One secret to loving well

5:30 am Unknown 0 Comments

Love doesn’t come as a heart-shaped cookie cutter. 

I’m not sure I realised that when I set out to learn to love well this year. 

I think, subconsciously at least, I thought I could figure out what loving well looks like and then learn that off by heart and repeat, and repeat, and repeat. 

I mean there are those famous verses in the bible about love,
Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.
Surely, if I just learnt how to be patient and kind; how not to be envious, or brag or strut about and am never rude, indecent or self-absorbed then I’d love well? 

I know, just writing that list which only covers the first two verses, I’m thinking how on earth did I ever think that loving well could be made into a cookie cutter, one size fits all act? 

I was looking for a new book to read on my kindle and I saw a while back I’d bought the book, Love Well: Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck by Jamie George. I don’t know when I bought it. I can’t remember if it was before or after I started this “well” journey but it seemed like an apt read that would also maybe tick a box in the “read well” column. 

In the book, George writes vulnerably about a time in his life when he and his wife were walking through the question of whether to continue or end their marriage. He shares many of the things he learnt as they sat in marriage counseling and most of the book focuses more on how to get out of a rut in your life than practical ideas on how to love well. 

Once I finished the book I took the dog for the walk and while I walked I thought about this about how what I had wanted was a book that gave me the cookie cutter for loving my friends and family well. This book didn’t do that and it frustrated me.  

Then I thought back to something I read in the book:
“When we love well we are not preoccupied with uniformity.” {tweet this}

In trying to find one formula to love everyone the same I was not learning to love well. 

Instead I was trying to find a shortcut to doing the hard and holy work of listening, learning and opening up my own heart. 

I thought again of that famous bible verse that I somehow thought I could package up into neat cookie cutters. I thought about how patience/kindness/truth looks different depending on the who and where and when.

And I thought about how Jesus loves, how the bible is full of Jesus loving people in different ways, and how he could have delivered a sermon giving a cookie cutter approach to love. Instead Jesus told us to simply, “Love God with everything we’ve got and love others as we’d love ourselves.” 

None of us loves ourselves the same. For Xylon, loving himself means going for a long cycle. For me, it means curling up with book and bowl of popcorn. 

It's hard this realisation because it means I'll have to find the right mix of ingredients for each person I encounter that will help them feel loved.

So on this “well” journey I’m putting down my heart shaped cookie cutter and instead inviting the Holy Spirit to guide me in what loving well might look like in all the who’s and where’s and when’s. 

*Affiliate links used. This means if you click on the book link in this post and buy anything on Amazon a small percentage of the sale will be paid to me to help support my blog. 

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