Tuesday, October 20, 2009
A Love Navigator
There are good reasons why I’m a love navigator.
As far back as I can remember, I recall what it felt like to be loved—to be desired and liked, spoken well of, highly regarded, treated well and sought out. For the most part, I learned the necessary moves to get more of it. Who wouldn’t? Besides, I figured out that being around love was invigorating for everyone. So why not do my part and provide the necessary reason for love to be given? I will be lovable—everybody benefits.
But I also remember that being lovable had its’ downside.
Sometimes my lovable crusade induced a response I didn’t want. Early on it meant a sticky kiss from my lipstick encrusted grandma, or from some of my parent’s admiring friends. Since I’m an identical twin, sometimes people were just overwhelmed by our double lovableness and had to give us big smooches on our cheeks—double yuck. That kind of love always left a mark.
Later on, sometimes my lovableness wasn’t rewarded, or maybe it was rejected by someone I thought should have appreciated my lovable moves. Didn’t they want to love? What was wrong? Still other times my projected lovableness induced reactions I didn’t want. By openly broadcasting, “Love me” throughout the day, anybody, I mean anybody, might well respond, “Okay!” And that’s trouble. To make matters worse, most everybody else was doing their own version of The Love Crusade. What a loving mess.
(If Cupid exists, then my view of him in relation to his efforts is far from a lovely fairy tale . . . more like a dark comedy.)
Anyway, that’s when I discovered the need to navigate love. I’ll bet you have, too. I want this love, but not that. I want love here, but not there. I want love like this, but not like that.
Unfortunately, that has caused an awful, unintended result—I play navigator with God’s love, as well.
When He revealed His love for me in 1982, I became a love lunatic—and that was a good thing. Any verse that mentioned the love of God became poster material, and all I wanted was to remain in the knowledge of His love. In fact, the desire for His love and the enjoyment of it was the greatest obedience motivator I have ever found. It was why I read my Bible, talked to my neighbor, stopped sinning, went into the ministry, why I prayed, and why I gave money. I did it for love. God’s love was my strength.
But over the years I haven’t always had time for God’s love. I was busy, I was bothered, I was building something, I was serving. No time for love just now—I’ll get to that when time permits. I navigated away from love, and the evidence was obvious. When sin or frustration or anger or failure popped up in my life, I tried stomping them out. Quit it! I command you! Of course, stomping didn’t work; it never does. I simply didn’t recognize that it was all a result of a failure with love.
God’s love crusade is not out of need, as it was with mine. He means to display how incredible He is by lavishing love all over the place. And it's most obvious where it is least deserved, but most appreciated—and effective. Fortunately, He has made us to need His love beyond the need for anything else. Pretty smart of Him, don't you think?
I recognize that I have a learned problem with love—my history shows it. The navigational skills I once sought and used, I must drop before God. That’s the best daily exercise I get, and it makes every other relationship an avenue for the glory of God’s love.
Besides, when I first stand before Jesus on that day, I fully expect a smooch on the kisser. I can’t wait.