This is Love

"This is love: Not that we loved God. It is that he loved us and sent his Son to give his life to pay for our sins." 1 John 4:10

“In this is love..” or another translation could be “In this way is seen the true love."

God didn’t look down and say, “Boy, I see you love me. I think I’ll love you.” Or “You’re a nice guy, I really like that.”

Instead:

You were rebellious, arrogant, self-centered. God said, “I love you.”

You ignored him, fought him, were bored with him. God said, “I love you.”

You spit in his face, yelled at him, shook your fist. God said, “I love you.”

That’s what John means here.

We see what real love is by looking at what God did. He loved us with a desire to restore us, to make us whole.

Stephen Goforth

a simple question

Upon meeting someone, instead of asking, "What do you do?" I prefer asking, "What do you love to do?" That always stops people. Their eyes soften, and they smile. "What do I love to do?" Sadly, it usually it has nothing to do with their work.

The problem is that our society does not teach us to value what we really love. It teaches us to value what we are good at. How many people do you know who are really good at their jobs but hate what they do for a living? Think for a moment. It's staggering.

In the last few years, I've become acutely aware of just where the culprit might lie.

My daughter and I have just finished the college slog, and she is off to her freshman year in a matter of weeks. The journey wasn't easy. Over and over again at colleges around the country I heard admissions people with starched shirts and neat scarves shooting what felt to me like verbal bullets to a room full of prospective students, such as "Who here is good at math? Raise your hand."

Half the room would groan. Half would raise their hands.

"Okay — for those of you with raised hands, you might want to declare Accounting as your major. Accounting majors are guaranteed jobs out of college."

Eh-hem???

Is that what college is for? Getting a job?

A job is a good thing, of course, but college is about something deeper. It should teach you how to think. It should help you learn what you can't stand. It is about stretching your mind in ways you never thought you could and coming out the other side ready to fly into the unknowns of life with some level of confidence and better yet, wonder.

Every single time I witnessed this What-are-you-good-at-raise-your-hand assault on our college-bound youth, I wanted to stand up, Oz-like, and say, "Ignore the person on the stage. It's not what you are good at. It's what you love. If you are lucky enough to have both, good for you!"

Laura Munson, Writing in The Week

joy in the journey

This little story has been around a while, but still worth remembering: Two brothers decided to dig a deep hole behind their house. As they were working, a couple of older boys stopped by to watch.

"What are you doing?" asked one of the visitors.

"We plan to dig a hole all the way through the earth!" one of the brothers volunteered excitedly.

The older boys began to laugh, telling the younger ones that digging a hole all the way through the earth was impossible.

After a long silence, one of the diggers picked up a jar full of spiders, worms and a wide assortment of insects. He removed the lid and showed the wonderful contents to the scoffing visitors.

Then he said quietly and confidently, "Even if we don't dig all the way through the earth, look what we found along the way!"

Their goal was far too ambitious, but it did cause them to dig. And that is what a goal is for -- to cause us to move in the direction we have chosen; in other words, to set us to digging!

But not every goal will be fully achieved. Not every job will end successfully. Not every relationship will endure. Not every hope will come to pass. Not every love will last. Not every endeavor will be completed. Not every dream will be realized.

But when you fall short of your aim, you can say, "Yes, but look at what I found along the way! Look at the wonderful things which have come into my life because I tried to do something!"

It is in the digging that life is lived. And I believe it is joy in the journey, in the end, that truly matters.

Maintaining

It’s the maintenance of life, the plumbing of life that we sometimes slip into and forget the prose and poetry. It’s easier to make lists, it’s easier to call the plumber, its easier to wonder why the car doesn’t work, and spend our life, worrying about the plumbing. And one day at 50 we wake up and say, “Why is there no juice? Why is there no joy? Why is there no pleasure?”

Roger Fransecky, Apogee Group

did you feed the bears?

A phone conversation with a four-year-old:

Did you feed the bears?

      What bears?

The bears under your bed.

      There aren’t any bears under my bed.

Oh, yes, their names are Teddy and Charlie. Teddy Bear and Charlie Bear.

      I’m going to go check.

      (a moment passes)

      There are no bears under my bed.

They must have gone to the bathroom.

      I’ll go see.

Don’t do that, they’d be embarrassed if you saw them.

      (a few more moments of discussion)

      I’m going to see if the bears are in the bathroom.

      (phone is dropped)

      The bears are in the tub. They’re taking a bath!

Life is filled with such interesting and remarkable things when you are four. The further we get away from that imaginative, amazing world, the harder it is to hear the voice of God in our lives and see his hand at work in the world around us. Hang on to the joy of a child.

Stephen Goforth

Giving yourself time to play

Play has a positive impact on creativity because— in addition to helping us both mind-wander and diversify— it stimulates positive emotion, which research shows leads to greater insight and better problem solving. Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, found that positive emotions increase our cognitive resources by expanding our visual attention. When we feel good, we gain the ability to pay attention to a wider range of experiences. We see the big picture rather than getting bogged down in the details. In other words, if you feel stuck in a rut or you can’t think yourself out of a problem or don’t see a way out of a situation, play may be a way of getting “unstuck” and coming up with innovative ideas.

Just as joy and fun can make you more creative, creativity in turn enhances your well- being. The more creative you become, the more joy you invite into your life. Nikola Tesla wrote, “I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success. . . . Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.”

By naturally tapping into your inner creativity, you reconnect with the joy you had as a child playing. You engage in a positive feedback loop that continues to replenish you with joy and creativity. It makes for an adult life rich with delight and inventiveness.

Stanford psychologist Emma Seppälä writing in the Washington Post