Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Love ~ January Update

Word of the year, word for 2018, January Update

I was asked if I would give some updates during the year about how God is working out my word for 2018 in my life. This is the first one - a January update. I really do not know how often I will post these, as He leads me, but here is the first one. :)

Love requires action, as love is action - action on behalf of someone else. It is find and dandy to say we will love selflessly, but it is a much harder walk to actually live selflessly - long term. We have all had experiences where we acted selflessly - letting someone cut in line, or have the last piece of chocolate cake, but to live selflessly is a real challenge to our inner selves, because we are, by nature, selfish.

January has given me many opportunities to love, and many times I have failed. On other occasions I have succeeded, but only by God's grace. Let me tell you just a little about how this month has gone. First Kurt, and then Arlene, each had the nasty cold that is circulating this winter. I'm sure you're encountered it. It makes their heads ache, their noses run, and they cough as though they want to rid themselves of a lung or two. Thankfully - it was not the flu. This gave me 10 or 11 days of taking care of sick ones, while still going to work, cooking food (because my trusty assistant was sick) and doing chores for other people because they were too ill to do them themselves. On some of these days I had compassion and love, and on others, I could not wait to get out the door for work and leave Emily to deal with it. Sorry Em!

At the beginning of the year, God prompted me to read Charles Sheldon's book In His Steps again. This fictional novel written in 1896 is well known as being "that book against liquor," but is also known because of the question it asks: What would Jesus do? In his book, Sheldon tasks his characters with asking in every instance, what would Jesus do if He were in my situation, and then will I choose to do it, or to turn my back on God's calling and follow my own selfish ways? Although the town of Raymond and the story is fictional, it reminds me every time I read it, that it matters not what others think I should do in a situation I face, but what God wants me to do. How do I walk in the steps of Jesus? How can I be obedient?

At the same time, our pastor has been having a series about turning our focus from what we do for God, to how we become more like God. How do we change our focus from accomplishing tasks to becoming more like Christ?

Are you seeing a theme here? Yeah, me too. 

God has constantly reminded me this month that regardless of what I face, He is here, and He wants me to be obedient to His calling. I am not left here on this earth to make lots of friends and enjoy a lush lifestyle, I was placed here to do God's work by becoming more like Jesus so that others could see His work in my life and want to know more about how Jesus has changed me.

Oh the challenges I have faced this month! Most of them are not ones you would see from the outside. Rather, they are the inner struggles to choose to be selfless in the face of another person's anger, to be selfless in the face of heart pain, mental anguish, unkind words, bad drivers. Will I choose to love those around me even when they are trying their hardest to be un-loveable? I can, I must, for nothing less will transform me in who God is calling me to be. Will I stop complaining about the cold, the lack of help around the house, or my desire to run off somewhere and write instead of helping a child with their schoolwork? I truly hope so.

I don't think my life this month had been any more difficult than in the past, I think it is because I am paying attention to the Spiritual warfare going on all around me that I have felt the struggle so much more deeply. Has my pride been hurt? Yes. But since my pride always stands in the way of becoming more Christ-like, it needs that trampling. I cannot want my way more than God's way. If I truly desire to want to be obedient, then God can transform my desires to match His. I will no longer be conformed to the world. Oh how clearly I see my need of that transformation!

You see, this world comes at us from all sides. Our Enemy is crafty and knows our weaknesses. Our only hope in in Jesus. We must draw near to God to be able to resist the devil. We need to be in prayer more than we are on our phones. We need to choose to speak love in the face of trails. We must choose to love those around us, on their good days, and especially when they have bad days. For each of us is facing a trial of some kind. My heart is not the only one that was bruised this month by someone else's unkind words. Too often I forget that each member of my family has their own cross to bear. While I must carry my own cross, it is imperative that I do not make theirs any heavier than it already is!

So yes, as I expected, this word Love is a difficult one to live out. What I did not expect was how much peace God has poured out upon me when I have been obedient and walked in His steps. The future is never certain, that is why the early believers were cautioned to say 'If God wills we will go here and do this' see James 4:13-15

Another thing I have learned this month, is that I am often the one with the wrong ideas, and the wrong intent. While God has given me a peace about the future that I have never had before, He had also chastised me when I am wrong. There is a definite check in my spirit when I have chosen the way that is not love. It is like a bit in a horse's mouth that jerks me back and gets my attention. It is most unpleasant and requires a lot of soul searching to figure out where I went wrong and where God wanted me to go instead.

In and through it all I have this confidence: that nothing can separate me from God's love. Romans 8:31-39 For this I am oh so thankful! I know full well that I cannot love on my own. Not the selfless, actionable love that God wants me to have for others. And yet, He reminds me over and over again that what is impossible with man, is possible with God! Luke 18:27

How about you? What has God done this month to transform your life? How is He challenging you to follow in the steps of Jesus?

Looking for more good reading? Check out the Friday link-up on the Homeschool Review Crew


  1. I thought I had commented on this post already, but apparently not. It is so good to see how God is working in your life. To accept correction, to see improvement and to know his peace as you do so. Very cool. :)

  2. I think this past month God has challenged me to continue to cut back on expectations and reminded me to treat others as I want to be treated.
    I really like your sentence about being in prayer more than on our phones.

  3. Love hearing about the peace he has given you on this journey!

  4. Forgiveness is a huge theme for me and in our household this month. Forgiveness of others and of ourselves. The big question that we are asking ourselves at home is "at the end of the day, will it matter whose fault we thought it was?" Even though Freedom is my word for 2018, I am learning more and more that there is freedom in forgiveness.

  5. I really like the idea of focusing on love. You are so heart-felt in the way you write that it is touching to me and encouraging to me to strive to do more and better. Seeing you see Him work in you is strengthening. Thank you for sharing your heart on this journey. - Lori

  6. Truly living selflessly and showing that kind of love is a challenge. Love seeing how God has been leading you and working in your life. I never got around to writing my Word of the Year post - my word is Trust, and God has sure given me opportunity to practice doing that already this year!