Thursday, April 05, 2007
Loving Him First
Ten Christmasses ago, I gave one of my own copies of an Alexandra Stoddard book to a friend from church. We both loved the same kinds of decorating styles and enjoyed sharing creative ideas, so I thought she'd enjoy this book. I even inscribed it to her in my customary blue ink.
Three weeks after Christmas, she returned the book to me.
I asked her, "Didn't you like it?" She answered, "I liked it too much. I loved it too much." And as we sat alone in the church auditorium, she explained that God was doing some important work in her heart and she felt if she kept the book, it would become a distraction to her.
Okay, now it felt weird and awkward to be given back a Christmas present which I'd given someone else. That had never happened to me before (nor has it happened since). And yet, in the midst of such an uncomfortable thing, I totally understood where she was coming from. That was one of those years when God was rearranging everything--cleaning house Big Time-- inside my own heart, also.
That incident came to mind as I thought about all of you, my kindred spirits, today... as I read your encouraging comments about our upcoming move and pondered over all the encouragement and friendship you've shown me since I began this blog.
What do they have to do with one another? If I'd have had a blog 20 years ago (or 15, or even 10), I would have loved it too much. I would have loved all of you too much and grasped and yearned and lived for any kind word you tossed out to me. How do I know? Because for many years I wrote snail mail letters, sometimes 1,000 per year (yes, seriously) in a vain attempt to get from people what only God, Himself, could provide me. Always a solitary, homebody person, this whole Blogland adventure would have proven too grand of a dream come true--and hurled my heart even farther away.
So first, God had to change me on the inside... to fill me up with Himself so He could show me the difference between Living Water and the normal kind... so that I would never again mix them up. Oh, sometimes He has me step back and take a breather from this blog and friendship and ministry to others when they threaten, like a scale, to lean me away from my first love.
But I appreciate that. I need that. I need to be reminded why I'm even doing what I do... and why everything... and everyone else... must come second. And when He truly comes first, there is a peace which no distraction or wonderful worthy cause can bring. And by now I've grown to desire that Giver of Peace more than anything else.
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."