Thursday, February 9, 2017

Love or Self?


February, the month of LOVE, and I could easily rush through it all. Think that I've been here, done that, the years have proven timeless for me, and Love becomes easy and same, day after day.


But here it is, week 5 in this online book study of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces, and my heart is shattered by the conviction that


the depth of LOVE can never truly be plumbed.

What have I really learned about loving
and giving away my own rights?


Midpoint through this book, and things have come crashing down around Orual and her sister Psyche.  What seemed like love to Orual has shown itself to be something deeper and uglier. When Orual is confronted with Psyche's choice to live out her days in a place that is incomprehensible to Orual, she makes a choice to try to "rescue" Psyche for her own good.  But Psyche wants no rescue, and she cannot convince Orual that her choices are her own to make. Desperate to have Psyche back in her own world, Orual does the unthinkable and threatens Psyche that if she doesn't leave it all to come with her, then Orual would be willing to go to the awful depths of taking Psyche's life and then her own.

My heart was crushed at the awful plans that Orual laid out.

But a deeper conviction pierced through me when I read Psyche's response:

"Oh, Orual--to take my love for you, because you know it goes down to my very roots and cannot be diminished by any other new love, and then to make of it a tool, a weapon, a thing of policy and mastery, an instrument of torture--I begin to think I never knew you."

How could Orual take that love, and use it in such an awful act of manipulation?  I could not comprehend the depth of her will. And yet . . .

Have I not
sullied the Name of Love
when I have asked for it
on my own terms?

Have I not
misused my own desires
to label my Dear One's
needs as theirs
when mine
were the answers
I sought? 

What hope
is there 
for one such as I?

How can Love
ever be
full and free
selfless
and pure?



The Words from my Lord have been spoken so often that they can become one more way to rush through a season that has become artificial and man-made. But God's Words do not become LESS TRUE by our own misuse. No, His Love becomes even more pure  when placed against the starkness of our own selfish desires. 


If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, NIV 


Only Jesus can transform my own loving
to look more like His.
Only Jesus has fully known
true selfless love.

And when my heart is stirred to
taste TRUE LOVE
then His Spirit
is the One who is
doing the stirring
within me. 



Will you join me and ask for
His Love
to inhabit our hearts?

May our Lord Jesus
flood the corners
of selfishness that still lurk
hidden away,
and show us the way
to love our Dear Ones
with His 
Heart of Grace.

Oh Glorious Freedom
The Love that floods
From Jesus
brings with it
His Glimpse into the Beauty
that is His Picture
of our Dear Ones.
  







If you are interested in reading any of the posts pertaining to the book study of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces, you find an index to the series by clicking here.

 

I am linking today with:

Suzie Eller, #LiveFreeThursday 




8 comments:

  1. I did some serious soul searching throughout this section, too, Bettie. How often have I been guilty of re-defining "love" to suit my own devices? Open-hearted, open-handed love shows up in selflessness and a humble acceptance of the will of God for another person -- even if that person happens to be our much-loved child.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Michele, Yes, this section was hard for me to read, and even harder to humbly look within. But isn't God's Grace so good to us? Your words mean so much: "Open-hearted, open-handed love shows up in selflessness and a humble acceptance of the will of God for another person--even if that person happens to be our much-loved child," as I continue to find them to be so true. Thanks for your encouragement and motivation to pursue the study of this book. It is truly affecting me in ways I did not envision!

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  2. Oh Bettie. Such truth. And I too have done the same, most especially with those closest to me. I have committed Lent to removing even more distractions to sit at My Father's feet: to soak in more of His love. There are sins I want to see the back of that still hold me in their clutches, sins I don't want to be passing down through to my girls too. Right there with you. Hugs! So thankful for His patient pursuit and grace.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Anna, Oh I am so thankful for your open heart that wants to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His guidance and conviction. And yes, we are so Blessed by His "patient pursuit and grace." My prayers join with you to "see the back of sins that still hold me in their clutches." We can never get to the end of His GRACE can we? What Joy is found there! Hugs and Blessings and Love to you!

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  3. Oh yes, Bettie, I will join you in asking God to inhabit our hearts with His love:
    "May our Lord Jesus
    flood the corners
    of selfishness that still lurk
    hidden away,
    and show us the way
    to love our Dear Ones
    with His
    Heart of Grace."
    God's unselfish love is so amazing, isn't it? I love the verses in Corinthians. We can have so much wisdom and great faith, but without love, we have nothing. I read that passage a couple of weeks ago, and it hit home more than it has before. May God fill our hearts with His unselfish, boundless love so that we will spill out unselfish love towards others! Thank you for stirring my heart with love today! Have a blessed weekend!

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    Replies
    1. Dear Trudy, Isn't it amazing how we can read a Scripture over and over, and then one day it hits home more deeply than before? I love how God is so much bigger than we could ever realize! And yes, I want to "spill out unselfish love' in new ways also. Thank you for always bringing such encouragement to my heart, Trudy! May you have a Blessed weekend also! xo

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  4. Oh, Bettie, this is really convicting. How many times have I used love for my own selfish purposes. But Jesus will enable us to love more and more as He loves. He is the One who gives us grace, forgives us and moves us forward. I will join you in asking God to flood my heart with His love.

    Blessings to you, dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo

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    Replies
    1. Dear Gayl, Oh, I am so thankful for your words here, "He is the One who gives us grace, forgives us and moves us forward." Sometimes those old failures rise up, and try to keep us from receiving God's Grace. But HE is here, offering us such grace to move forward with His help! May we never forget that! I hope you have a Blessed weekend, full of love and hugs with that new little Grandbaby! xoxo

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