Love is not a feeling; it’s a verb.
I used to have a rock with that definition on it.
In the book Spiritual Disciplines of a C.H.R.I.S.T.I.A.N. by Gil Stieglitz there is a chapter on the Discipline of Loving. Dr. Gil further defines love as “meeting needs, pursuing or pleasing” (p. 218).
I’ve ascribed to and followed the meeting needs and pleasing part, but until now I haven’t given much thought to pursuing. This chapter (and lecture in class) in the book caused me to rethink my “love” relationships.
I was convicted in how I haven’t been “loving as pursuing” towards my two adult children. Since my divorce 5 years ago, I’ve gone to work (used to be a stay-at-home, homeschool mom), attended school, and limped along emotionally as well as I could. Since my two young adult children have been mostly of the house and on their own, I haven’t given them a lot of daily, weekly or monthly time.
Dr. Gil says that family needs 4 hours a day.* I know my kids are out of the house, but many times I haven’t even given them 4 hours a month.
God has shown me that I’ve been selfish. So I am making some changes.
- God sent some unexpected funds to my sister and me so we are taking my two kiddos to Disneyland in mid April. Its always been a fun place for us to go to and I anticipate more of the same this time around.
- I called my daughter and asked how she wanted to spend her birthday in May. Normally her birthday falls around the time my church has a big to-do. This year, I will spend it with my daughter.
- I want to send them a letter (OK -really a note) every couple of weeks just to let them know I care and how proud of them I am.
- I plan on seeing them every month. I know that many times I’ll have to go there (both live in San Francisco). I really do NOT like driving in San Francisco: I get lost every time both ways and those one way, mountainous streets freak me. But I am committed to this way of loving.
- My goal is to average 4 hours a week between the letters, phone calls and visits.
I am sad that . . .
- I let all this time pass before making these relationships a priority again.
- My behavior hurt my precious children.
But I am grateful that . . .
- God has shown me how unbalanced I’ve let myself become.
- It isn’t too late to re-establish a healthy, fun and pursuing relationship with my children.
* Dr. Gil gave us some other stats as well.
- Spouses need1 hour daily with each other in a good marriage. 2 hours daily for a distressed marriage.
- Women need 6-8 hours a week with women.
- Men need about 4 hours a week with men.
- Most everyone would benefit from 1 hour of alone time daily.
I know that since our world isn’t perfect, we won’t be able to fulfill these needs all the time. But I like knowing these facts so that I have something to align my life with.
Hey, please ask me from-to-time how I’m doing in this area. Thanks.