Every-day-ness has a way of creeping in and making us forget. Forget that this season will pass. When it does we’ll be met with a new season, maybe easier, maybe harder. Forget that we need to put work in now that will carry us into each next every-day-ness season.
If you’ve ever attended a wedding, chances are you’ve heard a reading of 1 Corinthians 13, otherwise known as the “love chapter” of the Bible. These passages reveal to us 16 facets of love and what it does and does not look like.
Since we see and hear this verse so often, it can lose some of its umph, some of its convicting power. It becomes easy to miss how powerful and revealing these verses are.
A few years ago, I was reading Visionary Marriage and in it, Dr. Rienow mentions that he keeps in a drawer a paper that says “When it comes to [my wife], I am patient. I am kind…” and that he begins each day with reading that paper.
So I started putting this into practice in bite-sized pieces. One week I wrote on my kitchen window above my sink “Love is patient”.
As I did dishes or filled sippy cups or made dinner, I would look at that phrase over and over again. I would think about an interaction I just had with one of my kids or with my husband and ask myself if I had been patient.
Wouldn’t you know, that week, I felt like I got LOTS of extra practice being patient as I waited for people who seemed to be living in slow motion or taking longer than I thought it should take to complete a task or just being different than I am.
So the next week, I wrote on the window “Love is kind.” And I worked on intentionally filtering my actions, words, and thoughts through a screen of kindness. And wouldn’t you know, I seemed to have extra opportunities to apologize for not speaking or acting out of as much kindness as I could have.
The next week, I learned some hard information. Not only was it hard, it became my reality. There needed to be forgiveness, restoration, and more sanctification.
But there was also truth. The truth that the Gospel covers this too. And as I flipped open my Bible to write another bite-sized piece of this verse, I laughed out loud as tears rolled. I knew it wasn’t happening in just a week, but rejoicing in the truth was sanctifying my soul. Even though it wasn’t the next bite-sized piece, I saw how important it was week after week.
“Love does not envy” was the next piece. And I thought “When do I envy?” and I spent another week learning things about myself as I asked God to reveal ways I was being envious in my love.
You’d think I would have stopped writing this verse on my window. 😉 I mean, who really likes seeing all the ways they are lacking in something, especially when it comes to love?
With 16 facets to love in these verses, it’s easy to miss one. Forget one. Focus on one. Think we just need a couple.
I’m super of guilty of this. I’d love to just take the parts of this verse that I am good at. Or just the ones I feel like I need that day. Like “Ok, I won’t be prideful, but I might not be able to be patient then.” Love, true, beautiful, hard, risky, and vulnerable love, isn’t a pick and choose. And it isn’t a punch card where you do one at a time until you fill up the card.
Love is hard. It’s multi-faceted. It’s intentional and thoughtful.[bctt tweet=”Love is hard. It’s multi-faceted. It’s intentional and thoughtful.”]
So I started thinking how this would look – all 16 parts. And I thought about my kitchen window and I thought about focusing on love, as I love my husband and my kids.
If I am loving them, these characteristics of love need to be found in me. So, like Dr. Rienow (above), I made this verse first person. I want to speak these truths about love, in present tense. They may not be true this minute, but I pray that they are true.
When it comes to Sexy, Beard-Sporting, Man of God, I am patient, kind, rejoicing in truth, always protecting, always trusting, always persevering, always hoping, never failing. I am not envying, boasting, prideful, dishonoring to others, easily angered, keeping a record of wrongs, delighting in evil.
This is not another way I am going to beat myself up. (Please, Jesus, let that be true!) I didn’t just spend a month on Mommy Guilt to take a downward spiral.
No, I want this list so that on the days when I can’t seem to grasp a hold of anything, where it feels like we’re spinning out of control in the worst possible ways, that when I reach out to grab somethings, it’s God’s word.
I want this for the best days, when I can look at our love and see hope, see trust, see protection.
I’m hanging this in my kitchen. That way I can pray it to be true. I can cling to it when I’m crashing. I can check over it when I’m thinking or talking or fuming or crying. I can ask what it means to not be boasting in my love and instead to be always persevering, rejoicing in truth instead of delighting in evil, being patient instead of easily angered.
Do you want to join me?
I had a friend draw this up for us here at Life Around the Coffee Cup and I’m so excited to share it with you. It’s the passage from 1 Corinthians 13, written out in the first person. It starts with the positive stuff and ends with the negative stuff. It’s in the present tense so that, even when it’s not true, I can pray and believe that it will be true.
This printable is available in the Whole Bean Resource Library, which is free for all LATCC community members.
To join, simply subscribe here, and you’ll get sent an email with the link to library to download this beautiful and visual reminder.
February tends to be the month we think about love – especially for me as that’s when my husband and I had our first date – and call me crazy, but I think this pursuit of Godly love just might be the gift my husband wants the most.
I pray this verse has new umph and new promise as you and I go through it each day.