LOVE (verb): To want what is best for another. Willingness to serve another’s wellbeing without reciprocation.
Indeed, the pitch we were meant to live at is love. Life never feels quite right unless love is the best and greatest part of it. … Once we are awakened to love as the lifelong purpose of our hearts, then feeling love for all the world becomes the meaning – and greatest joy – of living.David Richo, The Sacred Heart of the World
This year, as I came to the 40 year mark in my life, I felt compelled to investigate Love. Specifically:
What does it mean for me (an intorvert, INTJ, Enneagram 5) to live out God’s Love in this world?
I believe we are all called to love. It’s the greatest commandment. It encompasses loving God, loving oneself, and loving others.
As different members of Christ’s body, living out his purpose on Earth, we’re each given unique gifts, serving various functions.
I have been blessed with many examples of warm, generous givers in my life. These people clearly embody Love to others, and I often wish I had their ability to encourage, uplift, share, and support in the same way and to the same extent.
It’s not necessarily that I am incapable of these traits or behaviors. But I do know I was born into this world with different energies, different inclinations, different interests, different talents, different personality resources, and different gifts than many of my role models.
This gap, between their gifts and mine, caused me (at best) to wonder and (at worst) to doubt.
I realized that I could expend a lot of effort (and self-criticism) on what doesn’t come naturally, striving to model my own acts of Love in ways that may not be sustainable or achievable.
I’m not implying I should abandon “traditional” acts of Love completely. But maybe I could focus on living out Love in ways that are the best fit for me, for my unique gifts.
There is a place for me in the world as I have been created.
May you never compare yourself to those who grow in more lively environments. May you trust that your contribution matters, even if it seems subtle.~ Morgan Harper Nichols
So what exactly does it look like to Love, being uniquely me?
I started by reading and researching. One of the best resources for me came from the book, Forty Days on Being a Five (Enneagram Daily Reflections):
When we think of the life of Jesus, our minds may be drawn to the many portrayals of his constant and consistent connection with others. This is also true: he often withdrew. He often went away to pray. When it comes to fast-paced patterns of community and social life, we are free to take this time too.
I have been uniquely gifted in being mindful of time and energy and thinking things through. … I can share what I’ve learned with others.~ Morgan Harper Nichols – Artist, Poet & Enneagram 5
I still have much to explore in this vein, but I’ve started a list to remind myself of what “living out Love” can mean for me.
If you’re reading this and you have suggestions to add, or an example of a different role model who might exemplify an unconventional version of living out Love, please share in the comments.
Love can also be…
- acting thoughtfully and intentionally
- helping solve problems
- being open and willing to grow
- using knowledge or research to help others
- giving grace even when it’s not deserved
- advocating for the marginalized
- standing up for the rights of the vulnerable
- speaking the language of the foreigner so they feel seen
- creating new possibilities for others
- speaking the truth even when it’s not popular
- allowing room for difference
- gathering people together
- remembering names and faces
To be continued…