This is what a group of 4 to 8 year olds answered when asked, “What does love mean?”
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that you name is safe in their mouth.” Billy-age 4
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy-age 6
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas when you stop opening presents and listen.” Bobby-age 5
It can be mindboggling as we attempt to describe love. The Bible defines it well in the verse I John 4:16, “God is love.” But even that succinct d
efinition can leave one mystified. I found great clarity in defining love, in I Corinthians 13:1-6. I also nestled into the thought, if God is love then I Corinthians 13:1-7 is also a description of God! Read as I replace the word love with God, because God is love.
God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy,
He does not boast, He is not proud.
He is not rude, He is not self-seeking,
He is not easily angered. He keeps no record of wrongs.
God does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.
God always hopes, God always perseveres. God never fails.
Child of God, do you embrace and rest in that description of love as your Heavenly Father? How about when you are struggling with a wounded heart and you feel jealous, angry, betrayed, fearful, anxious or regretful? Often I find Christians stonewalling themselves, shocked at their own feelings. We say, “I should not feel this way!” We then shut our feelings down and not only hide them from God but from ourselves. These hidden feelings morph into unhealthy and at times sinful actions and attitudes.
As a parent, my adult children gift me when they share their troubles. I imagine, our Heavenly Father who is love, feels the same when we share the good, the bad and the ugly. This authenticity contributes to our connection with Him. It’s from that connection and our time reading the Bible that our Heavenly Father can then lead, teach and guide us toward health and freedom!
“Parenting is 80% connection and 20% guidance, because until children feel connected, they have no reason to follow our guidance.” D. Laura Markham
Webster dictionary’s definition of the words in the Bible that are used to describe love sheds clarifying light! Pondering the definitions cultivated safety and ease as I explored and “teased out” my feelings in prayer when I couched them in the reality of who is my God. For example the definition of patience is to bear pain and trials without complaint. Without complaint, God listens to me. Kindness is the idea to do good toward another. God longs to ‘do good toward me’ when I am struggling. As I share my prayer, feel free to exchange your struggle for mine.
Connecting with Love
“Father, thank you for your patience and kindness as I wrestle with regret. You are bearing my pain and trials without complaint of me. You desire to do good toward me in the midst of my regret. You do not have envious feelings of discontent and ill will toward me. You are not boastful or rude toward me. You are not kicking me to the curb because I’m struggling to let this go. You are not self-seeking or easily angered because I am regretful. You are for me! You keep no record of wrongs as I confess my failures to you. You don’t hold it against me-you throw my confessed wrongs as far as the east is from the west! You do not delight in my brokenness but rejoice in the truth. I love the truth that I am your child. Even though I am battling regrets, you do not give up on me. Your hope and dreams for me will never end! God, you never fail. You will not quit on me. Teach me how to let go and be free. Guide me in taking responsibility for what I must and redeem what is left in my hands. Nothing, not even the anguish of regret can separate your love from me. Romans 8:28”
May I challenge you to take the time to be transparent with your Heavenly Father? I imagine your words are music to His ears. Even expressing the feelings that you don’t like.
Connect with your Heavenly Father, it’s then that you will be more open to His leading, guiding and teaching. Your name is not only engraved on the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16), but your name is safe in His mouth.
God is love.
Thrive Leadership Foundation