When Disciplined Love Turns Mushy
I used to set my alarm. When it went off, I would quietly grab my Bible and slip out into the hallway so I wouldn’t wake up my roommate. Our room was in the “T”, which meant it was at the end of the long hall and around the corner, so it was very quiet.
There I would slide down against the wall, knees pulled up to my chest, and fall asleep reading the Bible.
I did this every day for a year, because I was loving God on purpose in my daily habit but staying up too late as a college student to benefit from it.
Then there were the years when I had one in diapers and one bouncing around the house singing. My Bible would sit open on the always-messy counter, and I would walk by and purposefully spend two or three minutes studying before I went on to tuck a blonde head under my arm and read Berenstein Bears for the kajillionth time.
There have been 36 years of on-purpose.
I have worked to obey the Sh’ma Yisrael:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV)
Love him. Do it. Make it a discipline.
I have labored to do this, to love the Lord with all my strength. I have gone where he’s told me to go. I’ve forgiven people. I’ve hidden his words in my heart. I’ve repented of sin. I’ve cast out idols.
But lately there has been something new rising up inside this heart of mine, a not-on-purpose love.
Like when you’re brushing your teeth before bed, and you look out into the bedroom to see your husband is laying on top of your side of the bed to get it warm for you.
Aaah. How sweet is that?
Sweet it is.
It’s the mushy love that rises up and makes you smile, and you didn’t have to practice some discipline for it to happen. You didn’t have to work at it. You just feel it.
I’m writing to tell you, after 36 years of walking with God, there is a mushy love for God that rises up after the disciplined love.
Work at following God now –loving him with all your heart, soul, and strength.
One day you’ll realize it isn’t work anymore.
Yes! Yes! Yes! My disciplined life involved a lot years reading and praying in the bathroom…with 4 boys, it was the only place I could be alone. But that is where I finally cried out to Him in desperation, surrendering all of me to Him and pleading with Him to make me who He wanted me to be. Now my devotion time is too long to be comfortable in the bathroom:-) And I have those mushy-love times like yesterday when I had to hold my fingers on the verses in Matthew that tell about Jesus being beaten, spit on and mocked. Because I had to touch His love! I had to be near to Him during that time in some way. And when His Spirit just flooded my heart, earlier this week, out of no where, filling me with the Holy Ghost Jitters. And when I was running late for an appointment, but was being obedient by not speeding, deliberately trying to honor God with my thoughts, and the slow-moving person ahead of me turned off. I just smile and say “Thank You, Jesus,” because I know it’s Him:-) He is just in everything, and when we are faithful in our deliberateness, He shows Himself to us in so many ways. I sit here with a silly grin on my face just thinking about it:-)
Thank you for faithfully sharing what God has given you! God has touched me so many times through you, and I am grateful for your service!
Thank God for the bathroom!! How would moms with little kids stay sane without that quiet retreat. 🙂 You’re so right -he is in everything and shows himself to us in so many ways. And can we really know the depth of his love without learning the discipline of giving thanks? Surely those two things go together. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! (And thanks for the encouragement!)
You have so hit the nail on the head here! Walking with chronic illness and disability, I’d say I’ve had many days where the continuing to turn toward Him was strictly an obedience and a discipline, or perhaps even a habit. But oh, those moments when I just feel so tucked up in Him, the days of refreshment that are send specially for me, sprinkled throughout the dark days. Those days are days that remind me that this is indeed a mushy love story, and not just an obedient one. I think we’re called to both… to the obedience and discipline so that we can bask in the mushy. I love when it just kind of sneaks up on me and surprises me. Just like you’ve described, like seeing your hubby doing something small and priceless… God makes a warm bubble burst somewhere inside my soul and it’s suddenly like I’m floating for a moment. And I know it can’t come from anywhere but Heaven. Then I can carry that moment with me into those days of obedience and be reminded that this marriage with my King has more of those mushy moments coming. This is a perfect description you’ve given to this relationship. You’ve inspired me and I thank you for the reminder. 🙂 God Bless!! <3 Shelly
I love your words -a warm bubble bursting inside us. That’s lovely. I think you’ve added something here -we don’t know the depth of that “mushy” feeling until we’ve known suffering.
This is so perfectly on time for me! Wow! Thank you for giving words to my feelings. I have walked purposefully, deliberately, seeking the Lord, asking Him to make me who He wants me to be. I have done the things you talked about — confessed, repented, let go of hurts, habits, hang ups, anger. I have asked God to search my heart every day for seven plus years. (This time. I have had a number of starts and stops in my walk with the Lord.) And what I know from all of the life experiences I have had is that even when I walked away from Him, He was there. He watched over me while I did all those awful things that told Him and the world that I felt worthless, unloveable, unworthy. He reached into the pit of darkness I was locked in seven years ago this May and pulled me out because He knew my secret — I wasn’t going to be around for much longer. I had a plan not to be. God said, “no” to that plan. And I have walked out of the darkness with him. Remembering the God of my youth, the love of my Christian, praying mother. I learned that God wasn’t that harsh judge I heard about all those years ago. Yes, he is Holy God. And the Judge, but he is also full of love and compassion and He is always on my side. I have learned to always be on His side.
I say all of that to say that these past years have been a lot about faith, about learning the character of God through the Word and good teaching. I have had moments of that “tingly” love, but not many. I have walked without the “mushy.” But, in the past few months I have been starting to feel this warm feeling inside that comes from the sense of security I have in Him. I tried to give it words the other day and didn’t have them. Today, you gave them to me, Christy! I am so excited! Praise God. And thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. You blessed me BIG today.
Kathy, can you see the big tears dripping off my chin over here? Your story magnificently displays the grace of God. Thank God for your walk out of darkness!!
Do you know that I went to bed last night with no blog post. I put my head on the pillow and said, “Lord, I just can’t think of anything to write today. I am completely dependent on you to give me words.” I woke up at 3:00 in the morning and prayed for an hour before God finally brought these words to me. So I would say these words are straight from God to you, and I just provided the fingers.
Thank you so much for encouraging me and sharing your story. You have no idea how precious that is to me. You have blessed me BIG right back, friend. May God continue to fill you with the tingly love of his presence.
Much love to you,
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