I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but after all of the craziness that made 2014 a year of unmerited struggle (with pockets of beauty strewn in), I have decided to make one. Now, this isn’t your typical “lose weight” or “read more books” resolution, as those are things I intend to do that go without saying. The resolution—or more accurately, goal for growth—that I’ve made for myself is the result of much thought, meditation, and prayer over this closing year:
My growth goal for 2015 is to love better and more fully.
What does that mean? Well, it means a lot of things; it’s an intentionally vague statement that encompasses a world of change, but I’ll do my best to dissect it.
I’ve been reading through the Bible on a (nearly) daily basis for some time now and a few days ago, I came upon 1 John 4. That chapter, which speaks extensively about love, captivated me in a way that, even now, I have trouble putting in words. So much so, that I reread it (and re-meditated on it) two additional days before moving on to the next chapter. What stood out to me most was how love, real love, was never described as an emotion. All love was tied to action and sacrificial action, at that. It reminded me of a saying I’d heard somewhere about love not being love unless it costs you something…
There were two main types of love described in this chapter. The first: God’s love for us. The second: the love we should have for others. The love that God showed us in sacrificing His Son for us should affect us deeply, especially in regards to how we love those around us. And not just those around us that we like or enjoy the company of, we should share this love with everyone. (Yes, that includes the annoying, horrible, ignorant, racist, sexist people, too.) I know this is a difficult thing to hear and subsequently apply to one’s life, but it’s a precursor to loving God. We are said to all be made in the image of God, so if you hate the people you see around you, who have bits of God in them, you can’t love Him, whom you cannot see.
So, in terms of my growth goal, I want to love God, others, and myself better and more fully. I want to love recklessly and without fear of that love going unrequited. I want people to think I’m crazy for treating others with genuine kindness and respect even after they’ve been insufferable to me. I want to love.