I sit in the stillness of the morning, birds chirping and cicadas singing their morning song. Spring is among us, and green is finding its way across the neighborhood.
It’s been awhile since I sat out here and drank deep of Papa’s love and light. I find myself meditating on 1 Corinthians chapter 13—the love chapter.
I often wonder if I know what love is. I say I love people and things—my husband, my son, my dog—but my words and actions often say otherwise. Truth is, I often find myself responding irritably to my Casey, getting frustrated with Shiloh’s fussiness, and getting down right angry at Dallas for his incessant barking and waking Shiloh when he’s finally down for a nap.
But love is patient.
Love is kind.
It does not envy or boast.
It is not proud.
It’s not rude or self-seeking.
It is not easily angered.
It keeps no record or wrongs.
It doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
How is it that most items on that list I still lack the ability to do? How is it that I can read the Bible, go to church, listen to worship music, sing on the worship team, attend a Christian college (in the past), go through deliverance, fast, pray, etc. but still read this chapter as though it is foreign to me?
Granted, the perfectionism I struggle with isn’t the type people often think of. If you come over, most likely the house will be a mess, I may or may not have make up on, and I may still be in my night clothes. In fact, I hardly wear makeup when going out anymore. It’s not the type that cares what others think of me. It’s the type that cares what I think of myself…
I bought an organization program years ago to help me overhaul the house. I started, but soon gave up. I have “x-ray vision” of my dresser and can see the clothes I need to sort through and organize in there. Each time I go into my closet I’m reminded of the purging/sorting that needs to be done. Clutter stresses me out. I believe I’ve talked about this in another blog, but here we are, circling this mountain again.
As I read 1 Corinthians 13 this morning I glanced at the notes in my Life Application Bible—notes I had already highlighted at some point.
“Much irritability comes from a love of perfection, a deep desire that programs, meetings, and structures be run perfectly. The desire to run things perfectly can irrupt in the anger at events or people who get in the way or ruined that desire. Those who are easily irritated need to remember that perfection exists only in God. We need to love him and our fellow Christians, not the visions we have for perfection here on earth.”
Perhaps that’s why I tried so desperately to get Shiloh on a schedule. Perhaps I was hoping that I could somehow control this thing called parenthood. I read a book called “Spirit-Led Parenting” that really gave me freedom but not completely. If his nap wasn’t as long as “it should be” and I’d be in a tizzy. “Not enough day time sleep will cause over-tiredness and he won’t sleep through the night!” I wanted to be in control or everything, and when I wasn’t, watch out.
Why do I tell you this? I do so because I want you to know that no one has it all together. We are all a work in progress. Some have more work to do than others, but it’s work nonetheless. Thank God for grace and hope! Each day is another chance to make a change. However, we must be careful not to let guilt, shame, and condemnation keep us in the hole of self-pity we may fall in . . .
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.“ (v. 9)
God is perfection. In Him our imperfections disappear. He sees us as a chaste bride. If the creator of the universe sees us this way, can we not see ourselves this way?
I am humbled when I think about the trivialness (I don’t think that’s a word, but it is now!) of the matter. What is an organized house, etc. compared to the salvation of souls? I’m reminded of my post “Purple Stains.” What is vying for our attention? Is it really important in the grand scheme of things?
Meanwhile a text just comes through from a friend who just found out she miscarried. My heart drops and memories of my own miscarriage come flooding back. . .
There are so many more important things in life to spend our energies on than the little things we think are so significant.
Lord, help us to love like you. This broken, hurting world needs more of You and your love. Let us value relationships over stuff, over being right, over EVERYTHING. Help up relinquish control. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NASB