This book is really rocking my world right now. I'm telling you, God is doing something with me that, quite frankly, I'm a little scared of. I really do believe things come to us in their own time, His own time, when He's ready to carve something out or put something in that you didn't see coming.
Today, the exercise in the chapter I am reading was to ask ourselves if we are answering God's greatest call to us, to love. The way we can know if we really are doing this is to turn to God's definition of love and substitute our name each time God defines love. Honestly, I'm humbled even to put this out there... humbled to have to examine myself not only in the quiet privacy of my own soul, but for others to read and judge as well. Those who know me will certainly be shocked into judgment as they read these, it's startling to see your name laid out there lie this. So, for me, it looks like this (or more acccurately, it SHOULD look like this):
1 Corinthians 13
Ondrea never gives up.
Ondrea cares more for others than she does for herself.
Ondrea doesn't want what she doesn't have (okay, I'm working on that one pretty hard.)
Ondrea doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force herself on others, isn't always "me first."
Ondrea doesn't fly off the handle (wonder if we should just ask my children.)
Ondrea doesn't keep score of the sins of others.
Ondrea doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of the Truth.
Ondrea puts up with anything (should we ask my husband?)
Ondrea trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
Did you put your name into any of those? Now, obviously, I am falling WAY short on every single one of these. I'm failing so miserably I can't even bring myself to comment on half of them. But the ones that really hit home are the ones that most directly affect my family. Particularly my children, whom God has graciously (lavishly and heaps of grace) given me to love and parent. Seriously, God told us to love the orphans, and then He so LOVINGLY called me to do it. He placed a burning passion in my heart and then allowed me to go out and fill it! Do you know how completely and utterly and wholly lucky.... blessed.... I am? How many people have been given a passion in life, I mean, the kind that gives their life purpose to the point that they don't have to ask what is the meaning of life? And then of those lucky few who are called and whose passion is revealed, how many get to live out their passion and pursue it the way God has allowed me to pursue mine? He started by giving me a husband who would carry that passion with me, who would allow me to follow the dream even when he didn't feel called, and then He placed the circumstances in our life to prompt us. He gave us the resources to make good on our promises. And He then gave us a daily opportunity to "care for orphans", you know, the ones "He did not leave as orphans." So, what does that look like? How am I doing on the love scale? Ｉmean, I'm loving orphans... burning for them. But then I'm not loving the ones in my home in a way that glorifies God and brings me into closer relationship with Him. So, though I might speak with the tongues of angels, though I might give everything I have, though I might prophecy or worship, it's all for nothing if I'm failing at love. And I'll say it here first, I might not be failing, but I'm certainly floundering. I'm barely above average and I know God is calling me to more. Average is evil in God's eyes!
By the way, all the quotes lately are from "The Message" translation of the Bible. I love my NIV for study, but The Message just brings the words to life in a way that is very hard to ignore.
"I called out your name, O God, called from the bottom of the pit. You listened when I called out, 'don't shut your ears! Get me out of here! Save me!' You came close when I called out. You said, "It's going to be alright."