It has been quite a while since I shared a journal entry with you all. So much has happened this past year and life looks a bit different than it used to. Both my daughters are athletes. Between work, their athletic endeavors, and Bible Studies my husband and I lead, we have found ourselves with little time to spare.
For those who have been following my journey, you know that I published a book last year. Clearly, I have not been promoting it. Yesterday I shared on my social media why that is. But thankfully, I spoke to a friend yesterday who injected me with the drive I needed to work on the edits for the book’s second edition.
Last night I worked on the outline to identify the changes and what I needed to dedicate time to. Each morning I will dedicate 15-30 minutes to work on the book.
The changes you will see in the second edition are:
- New cover and branding
- A new chapter
- Updates to some chapters
- Built-in notebook to answer questions and jot notes
This morning I worked on the preface – which is basically an intro. It happens to be one of my favorite parts of the book.
I’d like to share it with you. If you have any comments or feedback, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to leave comments below or contact me on social media. I am @thejourneywithandrea on all platforms except YouTube, where I am @writerandreajohn
THE JOURNEY TO LOVE
The infamous commandment we hear is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This simple phrase expresses we must love ourselves to love others. I like to call this “other-centered love.” It may seem obvious to you, but to me, the idea of loving myself seemed “unchristian-like.” I was always taught that others mattered more than me, and I needed to spend my life dying each day because who I am is unworthy – Loving myself was an act of selﬁshness.
The morning God came to my rescue in my kitchen while cooking breakfast is a vivid memory. It was the day that Love revealed Himself to me. Not love the verb, but Love the noun; Love the person. That is why I will often refer to God as Love throughout this book. The verse “God is love…” came alive in my entire being that morning, and it changed my life. Elsa is my mom’s name. Everyone but my brother and I call her Elsa; we call her mom. So God is Love, and while most call Him God, I call Him Love.
That glorious morning Love met me in my kitchen, transformed and restored me to who He designed me to be. That was the day I began my journey – a journey that will take me well beyond this lifetime – a journey I’m glad you’ve decided to join.
Jesus gave His life for all of us. He is the ultimate sacriﬁce of love. While there may be times when someone has to give their life, literally, to save someone else, that’s not the majority. It is the exception. So, what does it look like to live my life in love?
I have found that speaking on love as heavily as I do is controversial. I can’t tell you how often I have heard phrases that start with “God is Love, but.” Oh, how that “but” rings in my ears because there is nothing about God in opposition to love. Is God holy? Yes. Does God judge? Yes, He does. Those attributes of God are not in opposition to His love. They are found in His love. His holiness, discipline, and judgments come from His nature of love.
After Love encountered me, I became determined to learn to love from Him. The ﬁrst thing I learned is that fear is never acceptable where there is love. If I fear someone walking away from me or getting upset with me for sharing the truth with them, then I need to pause and ask if it is truly love. Perfect Love casts out fear. This was foundational for me in learning how to love.
As Holy Spirit continued to teach me to love as He loves, I realized that the Scriptures deﬁne love. However, it doesn’t necessarily match our typical view of love, which causes us to miss it. We tend to deﬁne love philosophically instead of theologically. We use our human minds and experiences to deﬁne love, but love is not natural; it’s supernatural; it’s Divine. Therefore, we need God to deﬁne it for us.
Love; A four-letter word that carries immense power, depth, and mystery.
It’s an emotion and a decision, a noun and a verb.
Love transcends dimensions and is eternal.
Love. A simple common word, but its true nature is often misunderstood.
While the dictionary deﬁnes love as a deep affection for (someone), I had an encounter with Love that revealed the true deﬁnition.
God is love, and love is God.
Therefore, if we want to know what love is and what it looks like, we can look to God.
Instead of deﬁning love and then applying it to God, we can look to who God is to deﬁne love.
God is Love; therefore, He deﬁnes love. Not the other way around.
A few words or even a few sentences cannot deﬁne Love.
Its complexity is what makes it divinely beautiful.
Love’s intricacy craves wisdom because only those with God’s heart can maneuver through this life in love.
Deﬁning love is not an easy task. Yet, knowing what it looks like in demonstration as we journey through life on Earth is a desire that should burn in our souls because to demonstrate love is to demonstrate God.
How does one deﬁne love? Love is God. We will spend eternity unwrapping the glorious deﬁnition of this intrinsically magniﬁcent word, but for now, God inspired Paul to describe it to us.
Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13 (NIV)
So, my dear friend and pioneer, now that we know where we are going and what to expect, I hope you have your hiking shoes and backpack ready because it’s time to get this journey started. Let’s start at the very beginning – God.