Last Saturday the 14-year old and I met up with family to celebrate two November birthdays. The day was perfect for mid-November and we knew if we were going to celebrate these two we’d need to strike while the iron was hot. Or the sun was shining. Which it was.
As we left the house I made sure we had a Toby Mac cd. You see we’d taken a trip just the two of us earlier in the month and she failed to bring a cd. And I had a hankerin’ for some Toby Mac.
Yes. I like that kind of music.
Yes. I am old.
Yes, I like to listen to it loud.
As we listened to “This is Not a Test” a few of the songs really struck a chord with me. Two in particular. I’ve listened to each song on repeat a least a million times. Each time it speaks to me.
I’ve also been reading The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. I have a love/hate relationship with that book. It’s not an easy read for me. So much truth.
So much Painful truth.
But so much Life-giving Truth to be embraced, to allow to melt into the marrow of my bones and bring healing and Life to my soul.
I’ve heard all the rhetoric about taking care of yourself first, because you can’t pour from an empty vessel. You can’t give what you don’t have.
To some extent I agree. But only to a very small extent. I can’t give a million dollars if I don’t have a million dollars. So tangibly that part is true.
But the other part?
Yeah. I don’t think that is true.
What if instead of waiting to be filled before we poured out into another, what if we just poured ourselves out into another?
What if, instead of waiting to know what love feels like, we just chose to love?
What if we just obeyed the command to Love One Another before we felt loved by them?
What if love feels like…loving?
What if the only way to feel loved was to love? What if the only way to be filled up is to pour ourselves out?
What if the only way to be filled was to be emptied?
I know Someone, the epitome of Love, who stretched out His arms in Love and gave. He gave to me, a sinner who hated Him. Yet, He stretched out His arms, poured Himself out on my behalf. He didn’t sit around waiting for me to fill Him up and love Him.
Because guess what?
He’d still be waiting.
And so would I. And so would you. And so would a hurting world. A broken world won’t heal without the Love we have to share.
So let’s agree to stop waiting to feel loved and just BE loved. Not wait to feel loved, but just Love.
Let’s live, what Ann Voskamp calls, cruciform. Let’s live our lives in the shape of the cross. I’ve drawn a red cross on the inside of my left wrist to remind me, not that I am loved but that regardless of my feelings at any given moment in time, I am to love.
Maybe that is how the world will see Jesus in me. When despite my hardships I choose to pour myself out in love first to my Savior, then to my family, and then by extension to the world.
I don’t need to be filled. I AM filled. I’m filled to the full of all the fullness of God. I can not possibly be filled anymore than I am at this moment.
When I refuse to obey the command to love until I feel loved, I am choosing to focus on the wrong thing. I am focusing on myself rather than my Savior. When I look only at myself I will never feel full, I will always feel empty, void of any and all life and love. But when I look to Love Himself and stretch out myself to be poured out, I am living in obedience and He fills me.
Full to the brim and overflowing.
With His grace.
With His mercy.
With His love.
With His life.
Oh Love, pour me out for You.