“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first”, Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (MSG)
Five brave women broke through the norm and put Snowboard Slopestyle on the map yesterday. It was exhilarating to watch. They slid across rails, flipped over ditches and jived through the air. You could almost hear the lioness in each of them. But the part that struck me the most was the moment just before they started their runs. They hugged each other, and not just a cordial-pat-on-the-back display of sportsmanship. No, they hugged and genuinely encouraged each other. I wish closed captioning was available for the thoughts in their heads. I mean, I wanted to pull her aside and say “Girl, her last ride landed her in higher standing than you- but you hug her and cheer?! Really? Doesn’t it irk you just a bit that you spent 4 grueling years sweating, bleeding, crying, striving, working, sacrificing, and sweating some more for this moment right here… and you hug your competitor? Doesn’t it scare you even just a little that she might take your dream metal and leave you empty-handed?”
That is when it echoed somewhere behind me… Love doesn’t swell its head, Isn’t always “me first”.
I underestimated this challenge to really look through 1 Corinthians 13 for a week. I expected a repetitious week of a very familiar passage of scripture but what I’ve experienced is quite different. I’ve been challenged to really examine why I do what I do and where those actions really, truly come from. I often feel life gets heavy and downright overwhelming at times. I let it get to me last week and I melted into an emotional mess. I let selfishness take root and the opposite of love happened- I flew off the handle. I was more than irritable; I pulled out all the records of wrongs. It wasn’t lovely.
Love is hard when life is heavy. It is harder when life is exhausting and demanding. But beyond choosing to put others first, deeper than the perseverance to keep on believing and “loving them anyway”, right there in the quiet of night when no one is watching is where love meets life. If you pay attention and let it fill all those corners of your heart (even the dark ones you ignore) it changes the origin of the love you give. No longer are you giving love out of duty to a verse but pouring out worship back to the one who completes you.
I saw it pure as snow in her eyes just after she hugged her competitor. She loved not out of do’s and don’ts but out of joy for the dream, a shared dream. Her pursuit of excellence didn’t wane nor did her focus blur on her goals but she still showed love and celebrated another’s success.
I want THAT kind of overflow. Fill me to the depth of every corner so that I can truly love others. May I be patient, kind, rejoicing in truth and celebrating life with others even if my flesh wants envy and pride. May I love like that because you have given me love like that!
In Jesus Name,