Raw Reflections from the Journey

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Key to Living Loving: Die and Then Die Some More

Like a runner who collapses one step past the finish line, I collapse when I cross the threshold of our home after traveling out of town for several days. It's time to exhale, to rest, and to be served...or so I sometimes think, and that's where the problems begin.

"What do I want? What do I need" I think to myself as I anticipate arriving home.
- hugs and affection
- a good meal
- an opportunity to share my feelings and reflections from the journey
- or maybe some solitude because I'm an introvert who needs alone time after periods of people-time

Not unreasonable, right? So what's the problem? Well, I'm not the only one with needs. Jill too (and the girls) are usually waiting to talk and to do some things on their minds. So...who goes first?

We're learning that when we are running on fumes, meaning that we are physically, emotionally and relationally spent, that we are both apt to want to go first. And that's a lot like trying to walk through the same doorway at the same time. It doesn't work very well. But what does work is taking turns. You go first, and I'll wait my turn. Die to self so that relationship might live.

Dying to self. Not just impatiently waiting for my turn, but truly dying. "If this need is never met by a human being it's ok, because I have you Lord. I can talk to you, find solace in you, and I know that you understand...you were a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and in you I have a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

Now, the cool thing relationally is that when I die to demanding that my needs get met, then I am free to live loving by focusing on ways I can serve and meet others needs; and when they offer to give something to me I am free in my spirit to graciously receive what they offer as icing on the cake instead of obligatory (and possibly begrudging) fulfillment of my demand. Is this making sense?

For example: When I arrive home from a trip, weary or enthused (it varies by the nature of the day; whether it's been full of ministry vs. quiet reflection, and how the travel went) I can assert for my needs (rest or conversation, affection or solitude) OR I can decide to ask and discern how I can serve the needs of my family (hugs, conversation about events, tasks/chores, etc.). The latter is what I am equating to dying; dying to self (my desires) that others and my relationship with them might live.

To love is to sacrifice and to pay a price. Dying to self makes room for others needs to be met. When I live loved ("He loves me") I can more easily die to self and live more loving in relationship with others. What do you think? On a scale of 1-10 how loving do you live, and how is that related to your willingness to die?

Learning to live loved and to live loving,


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