March 11, 2019


Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash
God's been challenging me in the way I love. And to be honest, it's been one of the hardest lessons for me because it's hitting really close to home.

People often tell me that I'm a caring person, especially considering the job that I've got. But it's not the kids and college students I have a hard time loving (at least most of the time, if I'm 100% honest). And it's not my close friends and family, either (although, there are definitely times where the saying "distance makes the heart grow fonder" is true!). And really, it's not acquaintances and strangers, either.

Right now, there are a handful of people in my life that I have felt called to love, but it's the call from God that I have hesitated and resisted answering. I would love nothing more than to pass these people off to someone else but I know that they're in my life because God is calling me to love them.

It's so much easier for me to say that I love them out of habit. Or to act because it's the right thing to do. Or to do it subconsciously or as a reaction. But to do so out of a place of grace and forgiveness and love? To go above and beyond, even though you feel depleted, broken, and exhausted? And to love, even though you know you'll get nothing back from them in return? That's the tough stuff. But it's the stuff that Jesus did and calls us to do, too.

God commands us, demonstrates for us, and tells us to love our neighbors. And not just care for them or help them, but love them, too.

And when it comes down to it, I want to be known for how I loved. Not just posthumously, but by the way people talk about me behind my back or describe me to others. I want to be known for being loving, loyal, and kind, even when I didn't feel like it. I want to be consistent in this love, not just with those who love me or who show me love in the way I like, but to those who I no longer trust or who I struggle to care for, too. And I want to love out of an overflow of God's love for me, not what I try to muster up on my own. Because surely, we all know that I cannot love those around me using my own strength.

God calls us to love others after He calls us to love Him. And I know that order wasn't written unintentionally. Because there's no way I can love others if I don't have and accept God's love for me first.

And as my pastor wisely said yesterday, "focus on just doing the next right thing."

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© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall