Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Living Lovely

Hands on the steering wheel and eyes trained on the road, I sat slouched in the driver’s seat headed towards home for a wedding. One of my best friends from high school sat next to me and her boyfriend lounged behind her in the backseat. Conversation flowed easily around school activities and life as we tried to make up for the months of minimal conversation and no visits. Sitting next to {J}, I could not help but notice that she and her boyfriend always seemed to be touching. Nothing was inappropriate. They just reveled in the other’s presence. An hour away from our destination, {J} climbed into the backseat with her boyfriend {P}. Suddenly, I became chauffer. I took the opportunity to ask them, “What have been the most challenging and growing thing about your relationship?” {P} thought for a moment and replied, “I have never been so known by another human being. It’s both good and terrifying.”

Reading through Crazy Love by Francis Chan, a chapter that resonated deeply with me used this title, “When You’re in Love.” As far as I know, I have never been in love. Yet, I see what love looks like. My mother is forever serving the widows on my street by doing chores for them, bringing them food, and just visiting them. That is love. My father sits on the couch every night and rubs my mother’s feet. That is love. The chapter gave the example of Grandma Clara who spent many hours in prayer and how just the sight of that space “would bring joy-filled tears and a deep anticipation of the next morning spent kneeling in His presence” (Chan 100). Upon reading that, I circled it and wrote in the margin, “May I be like this please?” During the summer, I delighted in spending hours with Jesus. One specific occasion, my cousins grumbled at the amount of time I had spent in devotion to my Lord Jesus. I could only smile and say, “This time is so good because during the school year I just don’t have the amount of time that I want to spend with Jesus.”


When people see {J} and {P} together, their affection is apparent. If people cannot see their exchanged small smiles and eye connections, they can most definitely see their desire to be always touching. This is how I want to be with Jesus. I want my love for Him to be full of small smiles, heart connections, and hand holding.

Part of loving is giving. It means serving your neighbors, your friends, your spouse, and your co-workers. In the chapter entitled “Your Best Life … Later”, Chan talks about giving liberally and generously and God will bless it. With a red pen, I boxed this paragraph in writing beside it, “What does this look like?” Truly, I want to know what it is to give liberally and totally as often as possible. Giving of yourself and loving your neighbors is not easy. You have to go out of your way to find a way to serve those around you. When my family first moved into a new neighborhood, we knew no one. People did their own thing. Yet, when winter rolled around, my mom began a secret mission. When it snowed, we all bundled up and shoveled our elderly neighbors’ driveways. We were eventually found out, but not before we earned the name “Snow Angels.” My mother always had time to serve our neighbors. Now that I am not at home, I have to find new ways to serve. I don’t live in a neighborhood, but I do live in a community of a dormitory.

I deeply desire to be obsessed with Jesus and His heart. Francis Chan gives a “Profile of the Obsessed” in a chapter. With each section, I have underlined and scribbled notes by sections – each a plea that I might become a picture of this profile. Yet, it is so scary. Of course, I do not become obsessed in one day. It’s a step by step process of love. My father tells me often, “I love your mother more today than I did yesterday and even on our wedding day.” I always ask, “Really?” I just cannot believe that love can keep growing. My dad responds emphatically to my doubting question with a firm “yes”. If my father knew the difficulties, he would face in his marriage to my mom when they first started out he wouldn’t have been able to deal with it. Step by day, my dad loves my mom more deeply because of this daily journey. Human love is very different than the perfect love of a savior; however, this earthly love and examples of it from my parents have hugely influenced me to love more like Jesus in my own life.

Forever, I seem to disgust myself with my selfishness. Living in a family, you are always given a chance to serve family members. College is such a me-focused place. Of course, homework should be finished. Sleep is necessary. When I have the opportunity to serve, school seems to interfere. A lot of people would probably describe me as loving; yet, I know that I have so far to go. I desire to live in the Spirit and love people as Jesus did. If I love Jesus, generosity and obsession shall follow. Already, I love Jesus and I am generous while occasionally being obsessive. Of course, I want to be crazy in love with Jesus – that’s different than being a good person or good Christian.