For those of us who have been in love and in that relationship for a long while we know that how we see that love, feel that love and experience that love takes on many different faces over time. The phase that seems to get the most attention is the one that is the shortest lived, the heart palpitating, weak in the knees, stars in the eyes experience when we first fall in love. While it is usually the briefest phase it seems to be how love is measured and overshadows the love that has matured and becomes the foundation of a love long lived. I hadn’t really given it much thought in how that same mindset applies to how we see and experience our relationship with our Heavenly Father but as I continue this journey of discovery, step by little step, I realized that similar to the way we have a tendency to measure the depth of love of a person by that first phase of feelings of love, so we may measure our Father’s love for us by our initial experience when we were first saved and were so lost in the feeling of freedom from sin and the gratefulness and thankfulness that He rescued us from being so very lost. But days go by, months, years and for some of us, decades and we miss that euphoria, reckless abandon and sheer gratefulness.
In Revelations 2 Jesus talks about the church of Ephesus and I find it interesting because they are living out some amazing godly character traits but even with that they still lost their first love. I want to know how to not only keep my first love but enjoy all phases of the maturity of love and really become “God loves Me” minded. In that endeavor here are some things that I’m realizing short circuit my ability to recognize His unchanging love for me and also some things that combat and overcome those challenges. One of the greatest obstacles to my ability to realize how very much I am loved is living in a fallen world where we are surrounded by selfishness, pain and calamity. A few months ago I was looking at a major city and while aspects of the city were cool, like the architecture of certain buildings, overall the city streets were dirty, chaos in the traffic and pollution in the air. I mentally compared that to an area that I had recently visited that was basically untouched by human hands and the sheer beauty of the trees, hills, grass and rocks. Somehow I was really touched by realization that what man builds decays but what God creates has such a loveliness and peace and it revealed to me that if I can allow God to change the way I look at things I can go from feeling far away from Him to being drawn ever closer without having to change my physical location.
How can we do that? Let’s go back to our behavior when we’re first in love. We see all of that person’s wonderful traits, and we have patience for what we perceive as shortcomings. We put out huge amounts of effort to spend time together, to talk and laugh, dream and plan. Now we know that intensity of those feelings change over time, but let’s look at the components of our actions vs. the feelings. Actions such as making that person a priority, focusing on that person and seeing the amazing traits about them, being thankful and gracious, and most importantly, really getting to know them. As I think about that I realize that while the emotional experience may transform over time, the actions that I can take to be in a position to see how much my Heavenly Father loves me can stay the same and put me in a place to daily see His love for me and relate to Him out of that great love. I ensure that I’m making time to spend time in His Word and read it as a love letter to me. I work to have a thankful heart and as I live each day I’m looking for the good in my circumstances and situations and giving Him thanks for the small and large blessings. I’m allowing my perspective to be of one where my feet are in the beautiful wilderness He has created and regardless of if I’m having to actually spend time in the “big city” to have a view to His majesty that He created for me.
In the chapter above from the Song of Solomon both individuals are speaking the things they love about the other person. They are encouraging words, saying things that make each other feel special and unique. When we read the Bible we see how our Heavenly Father created us unique and special. Throughout He shows us that it is His plan to care for us and in Romans 8:38 Paul reminds us, “38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So here’s our challenge, to daily become God Loves Me minded. Even if you are in a difficult stage of your life or surrounded by what looks like ugliness and decay, He’s still there and He is working to bring love and beauty to you every day. We have to choose to take our focus off of the unpleasant things, things we wish weren’t there, and instead be diligent to see that we are on God’s mind and He is doing many, many things each day and, like the lovers in Song of Solomon, tell Him what we see and have a grateful and thankful heart. As we do that our spirits will, step by step move from focusing on the corrupted work man has made and see the glorious beauty of what our Heavenly Father has created…for you!
A Daughter’s Prayer – Abba, I need to set my mind and keep it set on things above and not things here on earth. My desire is to fully experience Jesus’ peace, not the world’s peace, but His peace. To live in joy unspeakable and full of glory. To be in your perfect love that casts out all fear. To walk after the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. To be in this world but not of this world. Holy Spirit, please teach me how to not live based upon what I see and hear, but instead to live by the truth of God’s Word, of who He is in my life and Jesus living in me and me in Him. This world is not my home, my home is in You and all that I need for while I am here is available to me. I pray Your graciousness and goodness over my footsteps. All we have is because of You and may it be a blessing to others. Surely goodness and mercy are following us, overtaking us and overflowing. May people see Jesus in me and know of Your wonderful works and Your great love for each and every one of them. In Jesus’ holy name, amen.