Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Learning to Love

I was a little surprised when I first noticed it. Surprised and uncomfortable so I shoved it aside, smiled, and pretended it didn't happen. Then it happened again. And I felt shocked. Surely this was some flaw in my system? What on earth could be wrong with me? I forgot that God doesn't need my explanations; He knows my heart. So I covered the uncomfortable with the rationalizations. "You know I don't meant that, God. Don't let anything bad happen because I thought that." Only an immature understanding of God's love shoves that out like breathing. 

What was, and still is, so shocking? I don't always love these people that God has given me. 

That child that came out of my own body? The one that I had loved and prayed and agonized over? Sometimes I want to go away. I want to say that this wasn't what I asked for. He's not what I expected. Occasionally he makes me want to bang my head against a wall. 

That husband that I promised to love? He doesn't live up to my (often ridiculous) expectations at times. And sometimes he even annoys me on purpose to be funny. 

This baby that I cradle? He's needy. He keeps me awake at nights. He pulls my hair. 

This home that God gave me to build and keep? Sometimes I want to go far away. Away from the laundry, the menus, the dust. To something exciting and celebrated. 

But you know what? I don't. I don't run. Or quit. Or scream. Or bang my head against the wall. Instead I choose to love. I act what I don't feel. The feelings only mean so much. But actions? They speak loud enough for the deaf to hear them. Loud enough for children to understand when they can't articulate ideas. Loud enough to cover the stifled sigh (I'm working on not sighing.)

I may not always be able to control what I'm feeling. But, by God's help, I am able to control what I'm doing. And feelings follow the doing. Want to love? Act loving.  Smile and train and love that toddler. Speak the words of affirmation as much as you discipline. Cuddle the baby while you dig your hair out of his sweaty little fists. Allow the husband the freedom to be him. Love that him that he is.  The dust? It's there even after I sweep and that's ok. 

This life is only happening once. These moments are molding me into something that I'm not on my own. And I can choose to love. Just as Jesus chooses to love me. Not because I deserve it. Not because I live up to expectations. Because I'm His. And these are mine. 

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