A Different Kind of Love
The purpose of life can get cloudy if we only focus on what makes us happy. If we tackle life understanding that we are put on this earth to both receive love and give it, then suddenly our purpose comes into focus.
I have a confession to make. I am not always the best at loving well.
In fact, I would even say that sometimes I allow my own selfish desires, plans, goals, and dreams get in the way of loving really well. As someone who values hard work and getting things done, I constantly struggle with putting my to-do list aside to meet another’s needs. However, I will say that since I started my love relationship with Jesus 17 years ago, I’m getting better—the times where my own wants overtake what is needed, right, and good are getting fewer and further apart.
Yes, I still struggle. But, I’m learning. I am a work in progress. And so are you!
It’s easy to get caught up in chasing after an understanding of one’s individual purpose and meaning of life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself, “What am I here for?” “Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” “What’s my purpose?” It seems like these types of questions are always humming in the background of my thoughts, even when I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. How many times in my life have I started a project or joined a cause, thinking, “This is good. This is what I'm supposed to be doing!” Only later, I feel unfulfilled, tired out, and empty.
Every single one of us has a purpose. And every single one of us seeks meaning from life! I think we make it too complicated, though, and we listen to advice from so many other people and resources, like Oprah, Dr. Phil, or some self-help book. It all get too confusing and muddled. We attach what they say with our own expectations, ambitions, and ideals to the “meaning of life” and end up falling prey to the notion that happiness and feeling good is what life is really all about. We say things to ourselves like, “When I find a husband, then I’ll be happy.” “When I get a job that pays better, then I will be successful.” “When my kids are out of the house, then my life can really begin!” But, we find out soon enough that none of these things really complete us.
Wouldn’t it be wiser and more efficient if, instead of running around seeking truth and meaning from other people and resources, we sought out our true purpose and meaning from the One who made us in the first place? The One who loves us fiercely, flawlessly, and better than we could ever love ourselves or someone else? The One who can take the mundane and the simple things in life and turn them into unspeakable joy and purpose?
If you’ve never done so before, I encourage you to look with high regard and respect to the Bible, the material written by THE Source—the One who created us for a specific purpose—a purpose so simple that we often miss it! The Bible holds the true meaning of life—it’s God’s love story for each of us, complete with an explanation of how we are to respond to that love.
His is a different kind of love.
In fact, there is no other love like God’s anywhere in the universe! Bear with me as you take a look at a wonderful passage of the Bible in a version called The Message that gives the very definition of this love: 1 Corinthians 13. (Go ahead, click on it!) After reading through the list of what love is and isn’t, go to the last verse, verse 13. It tells us what we are to do in this life—we are to “trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, and love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” Now some who are more scholarly will look at this passage and say something like, “Yes, but this passage is referring to spiritual gifts!” While that is true, it’s also defining God’s love, how he loves us, and how we are to love others—with extravagant, self-sacrificing, enduring, pursuing, over-the-top love.
I know many people who won't allow themselves to explore the Bible in their search for true meaning and purpose. They try all of the other sources, but they refuse to try the one with the answer. If they would allow themselves to go on a journey to understand this great love, something in them would begin to move and take form. They would no longer care as much about themselves and their own lives; instead, they would begin to care about the things that God cares about and be moved to action. So what does God care about? He tells us in the scriptures! I encourage you to visit www.Biblegateway.com and just punch in the scripture addresses to read these for yourself – it’s easy and free, and it’s from THE Source!
- He cares about your love relationship with him. You see, even though God is a loving God, he is also a jealous God, in the sense that he doesn’t want the priority of our affections to go to anyone or anything else above him. (If you doubt how serious he is about this, check out the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:3-4, and John 3:16, John 13:34, 15:13, and Romans 5:8.)
- He cares about your love relationships with others—your spouse, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, widows, orphans, and those less fortunate in your communities and the world, and yes, even our own selves. (Ephesians 5:25, Leviticus 19:18, Luke 1:25-37, James 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Jeremiah 29:11-13; 1 John 3:1-3, 16-18)
Summing that up, he cares about us and how we value him and other people.
The purpose of life can get cloudy if we only focus on what makes us happy. If we tackle life understanding that we are put on this earth to both give love and receive it, then suddenly our purpose comes into focus. One of my favorite pastors always said that life is “Letting God love us, and love others through us.” I think that says it all, really. There it is—the true meaning and purpose of life!
Get started with your life purpose by doing these few things:
- Seek out God and put down your defenses to learn about him.
- Let him love you by accepting what he has to say about himself—wholly and completely.
- Let him shape you with his love.
- You can love the ones in your life with an extravagant, different kind of love.
You'll experience joy, energy, relief, a new outlook on life, a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging to something amazing, peace in your heart, new people to do life with, a new identity and a clear focus of who you really are.
I realize that it’s almost Valentine’s Day and it would be perfect if I could show you some ways to love your spouse extravagantly today, but since space and time are short in this blog post, I will save that for another time (or you can check out a past Radical Wife article by clicking here). I am starting a new, four-part blog series titled “Practical Tips for Loving Well,” where I’ll encourage you about how to love the people in your life God’s way.
- Part 1: God
- Part 2: Your spouse
- Part 3: Your children
- Part 4: Everyone else (relatives, neighbors, friends, co-workers, those in your community)
I hope you enjoyed today’s Truth Bites and I hope you learned something new today. Please feel free to pass this on to other people who could benefit from it. Thank you for all of your kind notes and words of encouragement to me over the past month—you are all a huge blessing to me!
Hugs and Love,
Connect with me via e-mail at email@example.com. You can also like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter and Pinterest. For more Truth Bites, visit my website, www.jenniferedwards.net/blog