Additionally, because I have a gracious 13 year old that is willing to share his iPod, I downloaded the she works His way app. You don't need to be a member of the community to benefit from the daily devotions that are posted Monday through Saturday. And this weeks focus in the app? You guessed it, the most popular of wedding passages, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
Today Michelle shared of a practice she's been doing for years every February which is to write out this passage replacing the word love with her name. Knowing how much I repsect her and her heart to help women, I decided I would write it out too. #EyeOpeningMoment
Should you choose to do this, it would go something like this.....
Jenn is patient, Jenn is kind. Jenn does not envey, Jenn does not boast, Jenn is not proud.......through Jenn never fails.
Clearly you don't need to get past the first three words before you realize that you just essentially wrote something that you want to be true, you really wish was true, you hope to someday be true, but are willing to admit wasn't true yesterday, probably won't be true today, and likely isn't going to be true tomorrow. Let's face it, we have to repeat our words to our kids enough times to make anyone other than Jesus lose their minds. And considering I have to drive on Route 28 today which ought to raise my blood pressure significantly itself, by the time I arrive at my destination, kind is most likely going to have left the building. I won't even bother with the envy.
Despite my shortcomings in every area of this passage, I know a few things to be true:
1. I can approach God's throne of grace with confidence to receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need.
2. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (no condemnation, not no conviction to improve)
3. God doesn't expect me to be perfect and is more than willing to reach out His hand to help me back up and say, "Let's try this again." (And fyi, unlike a parent whose goal is to get their hand off of the back of the bike so their child can ride independently, that is never once His end game. He isn't letting go.)
So, as I took this challenge today, I am presenting it to you. Write it all out, replacing the word 'love' with your name. Ask God to show you how you are doing with each of these opportunities to show love and how and where you need to improve. This isn't about perfection and nailing it every time because we won't. But we can get better, we can reflect Jesus more, and we can allow the love of God to transform us a little bit more every day.
Jesus, this isn't an easy thing to do. Admitting where we are coming up short, particularly with those we love the most, is a difficult reality to face. But we know that if You are bringing this to our attention, and You are starting the work, then You will see it through to completion. Remind us to confidently approach Your throne of grace to receive the mercy we need when we fall short and the grace to help us do better next time. It's in Your name of love we pray, amen.