Let love abound. Philippians 1:9
I woke this morning, feeling weary: a big weekend of ministry, a wedding, a phone call from a friend who needs a visit in hospital, a conflict with one of my kids over a chore they don’t want to do; lunches to be made, an early start so I can get to work, a dishwasher to empty and exercise to stay on ack for my 10k run and the coffee just wasn’t going to cut it. You know the drill… my first thought is to create some distance. Pull away far enough to feel safe, secure and untouched…so I can refresh and not let the demand outstrip me of my supply.
I have been listening to a podcast from Danny silk from his recent book ‘Keep Your Love On’. He makes an interesting point that love is not often our goal in any given relationship…. But it should be for our relationships to work as flourish. Love is not an option! It has to be the driving force and motivator, the goal and the means. But instead we make distance our goal. His premise is that when we are tired, dealings with offences, or challenges, or just tired or even sick or deeply rejected our response is create distance.
The last thing we feel like drawing from is our empty love bank. So… this morning with this message fresh in my mind..I checked that the love switch was on and I and made sure that it hadn’t been tripped. So my thoughts today are just a fleshing out of this idea. If I want love to abound I have to make sure I have it switched on in the first place. It should never be switched off and it should never hit a power surge and get tripped.
When I look at the one thing I do in any relationship including my own relationship with God, my husband, my kids, and those in any way connected to me I think we have this common goal …and it is not love..it is distance. I want you feel my distance when you hurt me or I am insecure or feeling hurt or there is potential for you to reject me.
One of the goals of a my life is to exemplify the love of God…….until I don’t want to and don’t have to and don’t feel like it or you hurt me or disappoint me or try to control me or until …I feel powerless or controlled or cornered or until I feel fearful and insecure and robbed…then my goal shifts and the love gets turned off like a switch or a tap and instead my goal becomes distance. If I create some sort of distance then you can’t control me, hurt me, disappoint me or reject me. Maybe it is a form self preservation or habit of my survival, my default position of having to look out for me but if I look at it more closely it is rooted in fear.
The reason I make distance my goal is that I think if I create distance between you and me then you do not have the power to hurt, confuse, manipulate or rob me, control me, manipulate me, confuse me or disappoint me or rob me if my strength. If I don’t create distance then I have no choice. I become a victim of your choices and decisions and there is nothing I can do about. The truth is that that is actually all a lie. When I make distance my goal I have it all wrong. I am actually convinced that I am my own protector and that distance is my only choice. True freedom is the choice to love. I am free to love continually regardless of how you treat me, hurt me, respond, or react to me. The challenge is to love you continually but not switch it off when you do something hurtful or wrong. There are so many marriages where distance has become the safest way to do life. to choose love and switch it on an break the switch ‘on’ is really hard but the only way of moving where my vision of my marriage should be taking me.
The same goes for my relationship with. God. He never turns the switch off. There is no off switch, there is no trip wire, there is no problem with a power surge. Nothing can separate me from the love of God. That means it doesn’t matter what I do his love will never switch off. Can I offer this sort of love to those I am meant to be loving? Can I offer a ‘nothing can separate you from my love’ sort of love.
The enemy is out to bring division, disconnection and distance and he will use anything. Will I let him drive me forward in fear or will I allow the love of God to motivate and drive me forward in faith?
I am free to choose. I choose to stand in freedom.
When did we learn that distance was a good goal instead of love. Experience! Life has taught me that self preservation will protect my heart because in the past when I have not protected myself from you, you have hurt me and now I must put strategies in place to protect me. distance works…but it is not God way. God’s way is not fear.
I watch parents use distance to motivate their kids to do what they want. The kids learn that they can only be connected to those they love by being perfect and being manipulated. Fear of disconnection and distance will make them do what they are told or do what is expected or give up trying because it never works. Love is not what draws them close. The fear of distance is. No wonder they find it hard to believe that God is love!
The goal of my relationship with my husband was never meant to be distance…and for him to feel my distance.
The goal of my relationship with my kids should never be distance.
The goal of any relationship with anyone was never meant to be distance.
The goal should be connection and intimacy and love.
There is a big difference between healthy boundaries and building a wall of protection and emotional distance. How do we let the difference. The motive is not fear. It is love and respect and honour and faith.
Love was never meant to be switched off but we switch it off all the time.
In my life there are so many people….and if I am not careful I spend more time switching off the love switch than I do actually loving.I have to constantly check the love switch and make sure it is on. Time to break the switch on. Let love abound…there is no bill coming in the mail charging me for love. I don’t have to conserve love and measure it out in portions in case I run out or I get charged extra. To choose to keep the love switch always on is a choice that requires a lot of depth and intention. It requires me to use my mind not just my heart. It is going to require me to access the love I get from God and wait on him for his love. At no time does he turn his love off.
The bible says that nothing can separate me from the love of God. If that sort of love is what is meant to be ruling my heart then why do I allow stuff to separate and distance me from friends, my family and the people God has given me from my love. My goal should never be to make them feel the distance and have to change or do something for me to remove that distance. The distance thing is my lack of trust that God’s love is going to be enough for me. God is my protector…I do not need to protect myself. To guard my heart is to use wisdom with love not fear.
What are some of the things people can do to me to make me turn on my distance and switch off love?
What are the triggers that trip my switch and switch it off? Today it is my weariness and my feelings.
I want to let the love electrician in and let Him see what the issue is and fix it so it never has to trip but I ‘m tired.
If I want to let love abound then I must look at what will switch it off or decrease it. I must look for the things that are going to trigger the switch and trip the good intentions of my heart. I want my default position to be ‘ON’. I don’t want my love to have a dimmer switch where I can turn it up or down based on how you treat me or interpret me or what I get in return.
Let love abound…never dimming or switching off…but always increasing and flourishing and full and overflowing.
There are days when the demand of love can feel like it outweighs the supply and I need to check the connection with the flow of grace that is being poured out over me from heaven. There is nothing that can separate me from the love of God except me… when I refuse to receive it. If I feel outweighed by demand, the demand will have to wait while I check the distance.
Today the demand feels high and it is why I need to engage my heart with God so his love can once again fill me. It is through worship that my love gets switched on. Worship…to engage with His heart because GOD IS LOVE and there is no fear in love and perfect love (God) casts out fear and anything that leads to distance.
When the demand is high the supply is never ending and I have the unending grace He provides like the waves of the ocean.
I deal with so many couples, parents, friends and people in general who struggle to move from distance to love. It has to shift and the change has to shift in us not the person we are attempting and being challenged to love.
I am empowered to keep my love ON! Hard to do when life has taught me a strategy that has worked for me but not necessarily right for me.