My son called me a few months ago and asked, “Mom, do you feel loved by me?” More so, his question was about the ways in which I feel loved by him. What actions on his part convey love? Some of my responses were consistent with what he thought I would say. I feel loved when he calls me and shares parts of his life; I feel loved when he asks me how I am doing. But other things he thought I would say, I didn’t. And some of my answers surprised him – they were not what he thought would make me feel loved.
Last Friday night, my son shared this conversation with his peers at a worship service I was attending. He told them that asking the question, “What am I doing that makes you feel loved?” is a great question to ask of a girlfriend, spouse, boyfriend, child – and a great question to ask of God.
In the worship service I paused and asked God, “What makes You feel loved?” Instantly, a picture came to mind. It was of Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, while all kinds of commotion, expectations and demands were swirling around her. Mary’s focus was on the Lord, on listening, on paying attention to His words, His voice, His face. In the midst of her sister demanding that Jesus tell Mary to get up and work, in the midst of cultural expectations that Mary would be in the background, she was right there, right up front, hungry to hear what Jesus was saying.
I felt God telling me, “This is what makes Me feel loved.” In the midst of lengthy days with urgent demands and silly distractions, God feels loved when I sit with Him. What an opposite picture of what my culture tells me is loving God. This is not a picture of production but of attentive rest. This is a picture of leaving cultural definitions behind, of valuing Presence over production.
Love is about sacrifice; putting aside my own personal agenda to sit with the Lord feels sacrificial at times. I have things to take care of, important things, valuable things, urgent things. And, I need to stay current on my Facebook page, make sure I am present for friends, keep track of my children, and have the downtime I have “earned.” Love takes work.
As I drove home from Seattle I turned off the worship music and talked with God. We talked about all kinds of stuff: the beauty of the trees turning color, the hunger I feel to keep learning, the yearning I feel for a life-partner, what color I wanted to paint my bedroom, whether or not I was going to stop at Burger King if I got hungry or needed to pee, and how much I love Him and He loves me. It was restful, fun, interesting and filling. I was sitting at the feet of Jesus while driving 75 mph down the highway.
God feels loved when I sit with Him, listening, talking, resting, learning, waiting. All the urgency of the day slips away, all those endless items on my list lay down and rest for a bit. The best part of this is that I feel loved, as well. It is never a one-way street with God; He designed me for relationship with Him, which means He desires relationship with me. In my deeper walk with the Lord I see that I need this time with Him not just in the morning when I normally sit at His feet, but during the day, and definitely in the evening when I am in bed and ready to sleep. My prayer is that I will push aside the urgent, the mundane and the not-so-necessary (like updating my Facebook page) and find that quiet corner to sit with God, look into His face, listen, love and be loved.