I’m not the biggest “Valentine’s Day person.” Don’t get me wrong, I like flowers and chocolate as well as the next person, I just tend to think the day is way over-hyped and full of a lot of pressure. But the day has got me thinking about love and how we show each other our love.
When Jesus was talking to his disciples in John not long before he died, he gave them a series of instructions and teachings. He knew he was going to die and the Holy Spirit would be with them, but they would not be able to see him any longer, and that was going to be hard. So one of the things he stressed was that the way the world was going to know that they were his disciples was by how well they loved each other.
This is kind of amazing if you think about it because loving people, really loving them, is a lot of hard work. One of the hardest things about loving people is learning to appreciate them for who they are instead of who you wish them to be. Oh if he would only pick up his socks. If she would only be better about remembering my birthday. If he would only stop and listen to me. If she would only stop asking me a thousand questions….
A dear friend of mine says that when she starts to think this way about her husband, when it becomes all about him changing or being someone different than who he is, she prays that she can let Jim be Jim. That she can see who he is, who God made him to be, and treasure him as Jim.
This is so very wise of her. Because in creation, when God made humans, God made us in God’s image. We don’t make each other in OUR images—we are each created in GOD’S image. And maybe one of the biggest and best ways we can show love to each other is by “letting Jim be Jim,” instead of always trying to change Jim.
This isn’t to say that if I am leaving my socks all over the house, I might not need to work on that habit. What it is saying is that God has given me amazing people in my life, and my call as a disciple of Jesus, is to see those people for who God created them to be and then to love and appreciate them, even if, no, even when they disappoint me.
You see, we all mess up. We all don’t live up to our full potential. But we also are all different. And love is being able to look at your brother/sister/spouse/friend/parent/child and enjoy them for who God created them to be.
So when my daughter talks for 20 minutes straight in the car, I need to take a deep breath and let her be who she is. She is talkative and creative and bubbly and excited about life and she wants to share that. And even if I am at the end of my rope or have had a long day, love means appreciating who God has created her to be. Let Jim be Jim…
Is there a Jim you need to work on letting be Jim? It isn’t easy. And maybe someone in your life needs to work at letting you be who you are. But when we love each other, we are doing Jesus’ work. We are living out our call as his disciples. There is nothing harder and there is nothing better.
Happy Valentine’s Day and blessings on the journey!