Defining Success by Love

afterlighttrees2 The snow is falling again, nearly weightless it drifts and plays before gathering in quiet tufts on the ground.

At least it's pretty, I keep thinking.  While spring has officially come and it had almost all melted last week, it's hard to resist that chilly, quiet beauty.

I've been mostly off of social media for the last couple weeks.  I take a break on Sundays, and I have my occasional moments where I have reached the limits of boredom and a quick browse through Instagram is irresistible, or I just NEED to share a picture of my udon.  For the most part, though, the lack of social media has been quite nice.  I've been reading,  I've been learning about God and growing closer to Him, and I felt considerably more content and at peace.  This time of Lent brings to light particular areas where I am weird and broken, which in turns helps me further explore the depths of God's love.

One thing I've been dwelling on a lot is the idea of community, and how to truly love people.  The more I read the Bible and learn about Jesus through conversations and books, the more I am struck by what Jesus says is the most important commandment, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  There are so many lines that Christians seem to get so caught up in (myself included) and I feel that getting caught up in these things often damages both our relationship with God and with people.  When we hold so tightly to a 'keeping a law', there is a chance we are not trusting in God's strength or grace, as well as the likelihood that we are ostracizing and shaming other people, these things which are not indicative of love.  I know this is a much bigger conversation, but I just wanted to mention it briefly that the thing that Jesus says is MOST important is love, so why would we spend our time doing anything other than that?

I read this amazing quote, which I posted on Facebook but which I definitely want to post again because it's so great.  It is this:

"Importance speaks to the value we derive from things like position, status, and the esteem of others. It is about building our brand: dropping names, getting close to popular people, flaunting knowledge, looking busy, defining spiritual maturity by activity and achievement, exalting public gifts above the others. Significance speaks to the value we add to people and culture. It’s about building others up: remembering their name, drawing near to the fringe, teaching others, being accessible, defining spiritual maturity by love for others, exalting Jesus as the head of the body, and appreciating the contribution of each member." -Kendal Haug & Will Walker

Defining success by love.  Amen. afterlighttrees