I'm not the perfect person, the perfect wife, or the perfect mother. I'm not holier-than-thou, perfect Patty, or an angel. I'm just a woman that wants to love and be loved.
As humans, we'll always fall short of both. Some days we won't be lovable while others we will be too stubborn to love the unlovable. Then we're forced to remember GOD IS LOVE. Some might ask, "Well, what does that look like? What does that really mean?"
God's greatest commandment is that we love Him and one another in the same way that He loves us. Even if we truly do understand this concept of love, we fall short because our love is conditional and mercurial. We love one another based on the current connection or infatuation we have with them, what they can do or have done for us, or even due to sexual attraction. It's usually based on a certain characteristic, or a circumstance, and not just because God has commanded us to do so, and the moment someone changes, messes up, disappoints, or doesn't reach our expectations, that "love" alters, or fades. Feelings shift, behaviors change, and gestures of love CEASE. They've reached their quota of mess ups, they don't deserve anymore love from you, they've received all the love that you have to give regardless of the fact that the Holy Spirit lives in us eternally, thus providing us with infinite amounts of love to give and to receive!
If the goal is to be more like Christ, then we should also learn to truly LOVE like Christ! What does that look like? "I love you because I love you, and I need nothing from you to continue loving you. I forgive you for your faults, and I'm going to continue loving you because God has forgiven me for mine and continues to love me! I don't care about your past, I'm not judging you because of it, and I only want to see you happy and full! You are you, and that is enough." Real unconditional love like this may be hard to comprehend or put into action, but the least we can do is TRY.
"True love is a genuine desire for the well-being of another."
If you need another visual, think of babies. You can forget to pick them up on time, make them go to bed early, take their favorite toy, or even reprimand them, and moments later they'll STILL be smiling at you and wanting to be in your presence. Their love never falters or fades. It's amazing!
Do a self-check today and ask yourself these next few questions:
Have I been loving the people around me in the way that they need to be loved?
Is there anyone that might be in need of my love but I've been too stubborn to show it?
Is this the way Christ shows love to me?
What can I do today to love more like Christ?
Here's a prayer to help you along the way:
Thank you for loving me in spite of my many flaws! I mess up often, and yet you never turn your back on me or stop loving me. Today, I ask you to forgive me for being such a conditional lover, and help me love others in the way that you love me. Help me be patient when I feel I might lose it, to understand during times of disagreement, to not keep record of wrongs, and to simply love with no conditions or expectations. I realize I can't do this on my own, for my flesh is weak. My flesh wants to hate and get evens when I'm wronged or stop giving love when I feel I'm not getting it in return. My spirit, on the other hand, is FILLED with your love so help me share it! I realize I am your disciple, and part of my job is to LOVE others with no expectation of reciprocity regardless of their flaws. More importantly, I realize that the love and joy that I need comes directly from You. Please continue to love through me, because there are so many people in this world that need it, including me. It is in Your name that I pray, Amen.
Whether you're lacking love or feeling it abundantly, I encourage you to continue to show genuine love to those you come in contact with. Will it be difficult at times? Absolutely! We're imperfectly human. Don't know where to start? Start in your home. Listen to the ways in which your family members feel loved the most. If you're thinking of someone, other than yourself, as you read this, start there. You mean more to your loved ones than you may know.