In my continued quest to “love well,” I have recently been convicted by God about being genuine. It has been my ongoing desire to meet the challenge to love “everybody, always” (also a spectacular book of the same title by Bob Goff). It occurred to me the other day, however, that I have a long way to go. It’s like I’m loving, but not loving well.
Psalm 92:4 says, “For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands.”
He has made me glad. If I’m loving well, I need to be glad about it. Confession time: I’m not always glad. In fact, if I search my soul as I look back over this past year, I could very honestly say that my actions I perceived to be “loving well” had become no more than a programmed response.
From an earthly perspective, I do believe others saw me as being kind, or even loving, toward them. But it became a force of “habit” for me, and I forgot to consider why I was actually doing those things in the first place. I want to share some examples with you so you can peek into my heart and mind as I explain my desire to be genuine. There’s nothing scandalous, so if you are looking for a major reveal at this point, you are going to be sorely disappointed!
I began to think about the little actions that had become habit: letting someone who was being squeezed out of traffic into a spot ahead of me, even though the judgmental side of me was angry that he flew past the “left lane closed” signs for the last two miles. I found a way to extend grace. That one took a while to accomplish without wanting to make a “ha ha” face and zoom past him as he finally waited his turn as the rest of us had. But it became habit. As I drove that road daily, it almost constantly happened...but I wanted to love well.
In the morning, I’d often stop for coffee on my way to the office, and it became a habit to “pay it forward” by paying for the car behind me routinely. I wanted to love well. That routine became a habit. Yes, it was a kind gesture...but I had let it become routine, and I didn't offer it with the love it deserved.
A dear friend of mine recently opened a restaurant. From the first time there (and I’m there a LOT), I made it a practice to leave a generous tip for the servers--EVERY time. I wanted them to know that their support and the work they were doing for my friends was important to me. I wanted to love them all well. It became a habit.
Finally, when I am going into a store with a shopping cart, I either help someone load their car if they wish, or just return the cart for them. Again, I wanted to love well, so I made this a habit.
There’s nothing necessarily “wrong” with any of those examples as compared to society norms. It is just an indication of someone trying to be a decent human being. But I was going about them all wrong. I let the thought and the purpose get lost. I had allowed these habits to become second nature, and forgot why I started them in the first place. I am supposed to be the “salt and light” as called in the scriptures. My “light” was on, but my “salt” had lost its abilities to preserve. I was allowing the routine to become the mundane, forgetting that to “love well” we must do so with a genuine approach.
I still continue these habits that I noted above, but now I try to be more purposeful before actually doing anything. I challenge you to look at the mundane in your life and ask yourself, “Am I doing this with the joy of Lord and the gladness He has provided, or am I blindly doing things without the “well” part of the “loving well” principle?” He has made me glad; he has made YOU glad!