Love is not only realistic, but our only hope of survival. -Gary Chapman
I don’t know about you, but God seems to find ANY WAY possible to get a message He needs me to hear into my hands.
Most recently, He used a silly series of events to get me to listen to a book on CD (yes, a CD…those little round shiny things!).
The book was Love As A Way of Life by Gary Chapman, the author of the NY Times Bestseller The Five Love Languages. I have owned this audio book for several years and it was packed away in boxes from our recent move. However, it “mysteriously” showed up on the shelf I was cleaning the other day and I set it aside…maybe I would listen to it again once school started and I end up in long car lines.
When I had to drive 2.5 hours to the She Speaks Conference, I decided to listen to the book on the drive. I thought I had come up with a brilliant idea, when, in fact, I now have no doubt that God planned on me listening just at the time all along.
From the moment I began to listen to Dr. Gary Chapman’s southern drawl, I was drawn into the overall theme of the book…Love as a way of life.
Love…as a way of life.
Almost immediately, I realized that I was not living out that statement. It’s not that I didn’t love. It’s not that I didn’t ever show love or receive love. More so, it was not my current “way of life.” Let me explain.
In the core of our being, we tend to have a driving force. Something that drives our daily life and sets the tone for our days. Dr. Chapman’s book tells us that love should be that driving force.
God’s love for us gives us the ability to love.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
He calls us to love…out of ALL the things we do, He wants us to love.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14
So, what was my “way of life” if I wasn’t “above all, putting on love?” Fear.
FEAR was my way of life.
And here’s the real clincher….it was a fear of love. What?! A fear of love?
Have you ever been hurt? Have you ever been scared to love because you were fearful of being hurt? If so, you understand what I am talking about.
When we are hurt, we pretty much have two options: LOVE or FEAR. Fear is the root of other emotions we may experience after a hurt….shame, guilt, anger, loathing, resentment, etc, etc, etc. Deep at the core of those feelings is fear.
I was fearful of being hurt. So I was choosing to keep a perimeter that love couldn’t break through. When we place walls around us, we create a barrier to all that love has to offer us.
My drive to that conference was life-giving. Listening to what “love as a way of life” looks like helped me to see that I wasn’t living that way. Fear was standing in the way of pure and true love that was waiting to pour out of me and into me.
None of the concepts were new to me, but I needed to hear them again! How often do we learn something only to have a need to revisit it, especially when we are prideful enough to think “I got this?”
I strongly encourage you to read or listen to Love As A Way of Life by Dr. Gary Chapman. I pray that God will reveal an area of your life where something other than love is your driving force.
May LOVE be YOUR way of life.