For the past couple weeks a phrase I read on the Elijah List has played over and over in my mind. The phrase was a question, the question was ‘have you loved well?’
As the phrase has played over and over in my mind, I have prayed to God and ask myself, ‘am I loving well?’ Frankly I see many areas in my life where I am not loving well.
Many people hate conviction, they hate that feeling of conviction because they may view it as condemnation. I don’t view it that way, I love when God corrects me and convicts me…to me that means something is changing in me that needs to change. I want my life to bring honor and glory to God therefore, please Lord, convict me when it is necessary is always my prayer.
We also tend to get touchy when someone touches on a subject that brings conviction to us, at least I know I do. In the past I would blame the person, however, I have come to learn that when it pricks my heart, I need to examine my heart before I run my mouth.
One day last week I had a hair appointment. I had been praying that morning about loving well. I asked God, on the way to my appointment, to convict me and show me without question ANY time I was not loving well. Our God is faithful and within minutes He showed me such a time.
I was sitting in the chair talking to my hairdresser, who is a family friend. I said to her ‘I have a wedding this weekend, I got a call last night that I have to do two things in the wedding. Two days before the wedding I get this news.’ I continued ‘I told her that I had already purchased my dress for the wedding and I didn’t have time to go shopping this week.’ I was murmuring and complaining. When I finished speaking I turned to the left and looked and oh my goodness, there sat the mom of the bride to be.
I knew God had just shone His light on me to say ‘you are not loving well.’ Five minutes and I had failed the test. I got up and went to the bathroom, repented and ask God to forgive me and keep showing me these areas where I was not loving well. I walked back into the salon area, straight to the bride’s mom and apologized and talked with her for a moment.
You see, friends, when I write to you about tough subjects, it is not that I am pointing the finger at you, so don’t allow condemnation or frustration – it is because God has pointed the finger at ME. God has convicted me and led me to share my experience with you.
Later that day I thought ‘okay, I am going to continue with this love path.’ So I did something I should probably never do, I asked my grandkids if they thought I loved well. Kids are brutally honest.
My grandkids love me, I never question that, they think I am the best – but they are honest. I asked Bryson this question since he is older. I said ‘Boo, I have a question, don’t be afraid to tell the truth or hurt my feelings, I want you to be honest, okay?’ ‘Okay’ he said. I said ‘do you think Nana loves you and Brailee well?’ He said ‘yes Nana!’ I said ‘if there were three things about me you would like to change, what would they be?’ He said ‘well….there is really only one that really bothers us.’ I said ‘what?’ He said ‘when we spend the night and we are excited and can’t go to sleep, sometimes you raise your voice to us.’ He said ‘that scares us and we wish you wouldn’t do that.’
OUCH! There have been a couple times this happened, usually at 2:00 am, when they would not go to sleep. However, I saw that in the mind of a child, who has spent the night with me hundreds of times, this is what sticks out in his mind.
I have not loved well in the times when I am frustrated. I told Bryson I was sorry and I would work on that. He ran off, back to his room, happy as could be.
Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (See Matt. 12:34). What comes out of your mouth when you are angry, frustrated or even tired? That is what your heart is filled with, according to the Bible.
What comes out of us in those times is what is overflowing from within our hearts. It hurts me to even write this, thinking that is what was in my heart concerning Bryson and Brailee. Love wasn’t pouring out at 2:00 in the morning, frustration was and anger was.
That tells me one thing; I must put more of God in, so that more of God comes out, especially during the difficult times and the frustrating times.
Here is the good news! We serve an awesome God, a merciful God. One to whom we can run to and lay all that yucky stuff that is coming out of us at His feet and ask Him to fill us up with His nature. He will be faithful to do just that.
Today, ask God to examine your heart. Empty yourself of all that is not of Him and fill yourself up with all that He is. Then the only thing that will come out of your mouth, out of your heart, is Him. May it be so for all of us. May we all love well.