I had the amazing privilege to hear Kristin Armstrong speak at my church on Saturday. I wanted to go for two reasons:
1. She openly admits that she blows it with her kids on a regular basis.
2. She is an avid runner.
To both of these things I can fully and completely relate. I don't normally swoon when I hear people speak, but I think I got a bit star-struck on Saturday. I bought her new book, Heart of My Heart, which is a devotional for moms (I NEVER read daily devotionals, but this one I HAD to have) and got to go up and have her sign it for me. I told myself that I would not talk about my running and not say anything stupid, but I broke both of those rules as soon as I got up there. Oh well.
Anyway, the reason that I mention all of this is because she said something that literally has changed my whole perspective on how to be in my life. I'm really not exaggerating. Really.
During her talk, she said that she tries to live her life with love as her default setting. Is this not profound? I mean, the idea is not new. Jesus calls us to love all the time in the Bible, to love others as we love ourselves, to be patient, selfless, and humble. But the way Kristin phrased it made me realize that there is a difference between loving because that is what we are supposed to do and loving because that is our natural reaction. The latter signifies a foundation rooted in love and all that encompasses. It denotes that there is a well-spring of life in our hearts that is continually fed by Jesus.
What is it that cuts off the flow of living water in my life so that love no longer is my default setting?
For me, the answer is primarily unforgivingness and a lack of grace for others. (I'm sure there are more things that I could throw into the mix, but this is what is coming to mind now.)
When Kristin mentioned the unforgivingness, I blew it off. I forgive. That doesn't apply to me. Please note, brushing off something as important as forgiveness is just an open invitation to God to keep you up at night. As I lay my weary head down that night, expecting to fall right asleep, three people whom I'd been harboring a grudge toward popped into my mind. Bam, bam, bam. Okay, Lord, I get it! I have a problem with grudges! Then, I knew I had to confess. Out loud. Things always are tougher when I have to say them out loud. They become more permanent, I suppose. Even if there are no human witnesses, I'm sure the angels hear and really, who wants to disappoint their angel?
Anyhow, Kristin was right. There was an instantaneous shift in my spirit. Something was lifted. I may still have things to work out down the road pertaining to these happenings or these people, but just by announcing my forgiveness and choosing to lay down the burden of anger, I was more freed up to love.
My other thing is lack of grace for others. I often get upset -- Why couldn't she do this? Doesn't he know that it should have been done LAST week? What do you mean he took it? Shouldn't you have asked first? I can't BELIEVE she did THAT! Anyone else have these thoughts racing through their head at times? It is so easy for me to be affronted by the behavior instead of trying to understand the person exhibiting the behavior. Maybe sometimes love looks like letting things slide because I know "she" is busy with other things or "he" is overwhelmed by a personal crisis. Or maybe, gasp, "she" just forgot, but "she" really is sorry. Maybe love looks like seeing into the heart of the person, taking myself out of the equation, and just dealing with the fall-out.
Maybe love looks like grace.
Is love your default setting?