Thursday, October 2, 2014

Authentic Living

We all want to live authentic lives.  We want to believe that the blood coursing through our veins is more than just blood.  Our stories are more than stories.  Our laughter is more than noise.  It is our soul cry to do more than just live and die.

Shared photos (upon photos and more photos) tell stories every day of people living.  We try to share the emotions of our moments with each other through photographs and words, status updates and tweets...because we want others to believe we're authentic, too.

In the tenacity of our living, we forget that it's not the pre-planned vacations or the moonlit hikes that make us authentic.  It's our love.

"If I speak in tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."
~1 Corinthians 13:1-3

I have these friends that wake up in the newborn hours of the day.  We meet up so we can hear the rhythm of each other's feet against the lake path as we run.  We can feel each other's hearts pour out as we share our lives.   My friends bring much brightness to the now-getting-darker mornings. Each of these women possesses the talents and abilities to do anything they want.  But the most outstanding possession each has is a heart bursting with love and empathy.  These women are walking (er, running) proof of the power of love.

When I was new to this town, they embraced me.  I was welcomed into their laughter, to add my tone to the various pitches of their morning chatter.  Like a sister who had been here all their days, I fell headlong into their welcoming gestures.  I would not be the woman I am today without this.

You see, their great love brings more light than their talents alone.  Because they love deeply, my life is changed, and I know others' lives are, too.

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Regardless of talents, jobs, or spiritual gifts, it's the love that brings it all to life.  Otherwise, we're just noise.

I used to believe that once I had everything perfect, that maybe then my life and love would be worth something.  But the beauty of love is that it's something you can give in any phase of life.  When I focused on the world and my culture, I felt worthless.  When I began to look to Jesus, I saw him writing a love story in my life.  There isn't one thing that I've done successfully that didn't have love.  I have done some things well, but none of them mattered if my heart wasn't involved.

I do not want to be a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  I don't want to leave this world having gained nothing.  I want my Father in heaven to be proud, and to have access to my whole life with His love.

Think: what would motherhood be without love?  Nothing.  What would teaching be without compassion?  Miserable.  What would marriage be without the sacrifice (which comes from love, and nothing else)?  Empty.  What would friendship be without caring about one another?  Meaningless.

Who would you be without ever experiencing some kind of love?

Please be encouraged, sweet Reader, that it doesn't matter what you's how you love.  You can show love in anything, even if it's folding laundry or grading papers or writing lesson plans (ha, maybe that's just me!).

They will know you by your love.  They will remember you for it.  It's how you can change the world.  One little word: LOVE.  That is how you know if your life is authentic.

What are you waiting for?  Get out there, and show them the best love you have.  You are the difference the world has been longing for.


*Author's Note: I would not be able to finish this post without giving credit to my dear husband, who is love manifest in my life.  Ben, you are a picture of love...and not just romantic love, but the kind of love that makes this post even possible for me to write.  You are the sweetest person, and everyone who has ever talked to me about you adores you.  This is because of your love, the sincere and deep compassion with which you walk out your life.  I pray a blessing upon you right now, and each and every day, that Christ's light and His undying love would keep shining through you and into the lives of those around you.  They will continue to know you by your love.  Thank you for being an inspiration to me, the woman who is privileged enough to be your wife.