Remember saying that as a child? It was always my way of disowning my crummy kid brother yet remaining loyal to my family at the same time. Sometimes it was the way to distinguish the way in which I loved a boy outside of my family. "No, I don't LOVE him! Eww! I just love him in God's way!"
Even as a child I understood that God commanded us to love one another. I think I even understood that we should love everyone unconditionally. I wonder, though, how many people actually knew that I loved them? My mom and dad? My crummy kid brother and annoying little sister? My best friends? Who knows that I love them right now? My husband and my kids? My friends and neighbors? The people I work with?
This morning I spent a lot of time thinking about how I show people that I love them. My mind traveled back to the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I read the book as a newlywed and it really opened my eyes about how to show someone that you love them. If you aren't sure what the love languages are, you can read a summary here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/learn-the-languages/the-five-love-languages/ . There's lots of cool stuff on the website and you can even take a test to find out what your primary love language is.
While I'm sure I can always do more to show my family that I love them, there is a special group of people that will become a big part of my life over the summer. I have the honor and the pleasure of leading a group of teachers who will be the very first staff of a brand new preschool. This is HUGE! God's letting me do this? I already have such a deep and precious love for these ladies - some of whom I have not even met yet! I know from past leadership positions that the relationship you have with your team is vital to the quality of work that you do. Happy, supported, validated people are productive, passionate, and loyal!
So how...how do I do this? How do I show people that I barely know how much I love them? I'm going to have to listen and pay very close attention. Or maybe in some cases I'll have to just come right out and ask. What will these ladies appreciate most? Having a mess cleaned up for them? Kind words of encouragement? A hug? I don't know yet, but I'm going to find out...and in doing so I think I just may find out a lot more about what loving people "in God's way" actually means. And that, my friends, sounds like the beginning of something BIG!
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.