Love is not…

Love is not staying silent.

Is there anything more powerful than silence? A long while back a group of friends and I had gathered at a friends house to watch a football game. During commercials it would get pretty loud with the din of many different conversations and groups of small children playing. I remember one commercial silenced the whole room. Was it a commercial for the news or some heartbreaking tragedy for which they were raising money? Or even the one with all the sad footage of the dogs on “doggie death row?” Nope! None of those. It was a commercial for an animated movie. What? Why? The first few seconds of the commercial are complete silence. Every conversation stopped and we all turned to the TV. The animated panda simply said, “Now that I have your attention…” and were all amazed at the ingenuity of it all. Not to mention I’m still thinking about it 5 years later.

Silence is powerful! It can communicate anger, disagreement, or apathy. What are you communicating by your silence? Christians are supposed to be working to make the world a better place, but it seems like a lot of us would rather bury their heads in the sand. The church has been eerily quiet on so many issues over the past generation, then we come out of our spiritual comas and look around and say, “wow, our country has gotten so evil! It must be signs of the times!” Now I’m not saying the end times aren’t getting closer, but most of this mess is due to apathy on our part. Love means shutting Netflix off and saying something.

Don’t like the TV shows or movies coming out lately? Find someone making clean movies and support them.

Don’t like the data showing that only 1% of children born today will ever go to church? Stop bickering with other churches and win the lost. By the way, Jesus did say that if we all just loved each other then the world would know we were His disciples.

Think Abortion is murder? Sign a petition! Support a teen mom! Sign up for foster care! Say something!

Remember before you speak to weigh down your words with love! Only what’s spoken lovingly will truly make an impact.

The Best Friend You’ve Ever Had

Have you ever had a best friend? I mean a real, true, I-would-die-for-you best friend? As an adult it either gets easier to have a best friend or harder. I was one of those kids who had at least 5 “best friends” at a time. We moved every couple of years, however, so the next place I would quickly lose touch with these best friends. Why? Because, we never talked. Writing letters was difficult and this was before every 10 year old had a cellphone. It’s hard to know your best friend’s heart if you never talk to each other, and it’s hard to be truly best friends if you don’t know each other’s heart.

This week I had a couple of conversations with friends about their relationship (read: friendship) with God. I asked them how it was going, and they each answered, “Good.” This being their standard answer every time I’ve asked before, I felt the urge to delve deeper. “How’s your prayer life?” I asked. Blank stares. A couple of them had to think about it, and answered with, “Oh, I pray at…” and listed a specific time they pray each day. At least one of them said she only ever prays when it’s her turn to pray over a meal at home. I’m not knocking on these friends. I could talk about how important prayer is until I’m blue in the face (which I probably have). But its definitely ‘Better caught than taught.’

Let’s go back to the best friend conversation. Can you be best friends with someone if you never talk to them? Simple answer, No. I know, I know, when you see them again after a couple of years everything falls back into place and it’s like no time has passed at all. But, you know what? That’s what I call compatibility, not best friendship. Best friends are in your business. Best friends get upset with you when they find out you were struggling with something and didn’t tell them about it.

God wants to be your best friend. Yes, He’s a supreme, majestic, supernatural being, but underneath it all, He loves you more than everything else. Like the shepherd looking for a lost sheep, a woman looking for her lost treasure, and a father watching out for his lost son; He longs for you. He wants to hear about your joys and your sorrows. He wants you to ask Him for help. I always think about watching my two year old trying to put on her jacket when I picture God watching us go through life. I stand there frozen, unable to move on thinking, “Please! Please, ask me for my help!!” How often God must feel this way.

What if someone you love never talked to you. That child that thinks you’re old and boring, who comes home from school and heads straight to their bedroom instead of telling you about their day. Doesn’t God already know about our day? Yes! Of course, but I bet you could guess how your teen’s day at school probably went, but you want them to tell you, still, right?

What am I getting at? Pray!!! Talk to God!! He longs to talk to you! He’s longing to give you peace about the tough things in life. He’s longing to hear how much joy you got from a flower or sunset He created for you. He’s longing to show off His miraculous power and gift you small things you want and need. He’s a good, good father and the best friend you could ever have! But it’s really impossible to be best friends with someone when you don’t know their heart. Do you know God’s heart? Ask Him? It’ll take some practice to listen for His voice, but He’s longing for you to try.

Love is not…

Recently ive been hearing from multiple “channels” about what love is and what it is not. Today I wanted to chat a bit about how love is not tolerance.

This might seem super simple, but I heard it from two different sources in the same week and both times my mind was blown. Not in a “I didnt know that” kind of a way, but in a “DUH!! Why havent I ever thought of that!” Kind of a way.

We know this with our children. Its simple, its natural. We love them so we correct them. We discipline so that they wont make pointless mistakes or get hurt. Now no matter what your thoughts on types of discipline are, you do this. If your child is running towards a street full of traffic you grab them and stop them. To have the chance to grab them and choose not to would be deemed “unloving” right?

So lets apply this with friends and loved ones. Have you ever had a friend that was “running toward oncoming traffic” so to speak, and you couldn’t choke down the shouts of warning. I know I have! The terrible part of it all is, I’m not very practiced in the ‘art of confrontation” so I lost that friend. Yes, I know its not completely on me, but all I can really change next time is my own actions and words.

I was always told “Unrequested advice is unheeded advice.” So I’ve gotten very good at keeping my mouth shut, when it comes to other people’s choices and lives. Do I have an opinion? You Betcha!! But unless you ask, I’m not squawking! Which is most likely a philosophy I will keep the rest of my life.

But there has to be a point, a line in the sand, where the choices are so monumental and so detrimental to the person you love that action must be taken. That words must be spoken. That the “unloving” thing would be to not do or say anything. It would be unkind, unloving, even hateful to simply “tolerate” what is happening.

If you knew your best friend was being abused by an outside force, you wouldn’t hesitate to step in and do something about it. But if your best friend is abusing themselves by cutting, drugs, addictions, or lets be more day to day negative self-talk, sexual thoughts about people other than their spouse, we’re silent or hesitant to do anything, cuz we dont feel its our business. Im not saying we suddenly have an opinion on every choice the people around us make. They can wear the makeup they want, wear the clothes they want, make day to day decisions they do all without our help. Im talking you see them heading down a path of destruction for them or their family and you say nothing. Is that love?

The Secret to Friendship???

This thought has been bouncing around in my frazzled brain for a while. And it’s something that I have always wondered. Maybe, I’ve actually expressed it to a few people, but I doubt I really got across how often it bothers me. Maybe you’ve had it, too.

Remember a time that you are sitting across from a friend, or maybe you’re getting back in your car after hanging out with them for a few hours, and this thought crosses your mind, “Why are they friends with me?”

I’m one of those people that pursue and chase down friendships. It comes from years of moving constantly in a military family. It boggles my mind when I hear people complain that they haven’t made any friends after living somewhere for any amount of time. Yes, I’m one of those people.

Now knowing this about myself, I do often wonder if my friends are simply friends because I gave them no other choice. I know this isn’t 100% true, and I’m not writing this so all of my close friends who actually read my blog will come and assure me of their affection.

I’m writing this for those others out there like me, who wonder constantly if people really do like them, or if they simply put up with them. I know there are so many times I annoy myself, so why wouldn’t I be annoying to people around me? I’m forgetful and spacey, I often forget to think through what I’m about to say. I know I come across as ignorant and (forgive the stereotype) blonde, on a semi-regular basis.

My only redeeming trait, is love. If you are my friend or close acquaintance even, I will love the heck out of you. I might not hit your love language. But I will do my dead level best to remember what you like and don’t like. Know when your birthday is (though I may not send a card, because I despise them). I’ll know your children’s birthdays, your anniversary. Have on hand a couple fun memories we’ve shared, and a mental slideshow of my favorite moments with you and times you’ve made me literally Laugh Out Loud.

Are people willing to put up with annoying personality quirks and weirdness, just to be loved?

In my experience? YES!

To put in my own words a famous quote from the wisest man who ever lived: If you want friends, first you have to BE a friend. Love them!