13 December 2010

None of that stuff matters

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second most important commandment is this: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.  There is no other commandment more important than these two.
Mark 12:30-31 

At first glance, there are just two simple commandments 1. Love God. 2. Love your neighbor.

Look again, folks.  There is, what I like to call, "Commandment 2.5," and here it is: Love yourself.  There's an inherent assumption that you already love yourself in the rather obvious way Mark quotes Jesus as saying, "love your neighbor as you love yourself."  Would anyone who practices real self-love please stand up? << Please stand up. Please stand up.  (now bob your head like the real slim shady) >>

This can be tricky with our culture constantly bombarding us with messages that we aren’t skinny enough, strong enough, popular enough, pretty enough.  Or that we don't have enough.

It's tough when everything in the inbox bears the subject line: you *need* this in order to be whole and happy.  

And I would be remiss not to mention the fact that no one but you can hear your inner self-talk, your internal dialog.  Actually, this makes it pretty darn easy to *not* love yourself, especially if you're a good southerner, well-versed in hiding your feelings and wearing a pretty mask.


Hey you.  Sit up straight.  Shoulders back.  Listen up.  

None of that stuff matters.  

Now love.  Love matters. Seeing, feeling, and believing in the furious and passionate love that God has for you << Here's your disclaimer: I am a follower of Christ- totally stuck on Jesus (not the church as an institution, but Jesus as a dude who turned everything upside down in the name of love). You need to know that I appreciate and respect all the ways that God manifests God-self for each and every human being past and present on this planet.  I live comfortably in the gray area.  I mean it when I say that we don't have to believe alike to love alike. >>. Let me repeat... what's included in that, "Stuff That Matters," list?  Seeing, feeling, and believing in the furious and passionate love that God has for you... knowing- in the deepest way of knowing- that there's nothing you could do to make God love you any more or any less.  You love yourself as a perfectly whole child of God with your numerous imperfections.  Then, you turn right around and love others.  

So in the end... like really in the end << let's be honest, folks: there's a 100% death rate- none of us are getting out of this alive >> relationship – it’s what counts in the end.  When I think about the big, BIG picture, it's not how much cool stuff I have, or the incredible accomplishments I’ve achieved or might still go on to achieve.  What matters, like in a real, authentic, big deal kind of way, is whether or not I showed kindness, lived lovingly, and actually chose to give a shit.  << please excuse the profanity.  I tend to drop S-bombs on an as-needed basis only when deemed appropriate.  For real, I don't intend to be offensive. >>

I like what Don Miller has to say about the importance of loving others.  In his book Blue Like Jazz (pages 145-146), Miller asks a friend if marriage is all that it’s cracked up to be.  His friend responds like this:
“No, it is so much more than I ever thought it would be. One of the ways God shows me He loves me is through Danielle, and one of the ways God shows Danielle He loves her is through me. And because she loves me, and teaches me that I am lovable, I can better interact with God.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that to be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can’t accept who God is; a Being that is love. We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people,” Paul says. “That is why God tells us so many times to love each other.”

This whole "love thing" starts at home, folks.  LOVE your family.  LOVE your parents.  LOVE your siblings.  LOVE your spouse.  << Psst.  Here's another secret: DISAGREEMENT and LOVE can, in fact, co-exist. Conflict is healthy, people.  Dealing with conflict won't untie us. Coming through a conflict will actually unite us. >>  And for the love of God, LOVE your kids.  Don't ever let your kids doubt your love for them.  The moment they do- especially for you dads out there- you're undercutting their capacity to understand God's love as the love of a FATHER.  Many faith traditions refer to the love of God as the love of the Father.  Frankly, for all the dads in all the world, that's a really high bar.  Step up to the plate and love your kids.

I don't have a clever conclusion for this post.  So I'll offer a Don Miller repeat.  Here we go.

"... We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people,” Paul says. “That is why God tells us so many times to love each other.”

And here are just a few pics of *some* of the people in my life who show me that I'm lovable by loving me.
The hubs and his dad, love me like I've been theirs all along.

Not much compares to the unconditional love of a puppy.

Some of my faves.

Feelin' the love from the fam (not from the 4 identical Ramses II statues)

Dad and S- bottomless sources of love for me.

Sisters are a great gift.

Love love love these 2.

Love love love these 2, and Ale too.
My sister the ninja.

A-- a stable force in my life for a long, long time.

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