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.
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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