I read this post today entitled “Belly Button Grace” about how living from the center of our being – the part that was intimately and directly connected with God (our spiritual belly button, if you will) – changes everything. In it, the author describes God’s love for us, a love entirely independent of what we look like, the things we do, the way we love him back…God’s love for us is based on nothing like that. God’s love just is. He just loves us, and that’s it.
God is love. Is.
Oh, how precious – to be loved that unconditionally! It makes me want to love like that – with more abandon, fewer conditions, less irritation, more consistency, more of me. Really, I just want to be love, so that my very essence wraps around my husband and children and shores up their souls with the same confidence I get when I bask in God’s love for me. I want to be love like God is love.
But it’s hard, so incredibly hard. It is hard for me to be love while I live – while I clean the messes for the hundredth time and when my husband wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and when Gabe persistence turns smart-alecky and Isla wakes up four times before midnight. It’s hard enough for me to be love when everything’s perfect and there are no problems. These mundane regularities drive me toward failure more often than I care to concede.
I have a long way to go. A long way before I’m like God and his love.
I felt sad and small at this realization, a grief over the size of the chasm between my goal and my reality. Not just that I’m not living my goal, but that the fact that I’m not living in the preferred way has implications for my husband and my children.
I’m still learning the art of vulnerability, and in search of a little numbing comfort I ticked down a mental list of God’s characteristics and tried to pick out a few I did do well with. It didn’t take long, however, for me to realize that undergirding every one of God’s characteristics is his love – his “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love,” to quote one of my favorite books. It doesn’t matter the characteristic – it always comes with love. When he judges, along comes his love. When he comforts, his arms are wrapped in love. When he disciplines, there’s tender love. When he’s angry, love burns at the center. When he rains down wisdom, he rains down love. Until I grasp his love, none of my other qualities really resemble his in the slightest. Judgment without love…wisdom without love…hope without love…anger without love…they’re just shallow facsimiles of his.
Today I’m trying to be love. Maybe I won’t be better at it than I’ve been in the past, but I will do it more consciously than I have before. And again tomorrow, more conscious. And when I fail, I’ll start over again, more conscious, still. I hope that by paying attention to his love I can better be love to the ones he gave me so they live life always knowing they are loved, period.
How lucky we all are to be loved like that!