Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Extravagant Love

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. I Corinthians 13:13, MSG

I came across this Scripture quote in one of Gary Chapman’s books this morning, and I loved the Message’s interpretation. Trusting steadily in God isn’t always easy, so that reminded me how important it is for me to have a consistent relationship with Him, and to daily/actively/intentionally set my mind to trust in God, no matter what might occur as part of His plan for me.

Then comes an unswerving hope – the word “unswerving” was particularly fresh to me this morning because I had to swerve out of the way of a car that was drifting into my lane. But here I am prompted to do the exact opposite -- stay the course, hold strong and steady with perseverance and tenacity.

But then, ah then, I am told to love extravagantly. The dictionary definition of extravagant is: going beyond usual bounds; unrestrained. The word is originally from the Latin extra “outside of” and vagary “wander, roam”.

Extravagant – I love the sound of this word. I imagine saying it and tossing my arms wide open slowly – extraaaaavaaaagant! Not restrained, not frugally, but full force head on “bring it!” L-O-V-E!!!!! We are so careful and safe about showing feelings. We play games with one another, wear masks, hold back for fear of being wounded again, or sometimes it’s simply the fact that in this crazy busy day and age we just don’t even have time to think about nurturing a loving relationship with those we love the most. It’s just a day-to-day there-they-are hi-how-are-you kind of take-it-for-granted emotional sleepwalk.

But you know… things happen… and often we find ourselves faced with the regret of not having loved extravagantly, no matter why the reason. Before we know it, in a breath, we’ve lost an opportunity that can never be reclaimed.

I want to wander outside the norm of love – to go beyond the usual boundaries. On a foundation of trusting in God and hoping in Him, I want to run with arms and heart wide open, loving with every ounce of me that I’ve got, unafraid and extravagantly – so that someday my epitaph would include the phrase “Boy, she really knew what it meant to love – I always felt loved by her.”

If Christ loved me enough to open his arms wide on the cross just for me (the epitome of extravagant love), then surely I can follow His example and open my arms wide to others.

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