Refresh: Committed Love

But Ruth said:
“Entreat me not to leave you,

Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”

These words are a beautiful expression of the committed love Ruth showed Naomi, a reflective flicker of the incredible covenantal love of God for His people.

In our premarital counseling, our pastor reminded us that sometimes marriage will require love that will stay in the car and ride even into the ditch. You can see the danger ahead and calmly share your concern, but sometimes the decision is still to continue. You then buckle up and ride out the crash (and pay the repair bill and allow the bruises to heal) together. Note: this is not referring to life-or-death or sin situations.

Yes, commitment is that committed. Committed love goes all the way to the end. The idea is beautiful and we love being loved that way, but how often are we committed?

How often will we go out to eat IF we like the restaurant? If it’s not a menu we like, it doesn’t matter with whom we are eating (never mind Proverbs 15:17).

How much have we been willing to be friends AS LONG as we share interests and think alike? It’s more efficient and comfortable. No need to stretch (Proverbs 27:17).

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, I’ll love AS LONG as they love me? Fair is fair, and I have my rights.

I have fallen in all these traps. That’s not love; it’s an even exchange of goods.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
You are My friends if you do what I command you.” — John 15:12-14

We often think of the Ruth passage related to weddings. I find it interesting that neither of these Scriptures are referring to marriage. Ruth loved her mother-in-law. Christ commanded His disciples, and by extension the church.

Who will we love today?

Adjust, Adjust, Adjust

How do we respond to circumstances outside our control (that is, most of them)? Scripture and a multitude of books have plenty to say on our heart attitudes, but for today, let’s talk about a completely practical side.

Most of us use our vehicles a lot; it’s the culture we have. Lately I’ve been getting used to a different vehicle and have had to make adjustments. Different is not equal to bad, and change isn’t either. But change can be hard. It also takes a little thought and planning. It’s helpful that habits are hard to adjust, but it’s rough when that’s necessary.

Usually we know change is needed because we are bugged by a problem. Something doesn’t work! It helps to look at what isn’t working and what could be done to help. Then choose the adjustment that is the best mix of easy and effective. You don’t want to change more than you need (i.e., a broken cabinet door doesn’t require replacing ALL the kitchen cabinets…unfortunately), but you do want the solution to fix the problem.

Here are a couple of examples:

A smaller purse. ([Gasp] Say it ain’t so!) There is a nifty spot for storing a purse, but it is a smidge smaller than the one I was using. The trade-off is that I now have a spot for a purse other than the floor of the back seat. I had another purse in the closet that was slightly smaller, so I changed purses and was thankful.

A smaller console. The purse storage logically affected the console size. I used to make the most of a deep, wide storage box that held everything from a tissue box to medicine to snacks to napkins to sunglasses…and more. Well, now it’s time to choose what’s most important! So, I did, and the console is fully stocked with the highest priorities. What didn’t make the cut was moved elsewhere. For instance, the napkins were banished to door storage, but that means now we each have our own stash at hand. 

Grocery habits. I used to have all my reusable bags stuffed in all the door slots. It was handy to be able to grab one or a bunch before heading into the store. It was also nice to have within reach if someone else needed one too. Now I have all the bags in one bag in the cargo area. The new habit is grabbing bags from there before going shopping and returning to line up the bags in the far back (rather than across the back seat, as I did before). It will take a few runs, I suspect, but it is possible to adjust.

One habit I didn’t have to adjust was having my planner right at hand. There is still a slot, happily.