I found this description in a book I was reading. It is a dreadfully accurate summation of my own reality.
We always love ourselves more than we love God or others. We are always erecting idols in our hearts and worshiping and serving them. We are always more focused on what we want and how we might get it than we are on loving God and laying down our life for others.*
Yep. That about sums it up. The typical state of my own heart. Mine.
Fortunately, the book was about grace.
After all this time pursuing and seeking and wrestling with love, I am still in a quandary most days. It’s beyond me, somehow. I can’t seem to do it. And that, I guess, is the point.
I give up.
Yesterday I came home from work greeted by rude demands from teenage boys, rap music playing loud in the kitchen, soccer shoes lying defiantly on the living room rug. Again.
And I went for a run.
It wasn’t just an escape. It’s what I’d planned to do already, taking advantage of the mild fall afternoon and sun still shining. Dinner in the oven and just enough time for my normal loop. I started out sluggish, working out kinks from a long afternoon in an office chair. And while I ran I mentally vented.
It’s my kitchen, not theirs. The messes and music are making me crazy. There’s nothing I can do, short of engaging in battle, and it’s a war I’ll never win, so why bother. And those shoes. The defiance. They know my rules. Signs posted by every door. Repeated reminders. Kind. Stern. It doesn’t matter.
I picture myself tossing every offending shoe over the porch railing and out on the lawn. There. Go fetch. Or maybe I’ll gather and hide them. Charge a fee to get them back. My rules need more teeth. Wear your shoes in the house and your cell phone is mine for the next 24 hours. My thoughts racing and me running. The same loop I’ve run a hundred times before.
And then. The course changes. I remember.
Jesus. I can’t do this. I don’t know how. What would you do with the shoes? What does it look like to love?
I turn the corner to the final stretch of my run, and the thought takes shape. Not mine, but His. Feet dirty, souls needy. And Him washing. Bowing down low, a servant.
Do you understand what I have done for you?
There’s your answer. And I guess that’s what He’d do with the shoes.
He loves when I can’t. Faithful, enduring. In my Psalm this morning, a half-dozen times. His love endures forever.
How long is forever when the issue is love?
I can’t, but He can. And He will. He is faithful.
*Give Them Grace, by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick