A word to the loveliest Connect Group around:
We shared a lot of different things this semester. I hope some of them were insightful for you. One thing I remember fondly is our discussion of DTRs (define the relationships). We talked a lot about our own relationships with God, but I enjoyed sharing funny stories of our own attempts at DTRs. I know many of you were only here for a semester and many of you will be gone this summer, but I just wanted to share something that’s been on my heart, and that’s love.
As women, I know we are all familiar with multiple types of love. We love our parents, our best friends, our puppies, and that guy that sits across from us in class! Love can cause a massive dose of butterflies or a waterfall of tears. Whatever form it takes, people will spend their whole lives looking for it and trying to define it.
As most of you already know, I have very little experience in the realm of love. The one thing I do know is that love involves risk. When we love there is a chance it will be returned. There is also a chance that we could face rejection, scorn, or belittlement. In the words of Maroon 5, love is not always rainbows and butterflies. Again, this is not just love for “that guy.” This encompasses love for our friends and fellow man.
When our love is not readily accepted, it hurts. It strikes us at a place that seems deeper than anything else. All we want to do is go hide under the covers and never allow ourselves to extend that kind of love ever again. Our first instinct is to go into hyper-protective mode. How do you come back from something like that? How do you pick your heart up again when it’s been crushed and dare to love again? Your friend is mad at you, that guy shot you down, that family member doesn’t want to see you again. It all seems like an overwhelming mess.
Take a look at 1 John 3:11-24. John starts out by reminding us that from the beginning, our command has been to love one another. The initial love is the easy part right? It’s what comes after it’s been rejected that seems to cause the problems. In fact, verse 13 says, “do not be surprised that the world hates you.”
If we keep reading, we see in these verses that love is a response to being born again. In fact, John tells us that we know what love is because Christ laid down his life for us, the ultimate act of love.
Further, verse 23 reminds us again that the command is to love one another and that “whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”
It’s not easy to love each other. It’s not easy to love again after your love has not been well received. As Christians, however, loving one another comes from abiding in God. The closer we become to God, the more we can begin to love people the way he loves.
This is my encouragement to you. Go out and love each other. Do not be afraid to love your friends, family, or the people around you. It’s not always easy. Showing love to people involves risk, but always remember that the Spirit of God lives inside of you. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about love, it’s that there are times when I can only love someone because it’s the Holy Spirit doing the loving!
You are all beloved daughters of God. This summer, I challenge you to love fiercely. Go out in confidence wherever you are and reflect the love of Christ. There will be times when it’s difficult, but don’t forget that you have the power of the God of the universe in you!