,The word “love” irritates me. I know that’s not the good, Christian girl thing to say, but I’m just being honest. And yet, it’s the word I chose for my One Word 2017.
I think “love” irritates me because it’s the most overused, misunderstood, and manipulated word in our entire language. People use it to describe their affection for food and their affection for their children. People use it to justify their misguided choices and to explain their pure motives for sacrificial living. A person can hardly use the word “love” without it sounding cliché. It’s weighty and yet not weighty enough.
They say “love” is a choice. It’s an action verb. But does that mean you can love without any feeling behind it? And is that true love? Can it just be obligatory and void of emotion? And if it’s full of emotion but without much thought is that kind of love just simply irresponsible? Is it completely sacrificial? Or can there be the expectation of reciprocation?
These are the questions I ask. Which makes “love” irritate me even more. I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but what I do know is that over this past year God gently told me that I don’t love people.
That’s a hard word from the Man who said to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).
I remember growing up my mom saying to me, “No one will ever love you if you don’t love yourself.” But I do love myself. A lot. And I always have. Just like every other person in the world. I feed myself and overfeed myself. I clothe myself better than necessary. I make sure my rights are defended and heard and executed. I endlessly mull-over how I was mistreated, hurt, or taken advantage of.
I get what my mom was trying to say – the whole self-esteem thing. But even in that there’s self-love. Low self-esteem is still overly thinking of yourself.
I don’t love my neighbor as myself. My love is laced with hidden agendas, false motives, and masked judgement. I want to look good to others, and I want them to think I’m good. I want recognition, “atta-girl’s”, and accolades.
And yet Jesus is calling me to love others because I love them like I love myself.
This year my One Word is love. The word that irritates me so badly sometimes I cringe when I hear it. Isn’t that horrible for me to even admit out loud?
“Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
I want all that I do be done in love. And as of now, that hasn’t been the case. I hope this year I learn to love for real. With the love that Jesus shows.
Jesus wasn’t about Himself. He was about others.
And when others were in His presence, they felt like they were the most important person.
These are my hopes as I learn to love this year. When people are with me, I want them to leave knowing that they are seen and heard and loved. I want them to see Jesus through me. I want my conversation to be about them. I want my motives to be pure – not gain for myself, but out of deep concern for the other person.
This is what love will look like:
- being a cheerleader for my friends’ endeavors even when they’re not my own
- listening to my friends’ complaints without thinking my life is worse
- playing with my little girl when I’d rather check something off my to-do list
- being present when talking with someone without letting my mind wander to myself
- not getting my feelings hurt when someone doesn’t respond to my text message
- believing the best in someone instead of the worst
- not talking bad about someone to my husband to make myself feel better
- not comparing myself or my children to other moms and children to make myself feel better
- not taking credit for the good things in my life.
- not having imaginary conversations with people I have conflict with
- not wishing I had someone else’s home, husband, ministry, kids, (fill-in-the-blank)
- giving others the benefit of the doubt
From the outside, it may look like I love often and well. But then there’s all the stuff that goes on in my head, below the surface where no one can see. This is what gets me in trouble. I’ve become a good faker. But I’m tired of faking. I want to be a good lover.
Do you have a “One Word” for 2017? If so, what is it?