Wow! This could possibly be my favorite chapter yet. ( I may have said that for every chapter so far. What can I say! I love this book.) There was so much truth spoken to me through this chapter and I really feel God at work in me. This chapters constant theme is LOVE. From His goal for us, to our expressions and expectations, it all is grounded in LOVE.
Holly says on page 131, " God is love, and everything he does is loving. As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. What does God really want us to do with our lives? Not make them perfect. Grow in love."
She calls us to ask a very important question of ourselves. " How is God asking you to live in love, first with him and then wtih family, friends, and others he's called you to serve.?"
To answer this question she asks us to make a LIFE statement - " Love Is Faith Expressed". She helps us start it with Galatians 5:6 " I am called to express my faith through love..."
To make a LIFE statement, you start with " I am created and called to express my faith through love... especially by (verb)+ (what)+(who)+(how)
After thinking for awhile about this, about how God designed me, where I feel Him most alive in Me, I ended up writing my LIFE statement.
" I am created and called to express my faith through love, especially by bringing hope and encouragement to my family, friends and community through active and intentional relationships."
Our LIFE statements all will look different. We all have different strengths, different places and different ways we are able to love others. She says that our own LIFE will even look different based off of seasons and circumstances. For me, this is so true. I am at a time in my life where my children need me. They are busy, very involved, and with me working full time, I don't have a lot to offer in the way of time and service to as many people as I would like to. That is okay. This is my season currently... one of teaching and being a mom. There are times when I would love to see my friends more, be involved with more things at church, help more in the community, but just not right now. For some of you reading this, you may be in the same season or different ones and I am sure you can relate. I get so tired of trying to do it all... of being the BEST mom, the BEST wife, the BEST friend, the BEST bible study leader. It just gets so overwhelming sometimes. God isn't calling me to live a life of unrealistic expectations on myself, to be the BEST. Holly writes, " We are not to be under anything but GRACE, the love of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit."
Holly asks the question on page 137 "What does God require of me?". We find that answer in Micah 6:8
" The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you; to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
There doesn't need to be any expectations or rules, only to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. Holly writes, " God is love- whatever he directs you to do will be loving to others too. Let go of what you're simply to please people. You are nto required to please people. You don't have to meet their expectations. You are a servent to one master."
I loved Holly's topic of Fear vs. Love. Those of you that have known me for a long time or have read my blog for awhile know this about me. I am a person easily led by fear. Holly really spoke to my heart here. She invites us that anytime we feel like we need to do something, we need to measure whether it is motivated by fear ( what people will think of me) or love ( desiring to make a haven for my family). If the only reason we are doing something is out of fear, then that isn't from God.
Holly ends this chapter with a beautiful quote that I actually have written next to my computer as I type this. " You are FREE. Free to love. Free to live in joy. Free to be who you are. If you're loving God, others, and yourself, then you're already doing enough."
I hope this chapter helped you and that you are enjoying this journey of discovering that you don't have to be more or do more. You are already amazing.. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!
Some scripture reminders:
Song: " Your're Grace is Sufficiant" by Shane and Shane
1. If you feel okay with this, please share your LIFE statement and how you feel about the process of making one?
2. Are you driven more by fear or by love? Is there anything that is helping you be more driven by love than by fear?
3. What has been the best part of this book so far for you?