spirit in me. That thing we all have, called selfishness.

We are all selfish.

I don’t believe if I took a survey today that any of us would say that we don’t want to love. That we’d rather only think about ourselves, that it’s a better way to live. Mentally, we understand that selfishness leads to death.

But practically? With the everyday demands of schedules and lack of time, with decisions and trying to balance relationships with so many people, when do we ever have enough time to give someone what they actually need? Or the time that loving requires of us?

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And we have demands on us, don’t they see? We have this pressure to perform, perform, perform. Climb the ladder. Dream big dreams. Be successful and make lots of money. Be highly esteemed and “likable.” Get lots of followers on Instagram and more friends on Facebook than you could ever talk to. The list never ends. But if we start valuing what society values, we miss out on the one thing and the thousands of tiny moments that matter in this life.

I’ve messed up loving so many times, girls. And sometimes the people closest to me have seen the most selfish parts of me. Not a malicious selfishness, not in a mean girl, I’m-trying-not-to-think-about-you way, but subtler. In a way that I become absorbed with my own life, and regret my responsibilities to love the people around me. That’s right, loving is both a gift and a daily responsibility.

And loving is more than a responsibility – God’s word tells us it’s our only way to true freedom. On this earth, being a servant feels like bondage. But in God’s kingdom, the freedom we crave comes through the door of serving others in love.

“Use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s word is summed up in a single sentence: love your neighbors as yourself. That’s an act of true freedom…live freely, animated and motivated by God’s spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit…you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day.”
(Galatians 5:15-17, MSG)

The more we know God’s love for us, the more we taste it real and close, the more we know that this life is not about us. We are free from our “self” to live and breathe God, and spill His love onto other people, because of the love we’ve been given.

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We’re all going to mess up loving others. We’re all going to have to fight our flesh and selfishness. But it’s worth the fight to keep loving.

Last week, one of my closest friend’s father died, so suddenly, so traumatically. And I had the opportunity to be present at his wake. It was traumatic for me, too, girls, to see that death is a real thing. A close thing. That heaven is just a blink away. And we never know how much time any of us have.

Through this tragedy, God gave me a glimpse through the veil of earth into eternity, where the significance of our moments on earth pooled together, holy and clear.

I listened to my friend talk about her dad at the luncheon, all of the gifts that he has given her, the gifts she’ll carry with her every day of her life – and I saw it again, so scary close. In the end, all that matters is our love. Our selflessness. Our sacrifice. It is the only gift we can give that lives on for eternity.

Heaven is closer than we think.

So while we’re here on earth, I pray that the Lord continues to works in our hearts and the way we love, to daily free us from ourselves, so we truly live a love that isn’t “me first.” That He gives us eyes to see others’ souls the way He sees them. And suddenly, we see these small “sacrifices” aren’t sacrifices at all. They are service to our King, who has loved us with an everlasting love.

And for those moments when we forget how to love, all we have to do is look at God’s face. He’ll remind us that in light of eternity, loving is urgent, and it’s not about us. It’s about God’s redemption for us, and through us here on earth. And how amazing is this grace? The grace we breathe every day, when we are given the greatest opportunity. God chooses to use us- flawed, imperfect us – to be ministers of His redemptive love.

“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have…
Isn’t always “me first…”
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.”

-1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (MSG)


February 16, 2015

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  1. Emily Boyd

    February 20th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you so much for this reminder. I really needed to hear this.

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