He loved me first

Talia Biel is a member at Crossroads Church. She is a sincere Jesus follower with a gift for connecting her faith to real life, and for sharing that through her writing.  Check out her blog “Holding On To Faith.

1-John-4-19As followers, I know that we are called to love. It was one of Jesus’s top commandments that He really emphasized in hopes that we would first learn it, process it, and live it out. This is a blog on the why I do what I do, and because of Who that there is even a why.

One of my favourite things to do is go out for coffee with people. I love everything about it. The meeting up, grabbing a table in the corner, hands wrapped around a warm drink (typically anything sweet) and the promise of a conversation ready to unfold. It truly never gets old for me. It’s through coffee, stories start to unfold, and deeper truths rise to the surface. The permission to be truly “real”.

Last week I was out for coffee with a new friend and as we chatted away, she asked me a few questions that really made me stop and think about the bigger picture, the larger ‘whys’ behind what I do and how I live.

She simply asked, “Talia, how do you continue loving others, when you are the one that needs to be loved? How do you give when you have nothing more to give?”

The question perplexed me at first but it is in these conversations that I love most. The ones that take you deeper, refine you, and make you think. They are the chats that leave you contemplating your answers, revealing more about yourself than you had actually articulated earlier that day.

And as we chatted away, I realized that being asked the how’s and why’s in life are extremely important. They cause you to slow down, to catch your breath, and to actually contemplate why you live the way you do.

You see, it is easy to go by your feelings in the moment. It is easy to feel exhausted, worn out and ready to quit when you are going a million miles an hour. It is easy to be discouraged when you look at your week and it feels like all of your time has been eaten up and to stay on top of everything, well, that just doesn’t happen does it?

But it all comes back to the why.

Why are my weeks filled to the brim? Because I get to work forty hours a week with small children and get to have those sweet moments of kisses and hugs that lift me up? Or because my weeks are full because I get to invest my heart and time in meeting with friends and co-workers who really just need someone to talk to? The calendar is taken up by my nightly school schedule, where I get to learn and develop as a person. Appointments written on the days for doctor appointments, moving days, and social gatherings because I have people whom I care about and get to journey with. My week is full because I have a home to take care of, a husband to love, and a family to be part of.

My weeks are filled to overflowing but it is in the overflow that I find love the most. It is in the overflow that I find purpose.

The reason I live my life this way is not because I need to push myself to exhaustion so I can step back and see all that I have accomplished from beginning to end. In reality, working with people gives very little immediate evidence of ‘results’. It is because I feel that I have been called to love others, to pour myself out, and live in such a way that produces overflow.

All simply because – He loved me first.

Nothing that I do of the whys and hows, would matter if it weren’t for Who I do these things for. He sustains me in my weakness, and loves me just as I am, broken and all.

I am driven by reaching to others in need, and making myself available to them. My struggle on this journey is in grasping that Jesus would have died if it was only me in the world, or that He is even near. We cannot control every element of our lives (of course I would never do dishes if I didn’t have to) but it is the cumulative effort of how you spend your days that produces the overflow, the love that beams through you. It is the things that you can control, the decisions that you can make, that may pour out to others. I share my struggles with others because that is the choice I have made in my life. I have seen too many people stop fighting, and let go of hope and life because they felt alone in their struggles.

At the end of the day, life is not meant to be lived in such a way that the overflow of what you do consistently beats you down. Jesus is not asking us to love and serve others in such a way that exhausts ourselves. He just wants us to love like He does. By spending the time to go get coffee with someone, calling them to see how they are doing, and making yourself available to them, and if you can’t do any of that. What better way than to show your love, by praying for them?

Why do you do what you do? 

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