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Selfless Love: A Hard Lesson To Learn

There is nothing quite harder than seeing my own downfalls. And yet this is what I awoke to this past Sunday morning. The realization that my love is on reserve for me, myself, and I and that I have a long way to go in learning the act of loving selflessly.

My love is more selfish than selfless.

The evening prior, my husband and I had been at odds with each other. I, struggling with my desire to surrender to attending church, feeling pressured at the notion that it is what I am “supposed to do.” While he struggled to understand me and there suffered in the quake of loneliness that shadows over him in these times that we are not in agreement. Needless to say, the stage was set that evening for a bit of marital distress.

Sigh.

I fell asleep that night wondering what my problem was and if it even was a problem? Why was I fighting the idea? I’ve never encountered this struggle before. Was it because of my own personal stubbornness (as I can be stubborn!), or was there something deeper? I wasn’t sure. And at that point I was not ready to commit. I fell asleep with few words spoken and drifted off for the night.

The morning’s sunlight awoke me earlier than normal. I laid there, eyes barely alert enough to open, pondering the previous evening’s events and there it hit me.

I struggle with selfless love.

While I desire for him to take and choose my path, my selfishness stops me from taking into consideration his ways. And here my selfish pursuits reign. My mind swirls with all the ways I am contributing and where I am giving and here think: When is it his turn? But see, love doesn’t keep score. It instead sees the need of the other, recognizes the place from which they speak, and makes the choice to lay down its own pursuits. And in doing so gives life.

My selfishness does just the opposite.

It list all that is being done and has been done on behalf of my husband up to that point. It ask questions and demands answers. The hard truth, however, is that this is the complete opposite of how Christ’s desires me to live my life. Oh how the struggle is down right difficult. For who is truly able to live this way?

It is a high calling to love others as I love myself.

After all the reality shows it is very hard to truly love another as I love myself. While it is easy for me to say I am one who loves others, despite their differences, it is much more difficult to live out those words – and take action toward – those whom God has placed directly in my home. And yet this is where love must begin. For it is in my home that I have been given access to those whom He calls ‘the least of these.’ It isn’t out on the street, or in a foreign land. It isn’t even within my community. It is right here. Right now. In my home. And if I cannot give love here, then I am nothing but a clanging symbol pretending to be a person that I am not, while living a life of all words, with no actions.

This is hardly who I aspire to be.

As I peer into this Christmas season, I am reminded that when I surrender my life to the One who came specifically that I might live, that my reflection is of Him and this selfless love. And so I surrender. Daily. To the only one who can truly love without motive. And in doing so, I accept the gift of His selfless love. I pray that through receiving that gift that I might be able to pay it forward to those with whom He has allowed me to walk through this life. And that they too would know Jesus, because they saw His life portrayed in my own. Not only through the words I spoke, but through the actions I took.

Till next time,

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