Love Defined

Photo by Hubble on Unsplash

Structure brings freedom. My mind goes against that, but scheduling tasks and play are a must. You can’t just wake up in the morning with no plan for the day. Even time at the beach, in the mountains or wherever you go on vacation has structure.

I went to bed last night at 8. My alarm went off at 4, but I had some bad dreams that got me up just before 1, so I hit the snooze several times, and I actually reset the alarm for 5, but even then I hit the snooze several times before I got up just before 6. I think my CPAP said I got a full 8-9 hours. Clinical depression demands I get a full 8 hours sleep. I’m religious about that. I will not have a relapse. I’ve come too far to fall off the wagon. I know some of you know exactly what I mean.

This however is not a lament.

Mornings are an incredible time of solitude that can only be described as effervescent. It takes coffee and a few steps back and forth across the house to get there. I purposely stopped reading in Genesis when Laban returns from confronting Jacob for running away without saying goodbye. It was a peaceful exchange, and the translators in the next section of the Hebrew Bible made clear that Jacob was about to meet Esau. I didn’t want the stress of that going into my writing. As my computer slowly booted up I also picked back up in a Jan Karon novel I’m reading till it started.

Reading and writing are two of my passions. I’ve done it since at least the third grade. I know I learned to read way before the third grade, but my writing life began in the third grade in a little Kansas town out in the middle of nowhere. I wrote about a football game I think because our neighbor Russell was a kicker on the high school football team. We shared a huge backyard, and Russell would punt in that yard. We’d try to catch his punts. He was one awesome friend to Joel and me, and his dad’s gas station had a Ms. Pac Man we played all the time.

I resent the instability my childhood created, but when I look at it from an epic point of view that resentment changes to wonder. I know how to adapt to any social situation. I can change plans at the drop of a hat, but my desire to build roots is deep. There’s no possible way to comprehend all that a life entails, but when you can ascertain existential questions on this level then God can bless you. I did not know my friend Shiloh from 7th grade through high school, but our “reconnection” has been priceless. Those two years sometimes feel like a lifetime. I can’t wait to drive to California to spend some time with him. The same is true for my friend David. Our lifestyles are drastically different, but we are human beings who seek answers to our existential thoughts.

Creativity is born out of suffering, but when you face times such that I face now in the glory of mornings you feel like you have the world on a string. That might be melodramatic and bi-polar, but I refute that lie saying that it is God. The glory of God is man fully alive, and I am fully alive with this second cup of coffee coursing through me.

God is good.

We have a tendency to dismiss inspiration because it’s not “inline” with normal behavior, whatever the hell that is. I refuse to live a life that is nice. I know it’s important to be nice, and I don’t negate the need in our world today for nice. It’s desperately needed. We also need fruits of the Spirit in more abundance like gentleness and kindness because the hurt across our cities is great. I live in the buckle of the Bible belt where there are thousands who will go to church all day today, but many of them are not transformed by the power of Jesus Christ to act like Christians on Monday morning. I say “them.” but I repent and say we because my sin is always before me, and like I wrote I need more gentleness and kindness as I engage my city.

I’m a very angry man, and I’m trying to change that, but that’s just it isn’t it? I can’t change it. Only my Father can. He partners with all of us in the strongholds that are trying to strangle us. He doesn’t always remove the chains, but He gives us the strength to stand up under them.

Obviously there will come a day when as we move about on the New Earth that depression and any other kind of illness will not hold claim to a single individual, but until then we have to learn how to call upon the name of the LORD. The Holy Spirit is an integral part of that partnership, and I cannot overemphasize the importance of asking for the Spirit’s fruit continually. We cannot possess too much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Those things are internal, and we must invest in our internal lives, so that Satan and his minions do not destroy us. He hates that sentence. I don’t know that I’m significant enough for him to know me, but I guarantee you a minion does, and obviously that minion or minions have reeked havoc on this life. They aren’t done. I take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ, but there are times when my guard is down. That doesn’t phase my all powerful Father because He sends angels to protect me. I believe that with all my heart.

As surely as our sun rises as I write this is the fact that my God is always near. I may not sense His presence, but He is still at work. I long for my new body that can look upon Him without being destroyed, but for now His presence is enough.

I am enough. You are enough. Evil forces bombard us with messages that who and what we have are not enough, but that’s the biggest lie since the beginning of time. Refute it. If you need to delete social media do it. Whatever you need to do to lean heavily upon the fact that God loves you more than life do it. Believe Him above all other voices. Seek Him first and all these other things will be given you dear one.

It’s the greatest love story ever told. Money, politics, sex and health are not what make us safe or satisfied. A relationship with our Creator has always been and always will be what makes us safe and satisfied.

Until next time.

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