How do I keep love balanced?

June 28, 2020 • Filed under: • Tagged: ,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Love your neighbor…

as yourself.

It wasn’t until a few months ago that “as yourself” jumped off the page at me. I tend to view life with an intense need to make sure I am loving my neighbor, sometimes to the detriment of myself.  

Clearly, there is to be a balance between the two.

One the one hand, Jesus died for us.

DIED.

Sometimes when I am listening to talk about boundaries and cutting negative people out of our lives, or when I am watching people posturing and protecting themselves in the name of reserving margin for others, I think,

“Good thing Jesus wasn’t like that, or we wouldn’t have a Savior.”

On the other hand…

  • Of course boundaries are necessary.
  • Of course we must sometimes say no.
  • Of course some people should not be in our lives.
  • Of course we must love ourselves.

How do we figure out the balance?

These three questions can be helpful in determining if we are being either too careful or too careless with our love:

1. Am I measuring?

If we find ourselves always measuring the hours someone is using up, or fuming over the energy we have put into a relationship, our love may be off-balance. Perhaps we are being too careful, thinking time is ours to use and others only have the right to a certain amount of “our time.” Or, measuring could indicate we are being too careless, pouring into a relationship that is not healthy for us, or one in which we are overly involved. We are figuring out our time is being misspent.

Only God can show you the answer.

2. Am I hesitating?

If we are reluctant to share a phone charger, help a child with homework because we are too tired, or reluctant to accept a social invitation because they “aren’t our favorite people,” perhaps selfishness is alive in our heart, as it has been in mine a million times. However, hesitation could also be a warning light from God, like those on a car dash. Perhaps we should not be in a relationship with a person, or to the degree in which we are. Do they tempt us toward a sin we are prone to? Has something about the relationship been making you uneasy?

Only God can show you the answer.

3. Did God tell me to do something else with my time?

God can interrupt us any time He wishes, and walking with Him often means rolling with those changes. But other times, we know what we are supposed to be spending our day doing, and we are to say no to the opportunity to love a person. Yup, sometimes we say no, just like Jesus did when he had to move on to the next town, leaving behind some people that did not get healed.

Only God can show you the answer.

A few things are for sure:

  • All love is “marked with sacrifice,” as my pastor said this past Sunday HERE. If sacrifice is not involved, we are being too careful.
  • Finding the line is a very personal thing between you and God. The line is not found in logic or on a pro-con sheet. (Was there anything logical about Christ’s crucifixion?) Walking closely with Him is an integral part of figuring this all out.

Are you walking closely with God so you can love well?

Our aim is a perfect balance between “careful love” and “careless love” every time. We cannot strike perfection most times this side of heaven on earth, but we can live a life of hovering around the mid-line, always aiming for God to shine His perfect love through us as we walk through each day in close relationship with Him.

Picture Explanation: We celebrated Father’s Day last weekend and hopefully blessed this father of seven. His oldest turned 40 and had a party on Saturday, then he hustled home to celebrate with three more on Sunday, and a new dog one daughter has adopted. In typical servant style, he grilled an incredible meal. It’s what he loves to do.

I get a behind the scenes look at all this man does for all of his children. Sometimes he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, or understanding for the many directions in which he is pulled amidst within the confines of our resources, but this man does his best for everyone and we did our best to thank him for that on Sunday.

© 2020 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.

 

6 Comments

  • Laurie,

    I love that after each question, you point us to God. Only God has the answers. To everything. Thank you so much for reminding us not to lean on our own understanding, hurt feelings, weariness, or stubborn determination.
    Amen!

    • Laurie says:

      This blog is a reminder to myself as well. Only God knows, so we must stay close to Him. It’s our only hope.

      It is so easy to look at others and “have thoughts,” but only God knows the intricacies of their lives and relationships. It is also so easy to “think it though myself” than to ask God, but as you stated, we are too easily influenced by “hurt feelings, weariness, or stubborn determination.”

      Talking to myself as well.

  • Tish says:

    This is very good! I find myself praying for wisdom with this question of how much to get involved and whether to get involved too. Another factor in this equation is Satan who wants us to get too involved or not to get involved at all! We have to know God’s voice very well so we don’t find ourselves listening to Satan’s voice, because it feels good to our flesh! The truth is that we need to spend plenty of time talking with the Lord so we quickly recognize His voice!

    • Laurie says:

      Oh, Tish, you hit it right no the head. We all want to live well, but we cannot unless we have a clean heart and are walking closely with God. Only He has our answers.

  • Jewl says:

    These questions are good checks!

    • Laurie says:

      Thank you. Feels like I have to use them every minute of every day sometimes! Hearing God’s voice in all the needs takes intentional focus.

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