By Judy Villanueva
John 21:15 “Do you love Me?”
Stuck in the bathroom, I attempted to muster the courage to go back out into the party. It was a gathering of people with whom I felt out of place and misunderstood. Granted, they were just feelings and likely not even true, but it is how I felt. Overwhelmed, I slipped into this awkward space to pray. “Lord, I thought I would do better today! I prepared beforehand. I prayed, read the Word, determined to love well, and yet, here I am, stuck in the bathroom feeling so defeated. Help me to be strong!” What I heard in reply surprised me. “I am here. It’s ok. Return to love in weakness. I am with you.” This felt strangely freeing, mostly because the only place I could love from, at that moment, was from weakness. So, I returned to the party and loved…weak and a bit scrambled up inside, but freed to love!
The only thing that keeps me from loving on any given day is me.
For sure, many things threaten to box me in and block God’s flow of love. I might be tired, irritable, or anxious. I might be constrained by the pressure of feeling insecure, less than, or judged. It might even be that the person in front of me is just plain unloving! Each and every time, I have a decision to make to either step back from loving or, to pause and ask for God’s help to move forward. When I am in these situations, my first taste of freedom often comes from simply deciding to love, and the next ones from giving myself fully to this decision. In other words, as I act on believing that God is able to empower me to love beyond my fatigue, insecurity or dread, grace begins to flow!
Here is the incredible thing about any decision to love. When we love, we bless and honor Jesus! We answer His question, “Do you love Me?” with a resounding “Yes! I love You, Jesus!” whenever we avail ourselves to be filled and poured out for another.
Can you imagine that it is possible to bless the heart of God when and as we love?
That is quite a notion! And, thankfully, it counts even when we love imperfectly and in weakness. We must never forget what it means that the Spirit of God lives within us. We walk around with access to an inexhaustible spring of deep and bountiful love! We may feel boxed in and scrambled up, but when we find our way out of our awkward spaces and cry out for help, we discover that wide and rich waters of love await us. Come, drink and love Jesus!
“Lord, I bump into mini-crossroads every day where I am aware of my love-limitations. I am selfish and in need of Your well that is inexhaustible! I want You to hear my “Yes, I love you!” as I love others. I want to bless You! Fill me and free me to love. Amen.”
What about you?
Do you feel free to love others? Are you aware of what closes off your heart?
Have you considered that in loving others, you bless the heart of God? I