My friend came running towards me. My heart was pounding. I knew she came to deliver some very important news. She had convinced me to tell the boy I had been day-dreaming about, how I felt about him. Oh, he was beautiful. Piercing blue eyes, olive skin and the blackest hair I had ever seen. Problem was, he was every girl’s dream-boy.
That week was a particularly fun one. We had bumped into him at the pool. He bumped into us on the netball court. My parents invited him and his little brother along to a “Petra means Rock” concert. I wore my sparkly pink puffy skirt, socks rolled up to the ankles. I boogied along to the music, and he said he was rather impressed with my moves. Eek!
This was going to be good news, I was almost sure. Huffing and puffing my bestie finally caught up to where I was waiting at the bottom of our driveway. I couldn’t wait for her to catch her breath.
“He likes you,” she said. I nearly transcended out of my body, until she added: “but you are second on his list.” Wait, what? There is a list? “He said that if things don’t work out with Hannah, then he will ask you to go out with him.” She had just enough puff left to get those horrible words out, and slumped down on the grass.
I slumped down next to her. Heartbroken. It did not feel good to be number two on the list.
The days of sparkly pink puffy skirts and roll up socks are over. My first love was disappointing but the last one hasn’t been so bad. He has been pretty great, in fact. And we have been building our Happily Ever After for nearly a decade and a half. He was worth the wait.
But honestly, there are days when forget how long I have waited for him. When we met, I loved doing things for him. Simple things were done with so much care and attention. I did them, because I wanted him to know how much I loved him.
Add a couple of kids, a mortgage, long working hours, the stress of making ends meet, and all the other commitments in between and something else takes the wheel: obligation. Dinner is made, because I have to not because I love to. When conversation becomes a quick check of diaries and an update on the to-do lists, you know it’s time to schedule some time to be spontaneous. Ha!
Recently, I have recognised that same heart-issue in my relationship with the Lord. For years I have felt this calling to write about my First Love experience, and when the door opened for me to pursue this calling I committed to writing every day.
Some days are wonderful and inspiration hits as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. But then there are days like today. Days that just will not slow down enough so I can push through the noise and listen to his heart. I find myself often sitting down to write, driven by obligation rather than love.
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”
Revelation 2:2-4 NIV
It is comforting to know that God notices the blood, sweat and tears we pour into our pursuit of what he has called us to do. But what good is hard work, if the driving force isn’t love? When writing a devotional becomes the first priority and the One you are devoted two takes the second place on the list, you soon run out of fire.
Today, I am choosing to rearrange my list. Nobody wants to be the second one on the list! I will reserve that number one spot for the One who loved me first. In fact, I can only love well, when I allow him to love me first.
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19 NIV
It is in his presence that our gifts are fanned into flame. His love activates and energises our faith. Living loved gives you the ability and the strength to love the unlovable. It enables us to forgive the unforgivable. To endure the impossible. It gives us the creativity to transform simple tasks of obligation into powerful encounters of love.
May we open our hearts wide, and courageously ask for a fresh encounter with our First Love. May it set our whole world on fire with a passion to love those around us, in ways that only Heaven can show us. May we live LOVED.
Today, I hear the Spirit saying: “Little Fiery One! The flame in you may seem small, but it only takes a fresh breath of Love to fan it into a raging fire. It’s time to be still and open your heart to receive my love. You are never second on my list, don’t let me be second on yours. Lock eyes with me for just one moment, and feel the love I have for you. Love that burns away all the cares of life. Love that purifies. Love that burns away all those things that you are not meant to carry. Let me burn so bright in you, that others are drawn to my light and warmth. Let me love you until you are radiant. For I love you, with a mighty, fiery love.” ❤