Do you remember learning a foreign language in high school? Do you remember trying to pronounce the new words that sounded like gibberish because your mouth and mind were all out of sorts with this new undertaking? One reason I quit studying Spanish was because I could not roll my r’s, which is essential to this language. As I mentioned in a previous post, I can’t wink and now you know I can’t roll my r’s, so we can conclude fine facial motor skills I have not.
Saying I love you, for me, was like learning a foreign language. For some these three words come so easily. For others of us, these words are rarely said. It can feel awkward and make the tongue tied. I remember how easily my husband said these words to me for the first time and how I just stared at him and did respond in kind. It wasn’t that I didn’t care for him and at the time I might have loved him, it was just that the words were valuable to me and I wanted to be sure they were true. After finally telling him I loved him, several months later, I still had difficulty saying them often. I needed to practice. I needed to intentionally say them until it no longer felt awkward. And over time the words became natural to me and easy to say.
One Sunday I was sitting in the church service during a quiet moment and I felt prompted to say to God, I love you. It feels awkward to say this to God. I'm not sure why, but I know it is important for him to hear it and for me to say it more often. So, I began to say the words over and over and over. I love you. I love you. I love you.
Then I began to think about my actions. How do I show God I love him? I know I don’t tell him enough. I do try to be obedient even if at times it includes stomping my feet as I do it. But, why am I obedient? What is my motivation? If I am really honest with myself, my motivation is because I believe it is the right thing to do and because I don’t want to suffer consequences. These motivators are not completely wrong or bad, but I wonder if God would like for me to grow to a place where I am motivated by my love for him and my desire to please him.
Jesus says if you love me you will keep my commands and the most important command I must obey is to love the Lord, you God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. If I truly want to be obedient I must first love God and then love my neighbor. If I love God then I will do just that love him. Sometimes that means sitting with him and saying I love you, I love you, I love you.
Lord, help us to obey your greatest commandment because we love you and we know you are worthy. Correct our motivations, so we may please you.
May I encourage any of you who are like me?
Go ahead and just do it, say it, God, I love you. And keep saying it until it becomes natural and enjoyable to say.