It’s February, so you know we have to talk about love.
Okay, I’m using February as an excuse. If you’re a regular around here, you know we talk about love all the time because when you count your blessings . . . love tops the list.
Recently, our pastor shared a message about knowing your “why.”
It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with the doing of our lives we forget to live intentionally. We know “what” we have to do. We may even know “how” to do it.
But knowing “why” is harder. That’s purpose!
Afterward, Rev and I were talking and I said I believe everyone’s “why” is the same.
Love is our “why.”
I know that sounds too simple but hear me out…
When a teacher of the law asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:28–31
You and I were created by God and for God – to love! It’s His command. And the good news is He never leaves us on our own to figure it out. He pours His love into our lives giving us everything we need to love each other.
If love is our “why” then the rest is our “how.” So you and I learn our unique personality, gifts, and abilities and use them to fulfill God’s plans and purposes with passion.
Our “why” may be simple, but our “how” is NOT.
I believe it takes a lifetime and courage.
“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.” ~E.E.Cummings
And too often, fear holds us back from authentic living and loving.
We’re afraid to feel vulnerable or appear weak. We’re afraid of rejection.
And besides being afraid, we’re just plain tired and short on time.
So, here’s help.
Loving intentionally means you and I have purposeful and planned actions that show love.
Loving authentically means our love must be –
We need help. God’s help—His courage and strength.
7 Steps to Help You Love Intentionally and Authentically
When I need God’s help with anything, I have to start with prayer. I love His willingness to make me aware of His constant faithful love and to give me courage and strength when I’m afraid.
I can be so self-focused. Without God’s help, I can’t love intentionally or authentically.
2. Learn Your Love Language
Take the 5 Love Languages Profile Assessment. Knowing how I’m created to give and receive love helps me identify and understand the best ways to show love to the people God around me.
Do you know your love language?
Expressing love in the right language. We tend to speak our own love language, to express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not his/her primary love language, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.” ~Gary Chapman
3. Know your strengths and weaknesses
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
To love intentionally I need to function in my strengths and honestly work to improve my areas of weakness . . . no excuses. And on my really courageous days, I’ll ask my friends and families to help me.
“We can’t improve what we don’t assess.” ~Michael Hyatt
4. Be Yourself
Fear made me a people-pleaser for far too long. I’m learning to trust that God made me who I am for a reason but it’s hard to get over years of trying to live up to the opinions of those I love.
I’m taking 10-15 minutes every evening to reflect on my day and ask myself where I was authentic and where caved to the whims of others. Loving well means being authentic because no one else is able to love someone exactly the way God created me to love them.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
5. Be Honest
This part is never easy but I want to take my daily authenticity assessment to God. Confess where I’ve failed and ask Him to help me. What a blessing to know God promises to forgive and to help me do better.
This is hard . . . but I also want to faithfully ask those I’ve failed to forgive me.
I’m confident this important step will help me.
But if we confess our sins to God, He will keep His promise and do what is right: He will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. 1 John 1:9
6. Set goals
Now that I know how to love well, I’ve admitted where I’ve failed and been blessed by forgiveness, it’s time to take action.
So, I’m making a list of ways I can intentionally show love to my family, friends, neighbors, and even the random people with whom I cross paths each week.
So, I’m going over what I’m about the love languages and I’m setting intentional goals for the Month of February and beyond.
“To put significance in our stories, we must also take action. Being passive may feel safe. If you do nothing, nothing can go wrong. But while inaction cannot fail, it cannot succeed either. We can wait, and hope, and wish, but if we do, we miss the stories our lives could be.” ~John C. Maxwell
7. Plan your schedule
Finally, I’m taking my goals and applying them to my schedule. I will look for ways I waste time on the unimportant and unnecessary and take purposeful actions that will bless the people I love. I’m confident that by God’s grace this effort will bless me too!
Depend on the Lord in whatever you do and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
There is nothing new about an article that reminds us to live authentically and intentionally and it’s easy to believe that simply being uniquely ourselves is our “why.”
But without love, it’s impossible for us to be the authentic individuals God created.
We have one life. And we can only live it one moment at a time.
I want to live my “why” to God’s glory by loving intentionally and authentically.
Care to join me?
“How would your life be different if… you approached all relationships with authenticity and honesty? Let today be the day…You dedicate yourself to building relationships on the solid foundation of truth and authenticity.” ~Steve Maraboli
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