i’ve loved with expectations. i really think that it’s the most gruesome form of “love.”
loving with expectations is like gutting sacrifice of its strength, leaving it limping in self-pity & cynicism.
loving with expectations is like sapping service of its ability to freely give in quiet.
i think part of what makes love so beautiful is its soft strength that so desires to sacrifice in small moments.
ann voskamp writes, ”love is so large that it has to live in the holiness of very small moments of sacrifice.” not only do we display beauty in the small moments when we choose to love well, but His love is so large that it has to live in the holiness of small moments that are abundant with so much beauty.
so, this is how i will enjoy my life: i will enjoy my life by enjoying the small moments in each of my days. His large love was in the beautiful way she premeditated acts of kindness to start her morning. it was in the way his curious smile spread automatic as he held his tea. it was in the way she smiled brave & braced herself for a new week.
eyes open to small moments in my day, every day, that are absurdly abundant with beauty is how i’ll enjoy my life deeply & find Him richly.
yes — beauty was in gentle soul-reminders, inked on scrap paper. beauty was abundant in him carrying my bag, my plate, and my insecurities, cradling them all in sacrifice. beauty was steadfast in her listening ear as we walked together after class & i watched compassion swell in her eyes. beauty was gracious in small conversations & cheek kisses & numerous compliments & eyes that seek deeper & courageous validations & grins that tell-all & catch-up calls & a professor's empathy & un-rushed steps forward & a sister's reminder that who you are is dearly loved & deeply missed.
& all this beauty stirs my heart to worship a more beautiful King because choosing to see all the loud beauty blaring in all our days is choosing to see Jesus even when the stars hide & night is raging, & that’s when He’s adored. after all, “it takes strength to enjoy the world” (liturgy of the ordinary 136).
C.S. Lewis wrote, “one must walk before one can run… [we] shall not be able to adore God on the highest occasions if we have learned no habit of doing so on the lowest. at best, our faith and reason will tell us that he is adorable but we shall not have found him so” (138). i will find Him so in pouring chilled apple cider, in taking the lid off my chai tea just to look at its color, in catching her smile flash at the ground before she walks away, in more cinnamon buns, in hand-washing clothes in the sink, in cleansing a dirty plate, & in burning a pumpkin spice candle.
i will find Him by pulling over on the side of a dirt road to celebrate an unsung waterfall, constant in its rush, & in the mountains, stiff & still. & in a wednesday morning chapel when a girl tells us what her mom would always say: “it’s ok. it’s ok that you're broken, you still have lots of love to give to the world.” & when her laugh echoes in the kitchen & i scrub the burnt muffin tin & wonder at the daily grace in the freedom He gives us to create — lavishly & imperfectly — i will find Him.
this whole journey is a dare to find beauty. it’s a divine romance, a breathtaking allegiance, & a brave surrender. so, today, i'll dance with Him and i'll be in awe when i see His creativity in the smallest moments — like when he wants me to pull over to do a handstand on the side of the road next to the flowers & when she puts a note in my car door that reminds me to get my eyes up — & when i see the extravagance of creation, i'll know that's only a hint of who He is.
I want to challenge myself to live with eyes wide open to the hundreds of small moments throughout that day that are bursting with brave beauty. because if all of these small moments are large enough to make my pulse quicken & take my breath away, how much more beautiful must He be?
instead of loving with expectations, i want to see His love so large in the small moments so absurdly abundant with stunning beauty, & see it as a reminder that because this is how He loves me freely, i will do the same: love freely & maybe, in some way, my one life can emulate ann voskamp’s words:
"i am what i love & i will love you like Jesus, because of Jesus, through the strength of Jesus. i will love when i'm not loved back. i will love when i'm hurt & disappointed & betrayed & inconvenienced & rejected. i simply will love, no expectations, no conditions, no demands. love is not always an agreement with someone, but it is always a sacrifice for someone.”
loving without expectations looks like giving & building, creating & always celebrating, believing his best & pursuing her success.
may i always remember that i am unexpectedly loved without expectations & when i forget, may the cross always remind me.
i wanted to create this blog mainly as a small effort to display the beauty of Jesus. i wanted to create it so that anyone who might read it would not leave without reading about the sure hope the Gospel freely gives. i wanted to create it to encourage you to join me in the fierce battle of loving Him most
& remind you again & again of His breathtaking grace that purifies the worst in us.
a few months ago, my sister & her husband challenged me simply & strongly to “pursue gold.” since then, i’ve given time & thought into what that might mean & written below is what i came up with.
the pursuit of gold is the pursuit of knowledge of the One who calls us deeper.
the kind of knowledge that seeps from our mind to our heart, then out to our hands & makes this world a bit brighter.
it’s a pursuit to seek beauty on a day of any size & then crowd our mind with reminders of thousands of small blessings
because really all is grace.
it’s a pursuit marked by an honest cry that declares we are not yet where we want to be, but we’re getting there — He’s getting us there.
& we keep trusting as we do the next thing.
it’s a pursuit of the narrow way — the way of extravagant, sacrificial love — that does not discriminate.
it’s a pursuit that bears no weapons, just another’s burdens,
because that way we know that even though we’re weighed down at times, we’re never alone.
it’s a pursuit of honesty & frailty, bravery & despondency,
that bows only to the King who cries in a covenantal, moment-by-moment faithfulness, “& yet, I love you still.”
the pursuit of gold is a pursuit to see Him as better than pleasure that promises abundance & yet comes up empty.
might His children always know that their names are written in heaven’s novel & a crown awaits them there.
the pursuit of gold is the pursuit of the cross.
even if our pursuit looks more like a limp, we can choose to rejoice because the God of the Universe has committed to meet us where we are & He has made us sufficient & He has declared us beloved & every day, new mercies remind us that He’s making us more.
every day, we can pursue gold. we can choose Him as best & see Him as brightest & i think there’s something stunning about a people marked by a longing — a pursuit — to find the place where all the Beauty came from (c.s. lewis).
pc: Ben Munkittrick
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.