Some people will tell you that you can’t go home again. (Miranda Lambert even wrote a song about it.) And I used to think that was true. I’d come home for a visit and truly enjoy seeing the people I love, but I’d also feel a tad out of place. Now that I’m home for good, though, I know I’m home. I have an incredible sense of belonging that I’ve not had in a long time.
My soul has always been a little bit of a wandering adventurer. My heart couldn’t settle on one place or one thing I wanted to do. But today I can say that I’m settled here. And at least while I’m here on this earth, I am home.
I know, I know. Some of you who know me are thinking: “Right. We’ve heard this before.” So let me clarify a few things.
First, I want you to know what I’m not saying. I’m not saying I didn’t experience love elsewhere or that I don’t miss my people in Tennessee. Believe me, I left some of the best friends I’ve had when I left Nashville. I miss them every day. Being home isn’t so much about where I am now as it is about who I am now.
Over the last few months, I’ve learned a lot about love and about living from a place of love rather than fear. I think, every time I took a new adventure, I wasn’t running toward anything; instead, I was running from some things. I was running from dealing with things from my past. I was running from a future I thought I’d never have. I was running out of fear instead of running fast-paced, heart open to love.
I’m still learning how not to live from a place of fear. I’m still learning to open my heart to love, and to live in that openness rather than struggling in fear and insecurity. That’s what God models for and calls us to anyway, isn’t it? Because perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).
I think God drew me home in His love, for His love, and for loving others.
Life is not perfect, or even easy. This is why I return to the foot of the cross each day, tilting my face up toward the heavens to look upon love and mercy and grace—and reality. The cross is beautiful, but it also provides a heavy dose of reality.
The cross reveals a lot about love. Love requires sacrifice. Love means submitting to God, no matter what. Love is messy. Love can be painful. Love is giving. Love is making sure others are taken care of even in—or maybe even through—your pain. Love is carrying one another’s burdens. Love is forgiveness, for all things great and small. Love means gently speaking the truth. Love requires discipline. Love calls for grace. Love says, “This is your second chance.” Love is there even in our brokenness, our wandering, our waiting, our pain, our joy, our sorrow, and our hope. Love is in the living. Love is in the dying, of Christ, of self, and of thirst for what’s to come.
Love means being bold. Love means being both strong and soft.
Love is. To borrow from Bob Goff, Love Does. Love feels. Love speaks. Love acts.
Love is active. Love requires much of us and pushes us to love without requiring anything of those we love. (Of course, please don’t misunderstand me, healthy relationships are give-and-take.)
No matter how closely I lean into Jesus, my love will never be perfect, I know. But through Him, I can love people better. Through Him, I can do better about showing the people around me how much I love them in ways they’ll understand and feel at the heart level. Through Jesus, I can walk into the uncharted territory of loving people better, trusting Him to take my hand and guide me through this grand adventure.
Love is. Love does. Love feels. Love acts.