Right when you purpose to try and be a certain kind of person, life happens – for no other reason other than to test your limits and stretch your sense of humour. Am I right?
Take my February project for example – 28 acts of love – where everyday for the entire month of February I would purpose to perform one act of love for someone around me. Out of 28 acts, I think 5 panned out the way I wanted.
- Like the guy who cut me off in traffic on the day I was to bring a smile to someone’s face.
- Or that all the far-away parking spots were taken and all the close ones were available on the day I tried to leave a close parking spot for someone else. P.S It was a cold day! What in the world?
- Or when I tried to say hi to a cashier and the next girl showed up for shift change. 4 various people came and went throughout the duration of my checkout and I wasn’t sure whom to talk too.
- Or the day I went to donate food to the food bank and my kids were melting down because they were “starving” (as my eldest described it). My youngest was trying to eat what we were donating to the food bank. Lol…
Or this one…
- It took me four attempts to buy coffee for the vehicle behind you. On three separate occasions no one came. Can you believe it? In a Tim Horton’s drive-thru! What? When does that ever happen? Finally on the 4th attempt a vehicle did pull up, but at the last minute he decided it was his day to buy the office 18 drinks. Oiy!
It’s been an interesting 28 days of love.
I have laughed.
I have cried.
I have learned.
1. Love takes work.
It’s not just something that happens. It’s something that is purposed. It’s a determination to wake up every morning and CHOOSE to love – like my Tim Horton’s trips. It seemed like that act of love was never going to get crossed off my list. But when you commit to something, you commit.
When you’re tired. Smile anyway. When you’re drained of every last bit of energy. Say hi anyway. Why? Because God’s strength is made perfect when you are at your weakest.
2. Love takes focus.
The meanest of people need the most amount of love – like the guy who cut me off in traffic. If I had retaliated with his behaviour, meeting up again at Superstore would have been awkward. Ya, that’s right, we ended up standing in line together while our kids hung out. He was embarrassed and apologized for acting like such an oomph (his word). I just laughed and said, “No worries. Been there.”
Remember, the people who scowl need a, “hey, how’s your day going?” the most. The people who honk their horn and give you the finger need a warm smile and friendly wave the most. The people who bite your head off, need a gentle response, not gasoline to fuel the fire. But it takes focus. It takes an immense amount of self-control to bite your tongue, swallow your pride and be kind anyway. And it takes a special kind of focus to see the ones that no one else is willing to take the time to see.
3. Love becomes a habit.
The more you do anything, the more engrained in your brain it will be. Minute-by-minute. Day-by-day. Choice-by-choice. Slowly, but surely, the daily choices you make become the habits you form, and this becomes the lifestyle you live.
Before you know it, you’re wearing smiles, you’re saying hi, you’re lending a helping hand without even thinking about it. Your responses to situations become automatic without a second of hesitation.
4. Love is contagious.
“Mom, it’s fun to love people isn’t it?”
“Yes Bugz, it is. That’s why mommy is choosing to do these acts of love.”
“Ya, that’s so nice of you mom. Maybe I should try loving my brother more because he really drives me nuts.” 4-year-old wisdom, ha!
When you exude the kind of love the Bible talks about, it becomes fun… it’s interesting, it’s exciting, it’s important, it’s CONTAGIOUS! Contagious because you exude a strength that causes your whole being to radiate with a love that comes from the depths of your soul. It’s a love that shines through every action you do that says, “It’s not about me, it’s about you. It’s about showing you (through my actions) that I love you.” And this kind of love, my friends, effects people.
And the most important thing I learned about love is this…
Your depth of love will only go as deep as your connection is with Him. That means, if you want your love to be patient and kind, not envious or proud, not self-seeking or easily angered, then you need to spend time with Him. If you want your love to always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere, then you need to spend time with Him.
This is the kind of love that never fails.