My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for relationship

Becoming an Extravagant Lover

“What if he’s just like every other man…?”

She pushed the thought away and continued placing light, gentle kisses on his person. She suddenly realized she was crying, each tear drop voicing the ache in her sad, lonely heart, “Do YOU love me?…”

A familiar question. Millions are still asking… Imagine, after spending the night curled in someones’ arms, exchanging intimate kisses and passionate embraces…on the brink of giving one’s self to another…during…after…when lovemaking felt so much like being loved…the question is still whispered from empty, broken hearts, “Do you love me?”

…But Jesus was and is not like every other man. If He was insecure in who He is or uncertain about His purpose, he would have kicked at the kissing harlot, indignantly reminding her of who she was and who He is. Feeling the need to prove His own righteousness and win the approval of religious men He would have further wounded her instead of healing her.

No, Jesus is not like any other man, He is THE Extravagant Lover.

In the book “A Love Worth Giving,” Max Lucado states that the secret to loving, is living loved. Based on the story in Luke 7: 36-50 he speaks of the 7:47 principle from the same text “A person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Or to my understanding, “a person wrapped in his own self-righteous cannot really grasp his need of grace or forgiveness and therefore is incapable of (being an extravagant lover) offering grace, love and forgiveness to those in need. He can only give from the place where he lives.

This is where Simon dwells. The story shows that Simon, though very religious, showed contempt not only for this sinner but also for the Saviour. May I suggest that when our “righteousness” renders us incapable of showing love, causing us to live and speak hate, spewing condemnation and judgment on any person or group, wishing for their isolation and death, that we not only show contempt for them, but we also show contempt for the Saviour who died that they might live.  Living loved as Max Lucado describes it means first accepting the love that Jesus offers then learning to live and give from that place, (thus becoming an extravagant lover).

This is where the sinful woman lives. She knew who she was, a sinner. She knew what she needed, grace. So, she walks into the room bearing her alabaster jar, heads for the Saviour, stands behind him and weeps. Years of rejection and brokenness yield enough tears to wash His feet. A heart full of gratefulness, bursting with love expresses itself through kisses.

And what does The extravagant lover do? At the risk of His reputation, He gives her exactly what she needs. A safe place to express her love and the acceptance she so desperately craves. Her tears continued to flow voicing a new sound, “I’m loved, HE loves me!” The sinner becomes an extravagant lover as she pours out from what she has accepted, His grace, love and salvation.

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It’s time to accept those who are different

“I’d have to change my response to the wedding vows from ‘I will’ to ‘I’ll do my best with God’s help’.” That did not go over very well with the minister and his wife with whom I was having this conversation. It was years ago, I don’t even recall why we were talking about this, but my response had greatly offended him and his response had not hidden that fact.

It keeps amazing me that people can seem to be getting along so well, yet offenses, misunderstandings, differences and disagreements can not only divide us, but cause an end to relationships, or even worst, cause people to make enemies of each other.

Time teaches that differences/disagreements/etc are normal happenings in life. However, I think the greater lesson is that our responses can paint very accurate pictures of where we are at various stages, and therefore can be the impetus for personal growth.

The idea of standing before God and saying, “I will,” to me meant writing a blank cheque of commitment to someone as we stepped in an unknown future, and it filled me with terror. Yet, in “Meeting God at Every Turn” as I read Philip Lader’s vow to Linda Ann LeSourd (Catherine Marshall’s stepdaughter), something within me exhaled and I finally got it.

Part of Philip’s beautifully written vow read, “…the “I will” said today is not so much fact accomplished, as responsibility assumed… you and I are commissioned by this wedding to make God’s love believable to the world. By His grace however, we have different gifts, and these beg quarrels. When frustrated by your tenacity of opinion, I shall not waive my own, but shall honestly and patiently seek resolution…”

When I think of how different we are — we can respond to conflicts, successes, challenges, pain, disagreements and even pleasure differently. Even if we’ve been raised in the same household we can still respond to life in very different ways. I believe our differences were meant to be complementary and not used as reasons for division.

However, as we live out life in its varying arenas – relational, religious, political, etc. “making God’s love believable to the world” still seems the most difficult thing for us to do?

In Acts chapter 10 Peter was being transformed by God’s lesson on acceptance. In a vision, as Peter dismissed the very idea of eating or being involved in any way with “unacceptable” things transformation took place when he exchanged his way of seeing things for God’s way.  It was time for the hostility between Jews and Gentiles to be faced, for hearts to be opened and for arms to be extended in love to the unacceptable.

God’s purpose has not changed, his reconciling love has always been extended to the whosoever – no matter how wide the cultural or ethnic divide. His heart has not changed, He still desires that ALL persons be brought into an intimate relationship with Him.

Acceptance becomes easier, I believe, when we realize that we would have been included with those who were condemned as unacceptable. Unacceptable, but for God’s grace and His command of not calling anything impure (unacceptable) that He had made clean.

As we represent Christ, His love, grace, mercy & forgiveness have to be the guide to our interactions with the “different” people in our world. His love has to touch those who have been destined to walk in the reach of His light that shines through us, and His acceptance of the whosoever has to be the standard by which we measure our acceptance of others.

Mirror, Mirror — Having a healthy perception of self

"Wear a smile"

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall!"

It’s so interesting to me how much of our self-worth and self-doubt is influenced by the external — what someone says, how they say it, how someone views us. Do they accept us? Reject us? Do they like us? Do we fit in? But, as we seek to live life skilfully, can we really afford to have our worth and significance determined by others?

Years ago I decided to move to the U.S. I left home and landed in Atlanta, dressed in a beautiful, white sun dress. It was September. When my brother met me, he seemed quite appalled and asked “don’t you know you do not wear white after Labour day?” I was quite miffed, to say the least, and I could not figure out who determined these things, and why I should care.

That was about 14 years ago. Since then, I sometimes look at what the trends are, the colors of the seasons, the stand that some strive to keep up with, but I still live by a decision I had made as a teenager, not to allow others to dictate who I am, what makes me significant and how I view myself.

If you find yourself trying to change and satisfy everyone’s opinion of who they think you should be, it’s time to pause and do some internal evaluation.

Know, there will be times when others will not accept you, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the way you speak, the way you look, you’re too confident, not confident enough, you don’t measure up to “their” standards, something they’ve heard, they are suspicious, they are insecure, they just don’t like you and they don’t know why. They are a myriad of reasons why someone may reject you, but most of the times it’s about them, not about you.

However, here are 6 steps to having a healthier perception of self:

1. Spend time with yourself, look at yourself, get comfortable with even your undesirable parts and accept yourself as you are right now

2. Dig deep, find out what makes you, you — what makes you unique, special, what your gifts are and what you have to offer

3. Do not allow others to keep punishing you for past failures, forgive yourself and move forward

4. Formulate a plan, get help if necessary, work on and change those things that will help you grow

5. Remember, comparing yourself to others is futile, living in self-doubt is unproductive, but proactively working to develop will produce amazing results

6. Realize, you mattered so much to God, the He made the way for you to have a relationship with him

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