I’m done with waiting for my next encounter.

I’m going to give thanks for everything I consume and everything I partake of and everything I engage with as though they were each different expressions of God saying directly to me: “I love you.”

I refuse to live like a love-starved beggar. I am not love-poor. I do not live in a poverty of love. No one lives in poverty—they waste away, they decay, they die.

I will subvert every experience of the ordinary, subduing them to serve the needs of love. The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.

Do I feel safe right now? I will receive this as a moment of “I love you.” Thank you, Jesus. Am I enjoying this meal? “I love you.” Thank you. Do I appreciate the way this table allows me to write comfortably? “I love you.” Thank you. Does a particular song pull on my heartstrings in all the best ways? “I love you.” Thank you!

I have a vast host of raw materials around me to frame within the context of love. I refuse to fail to take advantage of them. I refuse to allow a narrow-minded poverty paradigm tell me that only a few select and choice encounters, experiences, and interactions equal true love. I refuse to be a picky love-eater.

My next big love encounter could very well be found in the way the sunlight falls on the floor as easily as it could be found in a person literally saying the words “I love you,” or spending quality time with me or giving me gifts or a hug. God transcends space and time. Every moment could be a moment of quality time with Him. Every item I receive could be a gift from God. Every appropriate touch from someone could be a loving touch from God—we are all His ambassadors. Every thought of love, wonder, thrill, and satisfaction could be God’s own voice within my mind—His spirit dwells in me and interacts with me all the time.

Any mindset that allows for the idea that I am unloved is a mindset of rebellion against God because He gives us all things to enjoy.

I will do violence to apathy and self-pity. I will do violence to the ho-hum, mundane ordinary. I will do violence to the spirit (attitude) of poverty and desolation. I will find and experience the heavenly kingdom of love in the here and now. I will become the encounter I desire and go from one love encounter to even greater love encounters. My mind can re-wire my brain. My healthy loving thoughts can cause my DNA to reproduce correctly in healthy ways. I will restructure my experience by framing all things as coming to me out of love.

I’m done with waiting and pleading. I’m going to live like I’ve been answered, even before I’ve asked. I’m not waiting, I am enjoying and I even have enough to share.

It often feels to me like there really are no safe or reasonable assumptions in life. I think my feeling is based on the experience that hurt happens and people die and flowers grow and the supreme court makes people angry.

I don’t want to change my assumptions based upon my experiences. I want to choose my assumptions based upon the values they cause me to embody.

I assume (based upon the suggestion of scripture) that God is a comforter. This causes me to become a comforting influence to others that I’m in relationship with.

According to life experience alone, some people may say that an all-powerful and loving God is nothing more than an assumption. Whether or not this is true, God really isn’t all that bad of an assumption in my opinion.

Pride is the uncritical (and often emotional) choice to indulge in our pet assumptions under the guise of “common sense.” The blind spots in your critical thinking are the areas where pride is most likely to reside.

Pride is the true enemy of community. Beware of the seed of pride.

It’s important to remember also that when it comes to relationships, the non-verbal questions you pose to one person may be answered by another. Sometimes the person that you receive back from is God Himself.

Perhaps the real problem with gratification is not that we’re unable to delay it for good things, but that we’re unbalanced in the things we gratify. The only way to truly gain mastery over an emotion is to delay indulging in it.

To delay indulging in an emotion, you must speak kindly to yourself. You then become able to “try on” a different emotion or attitude that might help you better than the one you’re tempted by.

One of the biggest things that comes to mind in closing is that God often shows up in the places we least expect. I find that fear and sadness don’t really seem like great options after all.IMG_0087

We can call God our Father because it is how Jesus taught us to pray. We also know that God is love. Therefore, the Father’s heart is a heart of love. How beautiful it is to see the Father’s heart lived out in the people around us. How encouraging to see this memorial in the middle of Sacramento:

You can’t ask for a greater manifestation of the Spirit of God than people loving as God Himself loves. Sacramento, this is your sign.

How limited is my view of God!

As of late, I’ve been wrestling with questions about direction in life and letting go of my conceptions of what God’s blessing on my life should look like, and it’s only now that I’m realizing that I have such little experience of God’s power or His glory or His love. I’m only now realizing that I struggle to trust Him with every part of me because I haven’t come into the knowledge of His love for every part of me. I find myself right back where I started when I began questioning in the first place: “Fill me with the knowledge of You, God, with the knowledge of the holy!”

God has seen your striving. He knows you may be tired. He knows there are things in your life that you don’t understand. Is God not good? Is God not just? No, if anything, it is we who are unfaithful to Him.

What does it look like to live constantly aware of God’s presence? God’s presence is not one of a parent constantly scrutinizing your actions, waiting to scold at the first sign of disobedience. He is not wanting you to be aware of Him so that you will obey out of fear. He knows your weaknesses. He knows that you are human. He wants you to be aware of His presence so that you may be transformed through the time you spend with Him! He wants you to be aware of His presence so that when your fallen tendencies flare up, you can surrender them over to His power and control. Everything about who you are is completely loved by Him.

Don’t forget to look for the signs of God’s love today. Here’s one for you right now:

Flowers
How can this not brighten your day? These flowers are a gift from God. 🙂

Jesus, as I call Your Name,
I feel crushing defeat
Weighing down.
Surely, no, it couldn’t be,
Not my pride, no, not control,
My heavy crown.

I see a future full of stuff
To do, entirely of my own
Creating.
But the calendar constrains—
The due process of order leaves me
Waiting.

I open my mouth to speak,
Explain the tension holding
My weak love.
If weeping breaks the chains of fear,
Accept this act committed here
With fierce love.