One thing about me… that I’m sure many of you can relate to is that I absolutely love Jesus. There are really no words to describe how much I adore him. Sometimes, and I know this may sound cheesy or cliché, but my heart literally aches for him, like I actually experience a pain in my chest because I long so much to be closer to him. I’m so fortunate that I’ve come to know that His love really is like no other, and that in giving and sharing his love with others, I feel most alive. I feel most like myself.
This is one of the reasons why I love being a part of Team World Vision. Over the course of just the past few months, God has made some really clear connections for me through scripture… beyond the most obvious mandate to serve the poor.
The first comes from 1 Corinthians 14:1 where Paul instructs us to “Let love be your highest goal”. One of the many things I’ve learned about myself while running for TWV is that I am very goal oriented. I’m not afraid to set big goals. And I like following a plan or having some sort of structure that I’m forced to stick to. And then of course, through that I LOVE the feeling of finally arriving or achieving that big goals.
One of the reasons I’ve grown to love distance running so much is that it forces me to make small goals that require great discipline almost every day. And every day (almost) I reach those goals. And then through them, I can achieve my ultimate goal – which this year will be my first marathon.
It’s one of the reasons I find joy in fundraising. I can’t believe I’m even saying that.
Same thing with earning my bachelors degree this year. I’m convinced that it was through the confidence and goal-orientation I developed on this team, that I believe I could accomplish it.
But again…1 Corinthians 14:1 says “Let love be your highest goal.” Finishing a race, raising money, earning a degree.. whatever it is for you are all great achievements, but LOVE is to be our highest goal.
Like I said before, I feel most alive when I am able to love like Jesus. Conversely, I’m most frustrated with myself when I don’t. In fact, my 10 year old, Gabi asked me a couple weeks ago, she said “Mom, if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?” and I didn’t even have to think about it. I said, “Gabi, if I could change one thing about myself, it would be seeing and loving people the way Jesus does. I wish I could do that ALL the time.” Especially with those people who I find so hard to love.
So I look at my experience and ask how do we make love our highest goal?
Well, I need to be willing to apply the same intention and structure that any other big goal would require. There must be regular practice, training, study, etc. It takes some discipline.
But if I’m honest, I don’t apply the same effort to being a more loving person that I do to races, or fundraising. I don’t seek out those smaller achievements everyday. My acts of love are usually only based on my feelings. Too often, I show love when I feel like it. I don’t force myself the same way I force myself out the door for a run. I certainly don’t have my plan for becoming a more loving person written down. Maybe one of these days, I’ll finally do that.
In the meantime, despite my lack of discipline, Jesus continues to pour out his mercy on me, and thankfully his love is so powerful that no matter what I do or don’t do, it is chips away at my hard heart. He says simply “remain in me.” James 4:8 says “Come close to God, and he will come close to you.” “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted..”. If you want to be close to Jesus, remain close to the brokenhearted. I can do that. That’s one step in the right direction. That’s one way that I can practice loving like Jesus. And Jesus gives us so many examples and methods just like that, that we can practice, day after day, that do and will help us to make love our highest goal.