May 31, 2012

A Little Pondering & Part 2

It's time to join in again with Brenda for Pondering with a Purpose.  Each Thursday Brenda provides a prompt and participants in the blog hop express their thoughts on the subject in any way they want.....stories, poems, photos....whatever!  To join in or just to check out other entries click on the blue Pondering button.

Today's prompt:  Showing Love

Words are pretty.  They can mean a lot (Hallmark built a whole industry on that) and it is nice to hear someone say "I love you," but when it comes to love I lean more toward the idea that "talk is cheap."  It's easy to say what people want to hear, but to put legs on those words is harder.

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 that love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast.  It isn't proud or rude.  It's not self-seeking or easily angered.  Love doesn't keep track of the wrongs.  It delights in truth and it always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.  It also never fails.

That's a pretty clear blueprint to follow.

When I used to teach teenagers about love and relationships I taught that love...real, true, abiding love is not that warm, fuzzy feeling or the hormone driven lust that most of our society accepts as love.  Those feelings are certainly part of it, but they shouldn't be what love is based on.  Real love is a choice.  A decision.  It is making up your mind to take on the needs of someone else for life, to put their needs before your own, to always want the best for them.  If you make that decision about someone then you are naturally going to treat them accordingly.

Showing love, to me, then is doing things for the other person.  It's letting them know every day that they are special.  It's doing things that show the world that person is special because love isn't hidden.  It's meeting their needs.  It's praising them and comforting them and encouraging them.  It's being their support.  It is a full-time job and a lifetime commitment. 

Yesterday I shared about the Bible study I participate in and how it often feels like a spiritual battlefield.  I told about two extreme examples I've experienced.  You can call me nuts, it's okay.  Believe me, the things I described are not the norm in my life.  It seems crazy to me, too.  Crazy and a whole lot scary.  We're not used to that kind of spiritual warfare in our modern world.  It's something we kind of, in the back of our minds, think only happened in biblical times.

What's more common is God giving me a good swift kick about something like, oh....say, self-control or my reluctance to give up certain things of this world.  The teacher will share some gem of information, discussion will follow, and WHAP! God gets my attention and asks, "Are you paying attention to this, because you're not so good at it, you know.  It's not exactly a sin, but it doesn't help you grow any closer to me, either.  And it might just hinder someone who's just getting to know me.  You really should work on changing this."  I really do hear God as a voice in my head.  I know people who say they've heard him speak out loud to them.  That hasn't happened to me.  I can't even begin to imagine what that would be like, but I can admit.....if it ever does, I sure hope I'm wearing Depends!

As for Satan and his crew, I don't hear voices.  Not even in my head.  From him I get feelings.  The big one I described yesterday for sure, but normally it's more subtle.  Satan is like a bully.  He finds our weaknesses and keeps poking at them until they become open, festering wounds on our souls.  Wounds that can cause us, in our pain, to doubt, to falter, and even to fall away.  We all have our weak spot.  For me, it is my insecurities and low self-esteem.

I'm an only child and for most of my growing up years we lived in places where school and church were the only places I got to interact with other kids.  I got good at being alone and amusing myself.  I think I probably missed out on forming some basic social skills, too, since I usually feel like I'm one beat off from everyone else in social situations.  I don't have a lot of friends and I don't have a best friend at all.  There is no one in my life that I trust with the deepest parts of me.  Most of the time I'm okay with that.  I'm still good at amusing myself.

Satan's Lies by Gabriela Love
But there is a part of me (and that part seems to be growing stronger as I get older) that craves intimate relationships.  This is the part where Satan's minions sink in their claws and twist nearly every week at Bible study and my mind starts this dialogue.  I greet and am greeted by everyone when I arrive, but I don't get hugged.  Everyone else hugs.  What's wrong with me?  Why don't people want to hug me?  Those two saw each other through the week.  Those two talk on the phone several times a week.  How come no one ever calls me or wants to get together?  The only time anyone calls me is when they want something done.  It's because I'm fat.  Fat people get written off.  Or maybe I'm just so boring no one wants to be around me?  Why do they all seem to know when one of the others is hurting and band around them?  How come nobody ever notices I'm hurting?  Face it, there is something fundamentally wrong with me.  I'm unlovable.  I'm worthless.  This is how my life is always going to be...EMPTY.

Horrible, isn't it?  I admit that it sometimes gets the best of me and I end up wallowing in it.  Other times I can get lost in the Word or pour it all out in prayer and drive it away.  For the really bad times, I know to call on solid Christians to help me take a stand.  We are not meant to go this way alone.  God fights our battles for us if we let Him and he gives us others to stand with in strength.

And as a side note....if there is any truth, He will convict us of He is doing with me (I'll write about what I'm learning about myself another day.  Just remember there is a difference between conviction and condemnation.  Condemnation is from Satan.


Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

I am the same way friend wise.

As for the hug thing, I'm not a big fan. Oh that sounds awful! I'll take one, but I don't offer them first (in such situations as you mentioned). Guess you'll have to offer one? As for the calling people, well the phone does work both ways. Is there anyone during the week you feel like calling? Call her!

My Kid's Mom said...

I'm not a hugger. Never have been, but we're all different! I do like to show people they are special to me in little ways.

Brenda Youngerman said...

Stacy.... first I LOVE this post!
Second, I am so right there with living a life by yourself - and feeling like I have no social skills. I find that now that my kids are gone I really do spend most of my time alone and most of the time I'm really okay about it....
But my favorite part of your post had to be: Love is a choice!

Even though I don't get here every day --- I do love you ! <3

and Thanks for pondering with me!

Chatty Crone said...

Stacy you are not alone in these feelings - I have had the same feelings. You are very honest and you wrote your feelings well. I have been a stay at home mom and grandma all my life. I am a huger - I hate handshaking in church (colds). I don't feel as social as others. But I know we are our own worst enemies. You are right condemnation is from Satan. God loves. sandie♥

Jennifer said...

I love your post!

Jennifer said...

I love your post!

Craig said...

Stacy - LOVE - you know, I heart that topic. And what you taught those kids – so true – love is not about what we feel, it's about what we DO. Just like our faith is not about what we feel – but what we do. My mom always said, "actions speak louder than words". And those voices – the ones that tear us down – the ones sent by the evil one and his minions that aren't so much words, like you said – but feelings. Feelings are flighty but love is a rock. Thank you for this. Stacy, and God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours this day.

Ruth Cox said...

Hi Stacy! I am pondering along with Brenda today, too, so hopped on over to meet and greet you!

I totally agree with your thoughts about love. It is about meeting the needs of others. And, isn't it amazing how when a love like that comes right back to us?

Stacy said...

Ellen...The phone thing is something God's talking to me about. It's just tough...I am not the type to just call for no particular reason.

My Kid's Mom...I'm not naturally one to start the hugging process, but in a crowd of huggers I welcome it.

Brenda...It is a phenomenon of our generation, I think. You hear so many women say they don't really have friends they can just hang out with. And thank you, I love you, too! :)

Sandie...Thanks for the validation. It always helps to hear we're not alone.

Jennifer...Thank you for visiting and commenting. :)

Craig...Thank you, my sweet friend. I'd hug you if I could. :)

Ruth...Love is definitely one of those things that when given away comes back to you. Thanks for visiting me.

RoryBore said...

The "love chapter"...what woudl the world be like if everyone followed that blueprint.
fantastic thoughts!


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