Attraction is first born at the moment someone laughs, or you get to know them and see them for who they are, it also arrives when we see the other person and their beauty is pleasing to you. Love is born the moment two people seek the best in one another, when it becomes a choice to further that person in the goals and journey of their life.
We can confuse attraction for love, because attraction can turn our heads and leave us thinking about that person, but love renews our hearts and changes our lives. There is a fine line between the two, it is up to us to discern what that line is and how far we are willing to see where it goes, for we will realize that attraction is shorter than we first thought and that we will find many more lines that we find attractive. Love forces us to choose to continue following its line, sometimes we grow tired and we see the other line, but we must remember that we have chosen the best line, the best journey, for true Love will always lead us to the cross and what Christ did; For He is the truest of all loves, and to follow Him, is to follow life to its completion.
“Satan tells me I am unworthy; but I always was unworthy, and yet You have long loved me; and therefore my unworthiness cannot be a barrier to having fellowship with You now.”—Charles Spurgeon (via srtrf)
"This is the gospel, the welcoming heart of God. God cheers when we come to Him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers. Jesus does not say, ‘Come to Me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest." No, Jesus opens His arms to His…
What words would you use to describe what God thinks about you? Please don’t think of “correct” answers. Think of what you think God really thinks of you, without having to try to be positive. Really.
God is glad I was born
wishes I’d read the Bible more
is disappointed in my behavior
lavishes love on me
keeps remembering that big thing I did wrong
can’t take his eyes off me (because of delight)
is eager to see me fulfill my dreams
feels compassion for me
wants me to straighten up so he makes me feel guilty
wants me to feel obligated to do good things
remembers the last thing I did wrong
is glad to walk with me every moment
wishes I’d do more to help people
is disappointed in my life
longs for me to pay more attention to doing good things
Most people answer: God is disappointed in me, or God thinks of the dumb thing I did yesterday, or maybe even 10 years ago. A student wrote to me how her ideas about God’s opinion of her were changing:
I believed God loved me the way you love people you have to love, as opposed to loving them because you delight in their company or their presence. [She was in youth ministry.] There have been a few teenagers over the years who were annoying & difficult to be around, yet I loved them as my students & would be available to them whenever they need me. I loved them by choice and because they were mine. However, I would not necessarily choose to be around them if I could help it. This is how I thought God felt about me! I did not believe that God would choose to be around me if He could help it—that God delighted in me, wanted to be close to me, and loved me not simply out of obligation. As I began to talk to God about this, I heard God say very intimately, “I do want to be close to you,” at which point I began to cry, right in the middle of the school library!
Many people believe God is obligated to love them because, well, that’s what God does, as if John 3:16 read,
For God felt so frustrated about what a failure the world is that Jesus volunteered to be sacrificed so that anyone who feels obligated enough to go to church and read the Bible gets to go to heaven when they die.
Consider that because God is highly relational and is full of tough, yet self-giving love, John 3:16 is actually a highly relational invitation to the best life possible with God as our companion:
God created us in order to build heavenly community-dwelling place for God’s own self. But we haven’t cooperated. However, the Trinity—that gang of Three—want us back! As we trust Christ, we start living an eternal kind of life. (An eternal kind of life is one that not only lasts forever but is of the quality of goodness, beauty and power that we have never seen.)
It may be a different approach to consider that God delights in you (Psa 35:27; 149:4; Zeph 3:17), that God thought of you before the beginning of the world and thought you were a good idea; Eph 1:3-6). Maybe we buy into the “God is obligated to love” idea because that’s what we’re like. We treat others well out of obligation, and since God is nicer than we are, God must do a lot of it.
Only God is not like me at all. God isn’t demanding and pushy but patient and kind. God embodies all that “wisdom from above” and so is pure (not sarcastic), peaceable (not crabby), gentle (not harsh), willing to yield (not forcing you into things). (1 Cor. 13:4-5, James 3:17). God treasures your “real self”—even the one you keep hidden. God wants to transform that real self into the person you would love to be.
that first day, just past 1 a.m. in the night that began the first and was so shortly after the end of the prior, she began to to shatter her miniature idols by dropping those statuettes and vases and jars to the ground. each drop, an extra shatter for her King.
and in just that first day, she began to feel change. is this what a renewing of the mind felt like? so little certainty and overcrowded voices, so much clarity and a heart that only wanted to give itself to one voice, her God, her one Lover, her one King, one Love. every step was unfamiliar, and she could not even press to lean back on the things that she was so accustomed to constantly turning around to face.
in just one day of laying down her idol, of desiring to let it go, she already began to see Him. she saw more of Him in that one day than she had in the past few months and months of holding onto the idol while trying to pursue Him too.
“[Praying] demands that you take to the road again and again, leaving your house and looking forward to a new land for yourself and your [fellow human]. This is why praying demands poverty, that is, the readiness to live a life in which you have nothing to lose so that you always begin afresh.”—(via henrinouwen)
how strange when a song you heard for the first time yesterday in a little shop follows you today in written form as you read a blog subscription digest email (of a discontinued blogsite) that you chance upon and read for the first time in seven years.
i don’t quite know what it means but it’s like whatever spirits had the upper hand with you then are the same ones that are now growing desperate and trying to torment you now.
and equally, the God who was fighting for you then and not letting you go down then is the God who has stayed completely faithful and fights for you now.
“Love like it’s your last chance to love. Love without needing to be loved in return. Love in boldness, courage, fearlessness and joy. And when you run dry of love, know that God surrounds you with an ocean of love… all you need to do is drink it in.”—Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)
“The great spiritual task facing me is to so fully trust that I belong to God that I can be free in the world—free to speak even when my words are not received; free to act even when my actions are criticized, ridiculed, or considered useless…. I am convinced that I will truly be able to love the world when I fully believe that I am loved far beyond its boundaries.”—(via henrinouwen)
“When we put our effort into whatever it takes to help us connect with God, we quite naturally do good things without thinking about them. In such “accidental obedience,” we obey out of a personal connection with God, not because we ordered ourselves to do it. That’s how life with God works: You do the connecting (with God), and God does the perfecting (in your behavior).”—Jan Johnson
“Don’t talk like Saul but talk like David!
Have faith in God and simply find out if __ is the place He wants you to go.
That’s all. It has nothing to do with your abilities and credentials.”—appa, per the usual
“Your behavior has utterly failed to make God love you any more, or any less. God loves you, knowing all the facts, knowing every future stumble. He chooses to love you now, of His own free will, and this love cannot be changed.”—Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)
“I believe that God is better honored when we know and use and love the life he has given us in all its worth and therefore also strongly and honestly feel pain when life’s worth is damaged or lost (some like to complain about this as the weakness and sensitivity of ordinary existence) than when we are impassive regarding life’s worth and hence also impassive against its pain.”—Dietrich Bonhoeffer
and in that place, at her desk, she realized a thing.
no matter what she was going through, no matter what pain or devastation or trial or hardship or calamity or even agony of the heart, if she was learning something about God during it, if God was revealing Himself to her during that time, then none of it was lost, and none of it was waste. none of it was absurd, or useless, or an existential joke of absurd melancholy.
rather, she was only gaining the most valuable thing she could gain.
though it still hurt, and the way the pain hit her was reckless at times, God was there and He was in it and He was revealing Himself to her. she was seeing Him! she would see Him in moments throughout!
and when she remembered that, she wasn’t afraid of anything. because every loss on earth was still her gain in Christ.
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
“Humble yourself and cease to care what men think. A meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He has obtained a place of soul rest. The old struggle to defend himself is over.”—A.W. Tozer
that’s the image i see when i try to picture my thoughts. i realized a thing today. that i’ll always have writing. disclaimers and proverbs 27:1/james 4:14 aside, just all those…. yesbutstill’s aside… i’ll always have writing. if i look back on my journals, i find that the times i was most hurt or frustrated or desperate or falling apart were the times my writing was most prolific. pro li fic. and the converse it true, which is something i seek to change in 2014 (pronounced: twentyfourteen). so when i’m middle aged and have kids, or when i’m old and my teeth are perhaps starting to fail, and i’m mad about something, whether it be at someone or at the world or at the actions of someone or somethings, then i’ll still have writing. i’ll still be free to write. it will require more sacrifice when i am older, it will feel more like a luxury then, but it will still be waiting for me, it will still be the Option (d), right before option (e) all of the above. and so i’m thankful, Lord.
speaking of anger. i just hate them sometimes. sorry, gentle female Christian speakers and authors, the latter of whom i read from constantly, but _________ just s u c k sometimes. yes i’m talking to you, EVERY ___. and yes, it IS a reflection somewhat of many other things that just bother me SO MUCH and that i should not share on this blog.
i don’t want to trust you as much now.
i could be making this up, and i could be scapegoating things to make excuses for all my irrational fears and insecurities and sensitive points, but if i don’t write this kind of stuff then i’d be a near tumblrsaint and that’s inaccurate.
and i am afraid to drive and park this time around, i realized!
i know that nothing can protect her or me or her or her from heartbreak. and we walk by faith because the Bible says do not be afraid, and Jesus speaks the truth and He encourages us not to be selfish and invites us into a life where we do not fear and thus worship things that make us anxious in this world, in which we only worship Him because He is it, and there is Him and nothing else, but in this divided heart there is oftentimes a “but.”
i’m meeting her tonight. i’ve never met her before and i wonder what she’s like. she seems kind of very asian and generally peppy. i pray, Lord.
had a near 6 or 7 hour marathon of a conversation with c this past week, that dark horse o’ mine, and one thing she shared from her pastor struck me because it is for me and it is for her and it is for you. that nobody’s testimony of salvation is crazier than your own.
"In His will is our peace." (so Lord, if my heart is not at peace, where can You conform my heart and will to Yours?)