The older I get the more I understand life. The older I get the less I realize I know all the answers. Yet when I look back at my childhood, I understood a big part of life then that sometimes I forget as an adult now – to love wholly.
Lately, there is something stirring inside me that is hard to put a finger on, but “it” is there. Pulsing. Sprouting. Growing into thoughts. Eventually, emotions betray who you think you are or should be and give way to who you are becoming. Acceptance of yourself and those around changes. Learning to love in the midst of heartache is what has been swirling inside me. I think this is what differentiates between what wholly loving is as a child and what wholly loving is as an adult. As a child you love because you trust many, accept many, and know little of the details. It is easy to love when the details of life haven’t muddied relationships. As an adult, this ability to love as a child does is much harder.
It is no secret that I am a follower of Christ. But I hope it is also not a secret that I don’t always know what that means in action. I struggle. Not with who He is, but who I am supposed to be in Him amongst difficult situations to love. 1 Peter 1:22 tells me this:
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.
For me, this means loving even when I don’t understand why I should. Loving even when I do. Because even if I stand firm in who I am and I don’t agree with what might be going on in others’ lives, it is best to choose love. But how in action does this work? Do I just excuse all that I know is good and right? Or if I love will that cover how I truly feel regarding the topic of disagreement? I am learning that those questions are missing the larger point. If I do not love, I have gained nothing. If I do not love fully, I have missed the greater opportunity to gain relationship by dedication rather than by might.
I have had this hymn on my brain for months. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. There is this one line, “How His kindness yet pursues me”. Oh, how that grips me. His love pursues me to change, to understand, because He loves me, not because He demands it. So if I am true to follow Christ, then when difficulty in life seems to prevail the best strategy I can take is to love. The gain is in the acceptance of the whole and not the part. The focus shifts from the “what” to the “who”. Here’s the kicker – in accepting the whole, the part might be given a chance to change because God can work through the whole acceptance I am showing.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
It is not that I must fix the situation, make a point to disagree or agree. It is that I must love amongst those difficulties. The action to love regardless makes the love all the stronger and leaves the responsibility to God.
Bind my wandering heart to Thee;
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
The older I get the more I see how important this lesson is. The older I get the more I realize those before me – grandparents, parents, friends – have exemplified this very test of love. It is hidden in their hugs. In peppermints found in pockets. Tissues readily at their sleeves. They are waiting, not because there is nothing to do or because they agree with everything going on, rather they are choosing amongst all of those details to love.
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.
I am learning to love wholly.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothèd then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.