I spent last week in one of my favorite places on earth, Camp Allendale in Trafalgar, Indiana. It’s beautiful and just oozes peace and joy. Two things I have been lacking up until last week.
We have not had an easy summer. We’ve had ups and downs. Moments of joy followed by really hard hits. But the break from reality, being in the woods with third and fourth graders soaking up sun and God really did me some good.
My youngest had his first overnight at camp during the week. He did really well. Better than I had hoped for which was so encouraging. He says his favorite thing about camp was the pool. The theme for the week at Allendale was to focus on others. We talked a lot about serving others and loving others. One of my favorite things said during the week by our Camp Director Tomi Lessaris was that “Love is not a feeling, love is a choice.”
In John 13:34 Jesus says, A new commandment I give to you that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.
And when your in the thick of it, when the kids are all whining and demanding, when your co-worker or your boss lay it down on you, when you and your friend have a disagreement on Facebook, we have to remember that loving each other, that’s a choice. It’s no longer a lovey-dovey feeling because at that moment loving the other person might be the hardest thing you can do. But as Tomi says, “Love is putting others needs above our own wants, Love is treating others the way they want to be treated, Love is caring to do something about it. My friend, author, worship leader and founder of Enlightened Relationships LeAnzer Stockley often will say “I am Love for u” as apposed to “I love you.” His reason is because he believes we can be love for others with our actions and are words. We can show people the true meaning of love by what we say and do not just by our feelings alone. Stockley says on his website, “Love not just as acceptance and support, but also as a divine identity. We believe every human possesses divine relational worth. We understand Love, relationships and oneness to be not only at the core essence of human nature, but also the means by which we thrive as a species and overcome the illusion of separation.” I think he’s on to something.
1 Corinthians 16:14 says “Do everything in love.” It’s a tall order but so necessary. It reminds us to put oneself last and other’s first. To make our choices in the most loving direction.
One of my favorite activities at camp was when the girls and I decorated with chalk. There messages of Jesus’s love to others soared my heart. It told me that they got it. They understood that Jesus loves them. And in the glow of the campfire and flow of the lake it’s not hard to imagine. But in the wake of your parents divorce, the bulling at school, the hard times of life when you ask, why is this happening. It’s harder to feel Jesus’s love for you. But His love still there. His love is unchanging. Ours should be too.