At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I would like to recommend this goal for you in 2011: Do what you can to be loved. It sounds a little selfish, but trust me—the rest of us around you and the world in general will like you more.
As with most of my thoughts, this one is not original. It struck me last Sunday in church where I heard a story about the day Jesus was baptized. He was at a transition point in his life. So Jesus goes to John and asks if he too can be baptized in the Jordan. John resists but then relents. At the end of it all, Jesus hears these words: This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life. I wonder if Jesus knew that one way or another, he would be loved in this act of baptism.
Jesus goes on to do some truly miraculous things in his life. He was able to be with and for people in a way that still has people talking. How is it that someone can forgive his or her enemies? What does it take to be so relentlessly truthful? How do you give yourself for others? I think it has to do his baptism. And then many other less dramatic ways of letting himself be loved.
And me? I’m not Jesus, but the same formula exists. I know that I have more to give when I am not tired. I can be there for others if I am not feeling burned out. And what I have to give has everything to do with being loved.
How to put ourselves in a place where we take in our belovedness is no small question. It isn’t easy in the midst of stressful lives and complicated relationships. But I suspect we know at least how to get started. We know the people who help us feel loved (and ones who don’t); we know the places that help us feel beloved. We could start by spending more time in those places and with those people. And if all else fails, we could follow Jesus’ lead and look to God.
Reflection Question: Who are the people and where are the places that help you be loved?
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Burnout! How many of us blame the busy-ness of our lives for the emptiness within? One of my favorite moments in the Sunday service is when, after serving the congregation Communion, my pastor and associate pastor turn and serve each other. It's such an act of humility to acknowledge that one cannot give or receive alone. As I witness this simple interchange, completed in the mutual respect and caring of a shared mission, I am reminded that giving and receiving both equally strengthen us when the actions spring from God's love and provision for us. It is also true, I think, that both giving and/or receiving can weaken us when it springs from any other source, especially our own pride or personal need for validation.ReplyDelete