‘Stop trying to be profound and awesome – it will get in the way of love’ – Shawn Bolz
I’m going to be honest with you – sometimes I find writing a blog really difficult. The trouble I have is that with each new week and hopefully new blog post I feel pressure to come up with something amazing and profound. Something world changing. Something awesome. And as it turns out, coming up with something like that is not so easy. And so I end up spending quite a lot of time staring at the computer screen hoping for some heavenly inspiration to hit me, writing occasionally and all in all wasting a lot of time.
Thankfully though, somewhere in between staring at the screen and practicing my typing skills, I start remembering the advice I heard Shawn Bolz give at a gathering for young leaders and slowly the pressure comes off and I can get back to focussing on what is really important – listening to what Heavenly Papa is saying, being undone by His love again (because everything He communicates is an overflow of who He is: Love) and learning how to overflow with that myself, to other people.
The thing about trying to be awesome is that at its root, it’s a self-serving motivation. Love, on the other hand, is other-centred. Sometimes, what I have to bring may not seem like much – it may not be the most witty or clever. It may not be the most profound. But what matters is this: whatever I do overflows with love.
Of course, this is not just about writing a blog. This is about how we live our lives, how we approach other people, how we think about people’s perceptions of us. When we’re sharing the good news of Jesus with people – what is our motivation? To come up with something clever? To win the argument? To have a story to tell our friends later? Or to pour out all of Heaven’s love on that person? When we pray for the sick and command healing to their bodies, what is our motivation? Are our hearts moved by a desire for Heaven’s fireworks, or are our hearts moved by compassion for the broken? Sometimes I know my heart can be motivated by me wanting to look or sound really awesome, rather than by wanting to love the person in front of me really well.
The incredible thing is that when I read the Gospels, I encounter a God who is consistently motivated by love. Not a weak, romanticised version but the real deal – powerful, passionate and selfless. Jesus healed the sick as an overflow of compassion, not a show of power (see Matthew 14:14, Mark 1:41, Matthew 20:34). He multiplied food, not because it would make Him look good, but because He was too full of love to send the hungry away (Matthew 15:32). He gave Himself upon the cross as the ultimate expression of Father’s love – not at its root an expression of justice, or an expression of God’s hatred for sin – no, the root motivation of the cross is unstoppable, irrepressible love.
I want to be undone all over again by the raw love of God for me, and want to be a channel of that to those I meet today. Not trying to be awesome – too aware that often that comes at the cost of love – but really seeing the person in front of me and asking, what does it look like to unleash Heaven’s affection on this person right now? It may be something small, it may be something simple, it may be something inconvenient – but whatever it looks like, it will be love.