The first sentence of today's lesson says it all: "You cannot command an emotion, but you can command an action."
I always thought of love as an emotion. Something you feel for someone else. Something you fall in and out of. Something you can feel very strongly or not at all.
Turns out, love is actually an action. Makes sense. (I'm about to go totally English teacher on you here. You have been fore-warned.) Most people know from grade school that a verb is an action word. To be a complete thought, you need both a noun and and a verb. So when you speak the phrase "I love you" then you are using 'love' as your verb. Therefore, love is an action--not a feeling.
Love certainly spurs on a whole mess of feelings: Depending on who you are loving it can make you feel blissful, comforted, compassionate, giddy, nervous, fearful, or miserable.
But regardless of how it makes us feel, love is something that we are commanded to do. Even if it scares us. Even if we don't feel like it.
After today's reading, I have come to the conclusion that God must give us kids to practice our love skills on, because I know I certainly do not always "feel the love" when I carry out certain tasks for my children--
-My son dirties his diaper first thing in the morning. It is just his way. In the morning when I go to greet him in his room, I am slammed in the face by the most putrid smell known to man. (He takes after his dad that way lol) It is all I can do to walk in there to take him out of the crib. But as I go to lift him up, he throws his little arms around my neck to hug me "good morning" and wraps his little legs around my hip. Though all I want to do is throw him on the changing table and hold my breath while I clean up his bum, I give him a good minute to continue to hug me because it is my job to love him.
-Since I have dove on into the potty-talk, I will talk about potty-training. For anyone who has potty-trained a child, you know how horribly frustrating it is. For those of you who haven't (haha!)...just you wait! You will never understand how much your parents truly loved you until you are mopping pee off of the dining room floor at dinner time, steam-cleaning it out of the couch for the third time in a single day, and stripping poo out of a panties after your child ate something that made her sick. There is just no way ANYONE wants to do that, and yet every parent does...because it is our job to love our children.
-Though I hate Jungle Jaks with a passion, I go with my children on a regular basis because they enjoy it, and because it is my job to love them.
-I am a greedy, greedy eater, but I will share the last bites of my food if they ask me(and usually give it up to them altogether) because they are my children, and it is my job to love them.
-I could easily pass out at the sight of blood, but I will doctor any boo-boo on the spot, because they are my children and it is my job to love them.
-I hate bugs, snakes, and every kind of creepy-crawly thing with a passion, but I will run towards the creature and stomp them out with my bare foot to keep my kid from touching it or putting it in his mouth, because he is my child, and it is my job to love him.
I could go on forever and ever with this, but I will stop here because I think you get the picture...
There are plenty of things that I personally dislike doing, but still do anyway because I am prompted to act out of love for my child. (I could have made a separate list for my husband--man! I am slamming on him tonight! Sorry, honey!) But the truth is, I know he could make a list for me too! Why? Because we as humans are selfish beings with selfish desires. Loving someone means making a sacrifice to please/take care of/provide for another person--in spite of our own selfish tendencies. It means doing something you don't necessarily feel like doing for the benefit of someone else.
I am still learning how to do this for the people that I dearly love. (i.e. my husband and my children.) I am glad I have them to practice on, because I am sure I will need a lot of practice to do something I don't necessarily feel like doing for someone that I don't necessarily like that much! (And I am pretty sure the book will get to that one soon...)