The world in which we live has some people who do some really crazy things – holding their breath for multiple minutes for deep water diving, wrestling with aligators, playing polo with a sheep head & lots of even crazier things! Who does that kind of stuff???
Here’s a quiz. Who does this kind of stuff?
disagrees with the religious & cultural norms
touches disease infested people, endeavoring to make them better
welcomes everyone who is ostracized, outcast and isolated
seemingly abandons his friends at the very worst possible time
does everything within his power to help people, even when they’re ungrateful
Flirting is an interesting concept. It can be a playful and teasing way to interact with people, but from personal experience (back in the day), it became tiring really fast. Flirting felt like a game to me, a relational game that had very high stakes. When I look up “flirt”, it means to act amorously without serious intentions. Sometimes, I think we flirt with God: we go to church, sing love songs to God, dress up and act like we love God, but we don’t have any serious intentions of making a long term commitment (except when there’s some appealing benefit or carrot that keeps us engaged). Flirting means that we get to pretend without any promises, chat without any change and be shallow without any sacrifice. Let’s be serious about our relationship with God, keep our promises, change and make sacrifices all with God’s Help working throughout out daily living 🙂
I had a really cool discussion last night with some great friends & I was reminded of a quote from Mother Teresa that goes something like: do small things with great love. When I think about this, here are some practical ideas for some small things that can show great love:
*help someone remember your name without making them feel bad
*look for opportunities to give sincere compliments
*hold the door open for a person without expecting a “thank you”
*give a genuine smile when someone is grumpy with you
*dont wait until you feel like it to be nice – let kindness come from your heart & not your feelings 🙂
What are some other ideas that you can share to help us express great love through small things?
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 🙂
When I was speaking in Germany a few years ago, I was at an event where everyone knew what was to be expected. People were to behave w polite decorum, everyone looked freshly laundered & ironed & everything seemed sanitized & sterilized. There was some nice background music, the exchanges among people were un-noteworthy, the presentations were given in the expected manner & after the event, everyone left w possibly no memory of what had happened. For me, the event got lost in the white noise of life. I was one of the presenters at this event & when i drove home, i felt hollow & somewhat disappointed.
When i talked w God about this, He challenged me with the contrast between expected & exceptional. Exceptional living doesn’t always go w the flow. Exceptional living is when we have a normal conversation & something comes up that says, “except . . . ” Exceptional is the stand out – distinct from the crowd, different from the norm, noteworthy & uncommon. The path of least resistence is the expected. But for me, when i walk this path, i feel disingenuous, unauthentic & in disonance. Now clearly, there’s a time to live as expected, but a question worth considering is: do we live the “expected life” too often???