I fall asleep feeling guilty. I painfully recall all my regrets from the day…the friends I didn’t call, the ugly words I said to my husband, the way I snapped at my son.
My thoughts are consumed with all the ways I didn’t measure up that day. All the ways I could of loved but didn’t.
For the prayer time I didn’t have, the way I hurriedly read through my bible, sorry God.
For not taking the time to run upstairs and give you a kiss or how I scowled instead of smiled when I made you lunch, sorry hubby.
For the threats and the yelling, for not telling you how much I love you, sorry kiddos.
Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.
I lie in my bed, completely exhausted from another full day of work. Instead of feeling fulfilled I feel more like a failure.
I didn’t love enough.
Not to mention, all the people I’m supposed to care about outside of my own home. There are so many, from the check out lady at the grocery store to the hurting in Belgium, to my extended family, and friends far away.
If I look at it, this whole loving people thing feels impossible, heavy, like a burden.
Wait…did I actually say that. A burden? Heavy? Impossible?
Yes, yes I did say that.
I’m sure you’ve said it too. We know we’re supposed to love people, that’s the right and noble thing to do with our lives.
But for most of us, loves comes with more guilt than glorious feelings of delight.
We are experts at seeing all we didn’t do, all the ways we messed up, and fell short in the love game.
But I want to release myself from collecting points as if love is a game.
Ten points for this, a hundred points for that.
God isn’t keeping score on our love game. Isn’t that a relief?
So how do we rid ourselves of the guilt, the fear of never loving people, the worries that we are not making a difference in the world?
First, we look to Jesus. He is the definition of love. We realize that love is never our duty, but love is His delight. God is love and…we are not.
Second, we look into the mirror. We see it in our eyes, we feel it in our heart, we want to love people, the only problem is we will never do it perfectly. Even on our most selfless days, we will always mess up through our ugly, unloving, and hurtful ways and words. But when we look to Jesus first, then we can look in the mirror with confidence and say, “I loved well today.” Because the truth is, you did. You really, really did.
You noticed people.
You served others.
You helped, encouraged, fought for, celebrated, and laid down your life for your friends, for family, for strangers.
You did. Even if it didn’t feel like it. Even if it went unnoticed or appreciated. Even if your simple acts of love were tainted with anger or frustration. Even if it didn’t come easy for you.
You loved well today friend.
Now, tell it to yourself before you lay your head on your pillow.
You displayed Jesus in your cracks and imperfections. You reflected Him in your broken smile and your simple words.
You know why?
Because Jesus, Love Himself, resides in you and me. Love is our essence. Love seeps out of us. Love flows from the depths of our being.
Love is the rhythm we walk to, even if we’re limping or lonely.
Love is our song even when we feel out of tune.
Love is in us, even when we don’t feel it because love isn’t a feeling, love is Jesus. And Jesus can’t help but escape out of you and I.
I know, it’s a mysterious thing, how love can take up residence in our shambles and how love can be spread through our very feeble fingers.
Leave the guilt- the sorry list and the score keeping, and start believing that because of Jesus, you can love people. Not only that, but you loved well today and you are loved always...Now close your eyes and rest.