I was reading earlier this week about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He was under tremendous pressure knowing that He would be betrayed, brutally beaten and crucified in less than 24 hours. In the Garden, He was in an extremely weak place emotionally and He asked 3 of His closest friends to “keep watch with Me.” It seems to me that Jesus wanted some company during this REALLY TOUGH time – unfortunately, His friends fell asleep and weren’t very good company.
But here’s my point, if you want to be close to someone and really connect and know them, you can’t just hang around when everything is smoothy groovy. Deep, genuine and constructive intimacy requires us to be present when the other person is in their most vulnerable and even weakest state. Let’s learn from the failure of Jesus’ friends and do our level best to be present for others when they are in difficult times.
Of late, I find myself being challenged to love more authentically. To me, this means that I’m challenged to love w less selfishness & with more generosity. Here’s an interesting example, after church yesterday, Reece took us to a nice restaurant for Easter lunch – the only challenge was that the waitress was having a rough day. Consequently, our meal took more than 2 hours from start to finish. So here’s my choice: be grumpy w the waitress who is already having a tough time or be super kind, generous & helpful. Hopefully, I landed on more of the “kind & generous” side of the choice, even though I felt impatient, etc.
I find God challenging me to love people more genuinely & less for what they can do in return for me – to love without expecting acknowledgment, gratitude or even retribution. Here are some ways that I am being challenged to authentically love:
- time: taking time to listen, engage, be present, to be less impatient & worried about being inconvenienced
- care: to express care by expressing genuine interest – asking questions that reflect concern, interest & engagement
- affirmation: using words that encourage, promote excellence, strengthen a person’s value, brighten another’s day, forgive quickly, validate & affirm the person even when I disagree w their choices or behaviors
I think that God loves the hell out of us in many different ways. I hope He uses me to make His love a daily reality to those with whom I interact – that’s a tall order that only He can accomplish 🙂