But above all, love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it’s own way; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).

Our highest calling is to love, and what a high calling that is. Love seems so simple, but it often feels so complex. It’s hard. It’s easier to be arrogant or rude when someone rubs me the wrong way. When I feel belittled, I want belittle in return. I want to boast in my gifts, my talents, my accomplishments, my ____ so that you will know just how great I am. At the expense of you, I want to sound great. I want to be loved, and sometimes to feel that way I overlook how I’m making the person beside me feel. 
Love bears all things, even hard conversations or hurt feelings. Love believes all things. Love hopes all things and love endures all things. Love never ends. I have so much room to grow in this gift of love we’ve been given to share with the people around us. It’s a high calling, a hard calling, but he gives us grace to help in our time of need.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers (1 John 3:16).

A Reminder to Invest

Friends singing

I’ve shared before that I left my hometown to attend an out of state college. My mom likes to say that once I left, I never came back. And considering I didn’t spend a single summer at home once I took off for school, I’d say she is pretty right. Then, of course, we moved from Tennessee to New Hampshire not too long ago. So from Ohio to Tennessee to New Hampshire… that covers a lot of ground.

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately. I wrote a few weeks ago about how weird (and hard!) it is to realize that we probably won’t live next door to our best friends all the time… but that’s a beautiful thing. It’s beautiful because God uses us where we are for a season, and then takes us somewhere else. But everywhere we go – we’re planting seeds. We’re watering seeds, and he’s growing them. It’s beautiful, even though it’s hard sometimes.

Aside from the beauty, though, I’ve been thinking about how horrible I am with long-distance friendships. It’s like I walk around with blinders on and only see who is right in front of me. I’m horrible at calling my friends, texting them, emailing them, FaceTiming them, etc. But I have a lot of friends who are really awesome at those things, and I’m so thankful.

Last week I got the chance to catch up with a lot of those friends, and even though some of us hadn’t talked for a while… even just a few minutes of catching up made my heart so happy. Through short phone calls, texts and fun mail, I felt full all week because I was reminded just how much God has blessed me through each of those women.

So this is my reminder to you, but mostly to me, to invest. All it takes is a quick “hey, I’m thinking about you, how can I pray for you?” text, a phone call while you’re running errands, some snail mail written during slow minutes at work, or even an email when it’s too late to call or text to make a big difference in keeping those relationships alive. I can’t tell you how much I’m touched when I receive any of those from a friend. But, you know, I feel even better about it when I’m the one who initiated it, because I’m hoping that little thoughtful moment is stirring up those same feelings of love and good memories in my friend.

So with a free moment you have today – do something to love on a friend you don’t get to talk with much anymore. Although I’m sure none of those suggestions were new to you, they certainly aren’t new to me, but practicing them with intention is. I’m asking God to grow me in being more efficient and effective with my time – and that includes valuing relationships! Let’s start practicing today.