Love Languages & Lent

Well, here we are friends – in case you missed it…February happened. Even with an extra day it flew by faster than you can say “coronavirus.” Which…by the way…just had its first confirmed case in Manhattan. So…if I’m quarantined, please send chocolate. And a subscription to Disney+.

But also, Lent is now fully underway.

Ash Wednesday seems like forever ago, and we’re barreling towards Easter – full steam ahead.

I’ve written about it before, but Lent is always a tough season for me personally, because it marks the onset of when I developed anorexia in high school: I gave up sweet for Lent. And the rest is history.

But as a result, I do not “give up” anything food-wise for Lent. Nor do I fast. Period. I made a promise to myself and to God to always nourish and respect the body He gave me. So instead, I will adopt something else to do for these 40 days.

So I was sitting at Mass on Ash Wednesday…and to be completely honest, my mind was all over the place. I had a date that night, was squeezing in Mass between loads of laundry, and trying to figure out what the heck I was going to give up/adopt for Lent.

And I was looking up at the crucifix in the church, when all of a sudden, into my brain pops this clear as day thought:

“Help me to love You more.”

That’s it. That’s what I’m supposed to do for Lent: work on loving Jesus more.

I’m going to be honest — I’ve been feeling pretty stagnant in my walk with Christ recently. Not that I take it for granted, but I definitely don’t appreciate Jesus as much as I should.

Help me to love You more.

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on the Five Love Languages. I’ve been hearing them talked about all the time on podcasts recently, and so, as someone who loves a good quiz, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and check out what all the fuss is about.

And if you’re unfamiliar with the Five Love Languages, they’re how you best receive love: The five languages are:
1) Words of Affirmation
2) Quality Time
3) Physical Touch
4) Acts of Service
5) Receiving Gifts

And in case you were wondering, my top love language (read: *off the charts*) is Words of Affirmation…followed distantly by Quality Time, and then third is Physical Touch. If you’re interested – you can find out your love language here: ((not sponsored)).

And if you know anything about my people pleasing tendencies, then you know that of course my top language would be Words of Affirmation.

But I realized, this is it. This right here is how I can love Jesus more. I can adopt those Five Love Languages in an earnest effort to express how much I love Him.

Because that’s the thing about relationships that the Five Love Languages get to the heart of: we all experience and express love differently. So sure, there are ways that I best receive love, but the other person in the relationship also has their way to best receive love. So the key to any successful relationship is to figure out how to “speak each other’s” love language.

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And God is the same way. Granted, He speaks all the love languages, but what a fresh and exciting way to try to express my love for Him through the different avenues.

1. Words of Affirmation — a boost in prayer. Writing it down, and truly taking time to express my adoration.

2. Quality time — How often do I just leave prayer until I’m falling asleep, and then barely get through 2 sentences? Carving out intentional quality time to just sit and be with God – I’ll start there.

3. Physical Touch – God is in everyone around us. So by loving the people in my life, I am also loving God. The physical touch – a hug, a helping hand, a caring shoulder — “Whatever you did for one of the least of these my brothers, you did for Me.’ Matthew 25:40.

4. Acts of Service – How can I serve God? How can I use my time, talent or treasure to worship and serve? This one will probably be the most difficult to implement, but service is a beautiful expression of love for the Father through concrete action here on earth.

5. Lastly, Gifts — One of the biggest gifts that I can give to God is my whole, unguarded heart.

And I’m going to close with a super quick reflection on this.

When I heard, “Help me to love You more” at Mass — I of course, took it as me loving God more. But as I’ve been reflecting on it more this weekend, it could also be taken the other way around.

The Holy Spirit speaking to me, saying “Caralyn, help Me to love you more.”

You see, receiving love is one of the most difficult things for me to do — it’s a remnant of the anorexia in my past: believing that I am worth love.

And so my default is to close my heart off to receiving love — keeping it at arms length, and never truly opening my heart to be vulnerable.

So perhaps by loving God through gifts — I am to give Him the gift of my full heart.

I’m certain that that’s where the stagnation in my relationship with Him stems from: my inability to share my entire heart. Because God wants it – all of it. He wants to love me and you with reckless abandon.

But we’ve got to let Him.

Help me to love you more.

It’s a two way street. Lent 2020 — let the journey begin.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia.  Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.


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157 responses to “Love Languages & Lent”

  1. Amen! May we all love Him more and more…and more!
    I was just in your city last week. Quite an adventure, as I was with my daughter’s 10th grade class and responsible for 2 young ladies (besides my own kid, of course) who both struggle with extreme anxiety. I was able to praise God to them for His faithfulness at the end!

    • Thanks so much Heather! Amen to that! More and more! Oh fun!!! I’m glad that everything was okay! God is good! Hugs and love xox

  2. He just wants you to be loving to you Caralyn. And yes you have said it is the most difficult thing for you to do. But in there is as unconditional as you can get, and as time goes by you will get closer and closer to it as those ‘bits’ are understood, and in seeing those truths they will lose their power over you…and set you free. And He will smile, and smile, and smile 😀 ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

    • They really are great languages! And I fully agree! Unconditional 🙂 thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  3. Love this Caralyn This time I had thought to myself that every year I tend to focus a lot on what I give up but this year I am just going to focus on spending more time with God.

    • Aw, thank you so much! I’m glad it resonated with you! Yes! I think that is a terrific thing to focus on this Lent. That’s what He wants more than anything! Our hearts 🙂 i appreciate you stopping by! have a beautiful night! Hugs and love xox

  4. I live for these kinds of posts. It’s so full of hope and inspiration. I’ve never really done anything special for Lent. But perhaps this year should be the year that changes – and you’ve given me some wonderful ideas on how to start! ❤️🙃

    • Awww good! I’m so glad Sara!! Thank you for saying that! Yes! I hope you have a beautiful night! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much Matthew! Amen to that! Loving Him is the best thing we can do! Hugs and love xox

  5. Adopt something for Lent. Never heard it before, but I like it a lot. Giving up something is about self but adopting something sounds like it has so much more potential for reaching out, doing something for others.

    Loving Jesus more is good, but how will that look? Well, you pretty well covered that, although my favorite is #3 (can you tell I’m writing comments as I read?).

    Gifts – yes, accepting is as important as giving. I have a Bulova watch, which is much nicer than anything I’d buy for myself, but it was a Father’s Day gift from Hills. My first reaction was to tell her to return it. She couldn’t really afford it, but it was a big deal for her to make the effort, so I accepted it and gushed over how beautiful it is (it really is). It was beautiful in both thought and substance.

    Accepting love from God? I have a hard time with that too. I hate confessing my sins, because I’m ashamed to have to keep asking for forgiveness. Anyone besides God would have called BS on me a long time ago. But we need to open up and allow Him to be as lavish as He wants to be.

    I remember you telling how you imagined yourself in Jesus’ lap, wrapped in His arms. You let it happen before. You can do it again.

    And thank you for accepting my friendship and the love it entails. You’ve been a blessing!

    • Hi Jeff! Thank you so much 🙂 yes! It’s a great way to start a new positive way of life or habit too! Haha yes! And thanks for sharing that – beautiful in thought and substance for sure. And amen – time for a repeat of that powerful time in my life. Thank you, my dear friend, for being such a wonderful source of positivity and friendship. Was thinking about you this afternoon and wondering how the acting is going?!! Big hugs to you and your girls! Xox

      • I’ve submitted to 3 agencies so far and received one rejection. Which means I’m one “no” closer to a “yes”, right? I’m going to try to submit at least one per weekend going forward. I tend to worry that I’ll get to the end of my list with no takers, but that’s just borrowing trouble from the future. Believe me – you’ll be the first to know when I get a bite!!!! Thank you for all of the advice and support!!!

      • Oh that’s so great!! That’s a great mindset. As my dad always says – it’s a numbers game!! You got this!

    • Oh good! I’m so glad this hit home with you tonight! Thanks for reading! Hugs and love xox

  6. I have heard that when a thought pops into our head, and rather than bubbles up from inside, that that can be an angel.

    Until your last paragraphs, I was about to say, I think you may have missed it…

    So, opening up, for Jesus’ words of affirmation…

  7. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
    “Jesus said unto him …”He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; ..” John 14:9
    “14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”2 Corinthians 13:!4:
    God is One and we see God and Christ in each and every one of us. I once was blind and now I see. God is love as are we!

    • You’re right about that!! Thanks so much for sharing these powerful verses. Hugs and love xox

  8. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
    “Jesus said unto him …”He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; ..” John 14:9
    “14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”2 Corinthians 13:!4:
    God is One and we see God and Christ in each and every one of us. I once was blind and now I see. God is Love and so are we!

  9. What a deeply beautiful post! For you to be so open with God and open with us in sharing this, shows a wonderful humility. And I sense this is the area that God will use as preparation for you accepting the love of your future spouse.

  10. Jesus wants a relationship with us. His love for us is so deep and passionate that we cannot fully understand it. Wonderful post little sister 🙂

    Jesus wants our love. He knows we cannot love perfectly, but we can express it.

    I love what Hebrews 6:10 says- God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

    One way we can show God we love him is by being a blessing to others

    • Yes He really does! It’s incomprehensible. I love that verse – thanks for sharing it with me! Hugs and love xox

  11. I love this! I’ve always known about the love languages but this is revelatory to me about using them to express my love for God. Thank you for your faithfulness to share what you learn. I’m always blessed by it.

    • Thank you so much Kara! Yes! The love languages are so interesting to study. I appreciate your kind words! Hugs and love xox

    • Thanks so much Jim 🙂 I appreciate that. It’s a beautiful season for reflection! Hugs and love xox

  12. Caralyn, love how you are going to use the love languages to express your love to Jesus and receive it. I really relate to your process as the Holy Spirit, told me to open up and receive the love of Jesus and to really love him by getting to know him in a deeper way. I was reminded that Jesus is my bridegroom and I needed to spend more time with him. Your post confirms it! Hugs and love-XOXO

  13. I do enjoy reading you because you are so outside my immediate experience but not far from it in some ways. I just hate receiving gifts, I don’t feel worth it I guess, but I should try to remember streets are 2 ways (well not in NYC!), it made me think, I don’t need anything from people (I really am totally self sufficient) but accepting things is an avenue of goodness (accepting from others) which I must admit I have failed at, and so I learn, I hope.

    • Oh my gosh thank you David for saying that. Yes! 2 way streets! Hugs and love xox

  14. My dear friend Caralyn,

    When our thoughts are deeply absorbed in God, it is like a permanent Mantra causing our love to love Him more, a sweet remembrance of Him – as we think so we become…

    Your words have given me some inspirations, which I wrote down as a poem and which I would like to share with you.

    Hugs and love to you, dear friend and have a happy time.

    Language Of Love

    Selfless service
    Unconditional giving and sharing
    Deep sincerity
    Yearning to be One
    In the garden of love

    Thinking of the Beloved
    Heart-filling, permanently
    With true devotion
    Rays of sunlight
    Turning into sunshine

    Two hearts become one
    Adopt the colour of unity
    Smell of roses and jasmine
    Timeless togetherness
    Life in love

    In thankfulness to God
    My heart, my love to Him
    As He resides
    In all and everything
    To love God in everyone…

    DidiArtist, 03.03.2020

    • Thank you so much Didi – I am honored that you’d share this beautiful poem with me. So powerful!! Hugs and love xox

    • Hahaha oh good! (Also side not that’s one of my favorite sayings ever 🙂 hehe ) Hugs and love xox

  15. Awesome concept for Lent. Just like Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet. Receiving love from God is humbling because it drags us kicking and screaming into the reality that we desperately need Him and yet He insists we receive before we can ever give.

    • Thank you so much Pete! I’m so glad it resonated with you. Amen – it is humbling for sure! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much Frank! Oh wow I’ll have to check that out. I appreciate you passing it along! Hugs and love xox

  16. I can barely put into words how this made me feel. It’s like you were able to see into my own heart and soul. I love the idea of applying the Love Languages approach to God. How brilliant! We talk about them a lot in our marriage prep (formerly Pre-Cana) classes, but I never saw them as a way to draw closer to God which is also my goal this Lent. Thank you for opening my eyes to such a beautiful new way to connect to God! Have a blessed day, Caralyn!

    • Hi Amy, oh my gosh thank you for saying that. Wow – I am truly touched and honored by your generous words. Yes! What a beautiful goal for Lent! Praying for you on your Lenten journey my dear friend! Big big hugs xox

  17. I’m glad you discovered “The Five Love Languages.” It’s one of my favorites. I always keep several copies in my office and whenever we do a wedding in the church, I have everyone sign a copy on Sunday morning (including any marital wisdom they want to share) and give it to the couple as a gift from the church. I hope that you are truly blessed by your journey through Lent.

    • Thank you so much! Yes! It’s a wonderful book! What a great gift to give a newly married couple. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  18. Wonderful work as always! So many people speak of Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages book, but so few seem to consider it the way you did – as a tool to help us focus on our relationship with God and not just with people. Thanks for directing us that direction!

    • Thank you so much! It really is a great book that can applied to a lot of different areas! Hugs and love xox

  19. If I can encourage you in your faith, I would suggest praying “I believe, help my unbelief.” That’s all this relationship with Christ is – trust in the work that Jesus did for us on the cross. Certainly my maturity can be measured in my service of God and dedication to others, but God doesn’t require it. Any work that happens through my life is a natural overflow of God’s work in me.

    There is peace in God’s love for us. His work that saves us doesn’t require that we get closer to Him. Now that is available, but God pulls us closer as time goes by because He is the faithful One.

  20. Here are my words of affirmation for you: Really great post! Never thought using the 5 love languages in my relationship with God….but it completely makes sense. Thank you for sharing!

    • Oh wow — thank you for those affirming words!! 🙂 hehe yes! we can use them in all our relationships! 🙂 hugs to you xox

  21. Love this, Caralyn! Years ago we taught our kids about the five love languages and how to spot them in others so they could relate to others through the love language of others. One day I was preparing for a teaching at church and God told me His children can fill His love tank. We can touch Him through His word, praise Him in affirmation of who He is, give Him the gift of our sacrifices to Him, spend time in communion with Him and do the good deeds He places before us. ♥️

  22. I absolutely love this! I’ve incorporated the 5 love languages in many ways in my life, but never like this. Looking at the 5 love languages from the perspective of us loving God is so brilliant, and I’ll certainly adopt the languages from this perspective. I especially loved the revelation you received regarding the sentence you heard:

    “When I heard, ‘Help me to love You more’ at Mass — I of course, took it as me loving God more. But as I’ve been reflecting on it more this weekend, it could also be taken the other way around.

    The Holy Spirit speaking to me, saying ‘Caralyn, help Me to love you more.’ ”

    So heartwarming and comforting to know that the holy Spirit would like to love us more!<3

    • Thank you so much Amanda!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 have a beautiful evening! hugs xo

  23. Beautifully stated, as always. That’s been on my heart as well. Most days I certainly don’t feel loveable. Trying to rest in Messiah’s love is a hard thing.

    • Thank you so much Eden, for sharing your heart. I feel you sister. We are most certainly worthy of that love. And Most Especially His!!!! Love you sweet friend! Xox

  24. Beautiful ❤️💚💕 so glad I found you. I love the 5 love languages. Ours match! Where would we be without HIM? ❣️❤️💕

  25. Beautiful! And so timely! I’m doing a challenge for Lent right now called the “Add A Little Love Challenge.” Every day is a small task to love on someone using different love languages! It’s neat to hear that message echoed! Thanks for the read! ❤️

    • Thank you so much Mary! I’m so glad this resonated with you! Oh i love that idea!! Thanks for sharing! Hugs and love xox

  26. Missed this one somehow. Anyway Caralyn, sometimes our walk with Jesus seems more beneficial when things are challenging. Otherwise, we have everything in control (?) Your application and commitment to the five languages of love is impressive. Should liven things up for you during Lent. Thanks again for pricking my conscience with your openness and honesty. You continue to be an inspiration in my own recovery life. John

    • You’re right about that John. Sometimes the challenges draw is closer to Him. Thanks for your kind words. Hugs and love xox

  27. I read a few journal articles about the 5LL. They mostly point to it being helpful but, also homogenous. My ex girlfriend, read it as soon as we broke up and was happy to share this with me. Everything, that’s wrong with ME. 😂🙄 I was like, great.

      • Graham’s lineup of books are ways to communicate and manage our needs better. If that’s, the original problem. My friend, married a deaf girl after riding bicycles professionally. He, became her communicator in an uncaring world. Their daughter, got a degree in communications and just graduated. I think, we’ve not had good communication skills occur in relationships in the past generations. So. This is good and worth celebrating. As for myself, I think for the longest I dated for the potential I saw in someone. Without realizing, that maybe they didn’t want to change.

      • Ever read Pygmalion? Frankenstein? I think, as a singular culture we’ve tried to be things for people rather than, just people. Beyond the psychometric, I’m not quite as familiar with the methods of Chapman. It, obviously helped me ex girlfriend and she’s married now all, happy. Or, something. I do think, these communication skills take methods to bring ourselves into reality. I feel, very real and I don’t fault her for pointing out “what’s wrong with me.” I get to be with me, everyday. 😂 I know, and I entirely agree. Love, does make our sharpest thorns a bit more agreeable.

      • Welp. It’ll happen soon. Sometimes we speak of the things that are missing to find those things. You live on a big island of expensive things. Surely, someone can afford your company. 😂

      • I’d eat soup with you. I think, we all would. It does, take someone with a lot of understanding to see, you. We’re all kind of like that so, that’s good. Stop messing with boys and date men.

      • The lost boys in Peter Pan. Sitting, in front of empty plates. I admit, I was among the few that enjoyed the Robin Williams version. I just, always imagined that’s what life is like for some. They are, in a separate world, of plenty.

      • We have lots in common. All the things people would bust our chops over. 😂 I watched my first musical the other day. It was pretty good.

  28. Caralyn, I really enjoyed your discussion. Our Lenten journey can mean different ways to prepare for our Lord and Savior. God truly loves each of us. I read and studied the Five Love Languages years ago with my wife. There are many lasting applications for any of us to use.

    • Thank you so much – you’re so right – it’s a season of preparation. And yes He does!! Hugs and love xox

  29. “Help me to love You more”… this is a beautiful thought. And just what I needed to hear today too. It’s useful to help remember that the purpose of whatever we do for Lent is to end up loving God more.

    • Thank you so much! Yes! I’m so glad it resonated with you today 🙂 but hugs to you xox

  30. It is good to read your blog. I just got done talking to a group of 8th grade girls about eating disorders and I wanted to give the school counselor a list of resources. So, I’ve been digging around a bit more. If it’s okay, I will add your blog to the resource list. I think it’s good for us to share our own stories as a way to steer others away from ED. We can use the websites with technical medical info, but personal examples and stories speak louder in my opinion. You have liked some of my posts in the past, and that’s how I came back to find you. So thanks for that. 🙂

    • thank you so much Rhonda! and oh wow, I would be honored if you pass along my blog. What an important age group to reach! That’s so awesome that you’ve got that outreach!!! Way to go!!! big hugs xo

  31. You did it again, Caralyn! I never thought about applying the 5 love languages to loving our God. However, it must be done in the context of God’s own definition of love in His Bible: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3). The first 4 tell us how to love God, the last 6 how to love fellow man. All glory goes to our Great God because He only gives His grace to those seeking to obey Him. Thanks to you, I’m pondering how I can apply the 5 love languages to do that!

    • Hey Broose! oh gosh thank you so much! Yes! You’re right about that! His grace is abundant! Hugs and love xox

  32. Beautifully expressed and insightful. I hope you keep us updated on your Lent journey. You certainly gave me something to think about.

    • Thank you so much Laura! I certainly will! so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  33. Best post!! This was actually my resolution for the year to be nearer to God and be more affirming and loving and prayerful but then it’s March and I see I lack on these things. Your post just made it clear I have to

    • Aw thank you so much! So glad it resonated with you’ love those resolutions! Hugs and love xox

  34. What a great post! I am very familiar with the five love languages. Mine are words of affirmation, followed by physical touch, and receiving (& giving) gifts. But I have never seen anyone make the application of these love languages as expressions to God. It should be a given I suppose, but wow, excellent. Thank you.

    • thank you Steve 🙂 Yes! He’s the originator of all the love languages! glad you enjoyed the piece! stay well friend! Hugs and love xox

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