So I did it – I started reading The Love Dare this week and promptly got stuck on Day 1. (It has now been 6 days.)
“Love is patient.”
My first reaction was: “Of course love is patient. Are we just going to go over Corinthians 1:13 here, because I own a bible. Of course I believe this, I chose it as our wedding reading, it is one of my favorites.”
Uh – except I am NOT patient in my marriage, or in any of my relationships day-to-day. I get fed-up and irritated; I make snarky comments under my breath even if I don’t come out and say it.
“But-but-but, God, what am I supposed to do? Whoever I am irritated with, it is only because they aren’t being at all considerate of ME!”
The opening of The Love Dare talks about how dangerous it is to follow your heart. When I let myself lose patience, I am following my heart – but God has told us that “the heart is deceitful above all things,” (Jeremiah 17:9,) so why would I follow something that can’t be trusted?
I need to lead my heart, not follow it.
Which means that I need to take control of my negative, impatient feelings towards others (including those I love most at times) if I wish to actually demonstrate love to those around me.
It is HARD. I am selfish. I want to get something in return – I want to get the same courtesy returned to me. But that is frequently not the way it works.
The other day I was taking Potter on his evening-time walkies. It was hot, still very sunny, and there were loads of other doggies out walking as well. I seemed to be doing everything wrong. If I thought a dog or owner looked like they didn’t want Potter to say hello, I would pull him along, resulting in him being upset and frustrated and (much to my dismay) frequently also in the other owner looking at me like I was a snob. However when I tried to let Potter say hello to other dogs, it seemed that I picked the wrong ones and I always got a crusty look or a “she isn’t good with other dogs.”
Meanwhile, I’m walking Potter along, negotiating the blazing sun, pulling him to wait for me at alleyways so he will be safe, and directing him out of the lawns of houses and into public spaces to do his business. And the whole time I am reminding myself that my love for him should be patient.
By the time we got back to the house, he looked totally dejected, and I felt tired and empty. In short, “Hey Keri, pay-shunts – Ur doin it wrong!”
Not barking my irritation at Potter, or muttering a snide comment about The Hub under my breath – that is not it. I am not leading my heart, I am following it as it is deceived about the love that I truly feel for my family. Truly being responsible for your heart is not easy – and patience may actually be the biggest hurdle for me. (Great, I get my tough one right out of the starting gate.) But Patience allows for wisdom, and wisdom is needed to lead a heart, for sure.
And so the prayer and the work continues on “Love is Patient.”
Anyone else read the book? Love to hear your thoughts or stories in the comments section!
Father in Heaven,
I know where to look for the perfect example of patient love. I am selfish and scared and it is hard for me to not want to “keep score” of behaviors in relationships. Help me to lead my heart, using your words and living in your timing, and to remain calm and patient and not react in mean, foolish ways that I later regret. Help me be receptive to the teachings about love present in your Word, and to lead my heart in the love that I have for my family, friends, and all that I share your creations with.
This I pray in Jesus’ name.