Heart in the Clouds

Monday, December 22, 2014

So...





Yesterday, I wrote a great blog post about this past year, my struggles, my triumphs, my ups and downs. It was also about my goals for the coming year--the ways I want to challenge myself and things I want to learn.

But I didn't post it.

It didn't feel like what I really wanted to say, and it really wasn't that great.

So tonight on my 4-mile run in the dark, I started thinking. This past year for me has been about simplicity and getting rid of the junk in my life--physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. While I don't think I've succeeded fully, I've definitely made good headway. I've come out the other side of a bout with depression and anxiety. I've gotten rid of some toxic emotions--unforgiveness, anger, fear--obligations that have been draining me and even some physical junk that's been filling up our home. I've accomplished some goals. I'm more "myself" than I've ever been.

Yeah, I'd say 2014 has been pretty good to me, all things considered, and I've been pretty good to it. 2011-2013 were some of the hardest years of my life, in so many ways. But this year I started to feel a restoration in my heart.

While I was running tonight, though, I thought about this coming year and all the things I wrote last night. But I realized that all those things I wrote were just more "blah, blah, blah" to complicate my life. They're things I'd like to do and new goals I'd like to accomplish, but nothing that really spoke to the core of what I feel in my heart that I need to learn.

Then it dawned on me. Love. That's what I want to learn in 2015. I've simplified a lot in 2014, so I've opened up a lot of space in my heart and my mind.

To start off my 40th year, I want to start to learn what it means to love with my whole heart, out of a simple faith. I want to love like God does--without expecting anything in return. I want to love people whom others may consider unlovable. I want to be able to give my heart fully to my friends and family, without fear or reservation. I want to be like Mary (Luke 10:38-42) and sit at Jesus' feet and just listen--forgetting my self-imposed obligations, others' expectations and the tasks that I think need to be done. I want to make His love my focus and allow Him to teach me.

I want to be a person people know they can trust. I want to be a person who epitomizes what it means to live out the heart of God. To do that, though, I think I need to refocus. I tend to be a little scattered, but I feel the time is coming for me to focus myself on this one thing.

When we know we're loved, we realize our significance doesn't come from people's opinions. It doesn't come from what we've accomplished. It doesn't come from what we do, what we say or how we act. God loves us just as we are, imperfect and flawed. He loves us despite the darkness that lives in each of us.

Romans 8 reminds us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Our sin and our walls can keep us from receiving it, but nothing keeps him from constantly giving it. I want to live that way--loving, whether people can receive it or not.

In the past few days I've been thinking about the aspects of real love. I want to be able to measure what I'm learning about it with the way it is defined in I Corinthians 13:4-8 (I'm liking the Amplified version at the moment). As you read through this passage, take the time to think about how you give and receive love. Maybe, like me, you'll want to make 2015 a year of learning how to love.

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"4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]."