"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7 (NIV)
I'm not a spontaneous or particularly fancy person. Some people I know are, and their creativity amazes me. They whip up a gourmet dinner from leftovers in the fridge and what's in the cabinet. They create craft projects out of dried macaroni, spray paint and shoe boxes. They can think of birthday party games, favors and food that leave the celebrant feeling like a million bucks.
Not me. Ask my kids.
I'm thankful four out of five have summer birthdays and we have a pool! Cut up a watermelon, order pizza and voila!
It's not that I didn't care. Or that I didn't want to do more. But for so many years in my early parenting, I was overwhelmed with managing a job, home and very active children. Plus I believed my celebrations had to look a certain way. Since I didn't possess many creative skills, I always felt like a party-failure.
It was years later I realized most people don't really remember all the whoopla of a big party. There might be some shock-and-awe at first, but when the streamers fall and the balloons droop, people are more apt to remember moments inside those events. For example, at my 8th grade graduation, the only memory I have is of my older sister fixing my hair. Granted it was a long time ago, but her loving gesture meant the world to me.
People just want to feel loved. Remembered. Noticed. Valued.
That's how we were designed. God created us with a heart and soul to receive His love, so we could share it with others. In fact, loving God and each other is our highest calling. The Bible says it this way, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7).
Jesus said this, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12, NIV). The New Testament shows that Jesus loved His disciples by spending time with them, and caring about them deeply. He didn't need anything fancy to show His love.
Fancy's not wrong. Some people show their love through their creativity. And I applaud them. But for those of us who walk out of a craft store crying because we can't figure out which tie-die kit to buy, maybe a simpler option is more our style.
Maybe for some of us, we need to remove the self-imposed unrealistic expectations. Maybe we need to focus more on showing love rather than having our centerpieces match what we saw on Pinterest.
I've learned that it's often the little things that speak love to my friends and family. It's sitting outside at that summer pool party and watching the silly jumps off the diving board. It's abandoning the dishes to play a board game. It's an impromptu potluck dinner with friends on paper plates.
While I'll still try to make things pretty and creative, it's not my focus. My goal every day is to show love to my friends and family somehow. I may not always accomplish that goal with perfection, but I can come closer to it with God's help than I'll ever be able to pull off a spectacular birthday party.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I've gotten so worried about how my dinner or gathering looks that I've neglected what matters most to You. Open my eyes to ways I can show Your love to others, making them feel valued. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you need help thinking of ways to make others feel loved, Glynnis Whitwer has co-authored a book with Karen Ehman (who does fancy much better) called Everyday Confetti. In it they share lots of ideas for sprinkling special on every day.
If you purchase Everyday Confetti through Proverbs 31 Ministries, and email your receipt to Glynnis and Karen at the email address provided when you order, they'll send you a PDF with tips on "Getting Organized in the New Year."
Visit Glynnis' blog where she'll share a few ways to show God's love on Valentine's Day.
Reflect and Respond:
Remember a special event where someone made you feel loved. What did that person do?
What can you do this week to show someone you care deeply for them?
Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." (NIV)
John 15:12, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (NIV)
© 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105