Life

Love

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Life is so much more than just jumping through hoops to get to the next level. In my two months of college, I’ve realized that life is about stepping back and taking a look at the big picture. Sure, head knowledge comes from textbooks and lectures, and that’s a great thing. But heart knowledge comes from taking each day as it comes, trusting God to direct you in the way He has planned for you. Each day He has something to teach, but admittedly I get distracted by the chaos of life and I forget to just sit quietly and let Him show me something incredible. Over the past week or so, He’s opened my eyes to the vastness of this little thing called love.

This weekend, I went home for the first time since I left for college. I got the chance to see my family and friends from back home, go to my high school’s football game, and attend my home church. It was a much needed weekend, and it was honestly just lovely in every sense of the word. I felt so loved and welcomed, and that love just encouraged me. Funny thing, the sermon on Saturday night just happened to be about love. God’s super cool, guys. Long story short (or short story short), I’ve had love on my mind for the past few days.

Sometimes, I’ll walk around campus here at FSU, and I’ll feel this connection with the people I pass. Nine times out of ten I don’t know a thing about the person, but still I feel it. It got me thinking, “Why is it that I feel this pull toward these people?”

Here was my “Aha!” moment. Yesterday, I cracked open my bottle of Cosmic Cranberry kombucha, and glanced at the “Words of Enlightenment” on the side of the glass bottle. Guys, lemme just preface this by saying God can speak to you literally ANYWHERE, even on the side of a bottle of fermented red liquid.

“I don’t know you, but I love you.”

Oh. My. Gosh. Right then I understood the connection I feel with these people walking around campus. How awesome is it that we can love others that WE DON’T EVEN KNOW because we have a God who KNOWS US down to our very core and loves us still, even in all our brokenness. Key word there is AND. He loves us in all our brokenness.

So, what does this love look like in action? God rocks, because like I’ve said before on this blog, He meets you right where you’re at. My bible study topic for this past week just so happened to be about witnessing/evangelism, aka telling people about Jesus. As I was going through it, a quote I remembered seeing in my senior year Apologetics class popped into my head:

“How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.” -Penn Jillette, magician in duo Penn & Teller, atheist

Ikesyay. That’s convicting. It’s also a huge insight into what love really looks like. Love isn’t about telling people what they want to hear. It’s not about clear skies and butterflies and holding hands and 24/7 smooth sailing. It’s about venturing out of your comfort zone, stepping into another person’s shoes, learning how they see the world, and sharing with them the truth that saves. Listen, y’all, Jesus literally bled and died for us BECAUSE HE LOVES US. Jesus’ priority wasn’t to win peoples’ favor. He told them what was true. Even if they didn’t accept it, He still CHOSE to pay for their sins, even though it caused Him pain unlike anything we’ve ever felt so we wouldn’t have to. Love is self-sacrificial.

Matthew 5:46-47 says, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” Love expects nothing in return.

You take our failure
You take our weakness
You set Your treasure
In jars of clay
So take this heart, Lord
I’ll be Your vessel
The world to see
Your love in me. Broken Vessels, Hillsong

Jesus stepped into our shoes. He left the perfection of heaven to live as a human on earth. He knows exactly what we may be going through. He knows our weakness and failure, and he loves us still. And He uses our brokenness and failure for his glory. We’re not perfect, but our God is, and it’s because of His grace that we can love others. Someone recently said, “I’m just way too blessed to NOT share this with the world.” And it’s true; He’s given me an incredible community, and has given me the opportunity to experience a peace and love that nothing in this world can give. How could I not want that for other people?

So, friends, let’s choose to love today.

Love always,

Shannon

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