My 2017 :: Do small things with GREAT love

It’s been an odd few weeks, er… year. 

Racism, riots, the election, protests, our little family moved across the country, and oh… did I mention our society is ON EDGE? For my own sanity I took a few steps back and opted to not write much (publicly) because well it’s really just been a lot to digest. And this week, I think I have one tiny thing I’d like to offer to you, my friends. 

I’ve been staying up at night, praying, asking God what my role is both here online and here in my physical location in 2017. What does advocacy look like? What does unity look like? What does a life lived with conviction and grace look like? How do both passion and humility point to Jesus? How do I balance both?

If you’ve been with me for a while you know, the bathtub is a sacred place for me. There’s just something about the silence and the water that allows my heart to slow to just the right pace. So the other night when I couldn’t sleep, I crawled into my bath tub and got acquainted with my new resting place. As I sat there taking in all the change that the last few months have ushered in, a quote from Mother Teresa came to mind.  

Do small things with great love. 

“Wait, is that it Lord? THIS cheesy quote I’ve seen on coffee mugs and memes and instagram inspirations? You’re giving me a Mother Teresa quote?? This is what you bring to mind?”

My mega-eyeroll was met with silence, so I continued my bath in peace enjoying the solitude. 

The next day the girls were bickering with each other for the 2000th time and I stormed into the room because, well… I’m really good at modeling that whole stay calm under strife thing… so I barked, “Girls, what’s the most important rule we have in our home?” 

They stopped what they were doing, looked guilty and passed the blame on the other. 

Frustrated I yelled, “Love God and Love each other.” Again, I pride myself on my exemplary behavior in modeling how NOT to parent when stressed. 

Blood pressure high but the situation handled, I went back into the kitchen to prep dinner. Hands on the counter, head hanging low, I sighed as it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Do small things with great love. 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. This is the greatest commandment I’ve given you. 

Strip the fancy and frills, Brit, and get back to the basics. Do small things with great love. And do them every chance you get.

Tears welled up in my eyes because I heard Him loud and clear this time and I understood what He was asking of me. I had been so focused on the big picture that I forgot the daily disciplines of loving God and loving this world. I was too busy trying to figure out if God was wanting me to do something big. Was God wanting me to write more on certain topics, wanting me to advocate for this or that? Did He want me to draw more lines in the sand in my personal life? Was He calling me to a specific side of our country’s divide? Was I supposed to say YES to that opportunity instead of no? Should I be pursuing a career instead of staying home during this season? I’d been SO BUSY wearing myself out spinning, trying to figure out where I stood, where our little family stood, that I forgot that my every hope is rooted in One who cannot be moved or shaken. And spreading that hope, His love, that is my calling. There are many avenues and opportunities to do it, but I knew in that moment that 2017 was about getting back to the basics.

Love God & Love each other. 

Do small things with great love. 

So that night I stopped my busyness. We had sandwiches and leftover pizza for supper. I laughed and giggled and played with my children and then I put them to bed. And then I went back to my faithful tub. 

Who were my people? I kept over complicating it, until I felt a gentle nudge… 

Keep it simple, who are the people you see regularly? 

Well, my family and friends. Our new neighbors. The grocery clerk. The barista. The kids’ teachers. Co-workers. Church family. Could it be that simple? 

Brittany, I think we all know that loving the people closest to you is far from simple. Love these people fiercely and consistently. Now, who is missing from these circles? Who is on the fringe? The outsider? The uninvited? Go after them and do small things with great love again and again. Love extravagantly without condition, not because you want more people in your fold, but because MY love compels you. 

Vision clear. Strategy in place. And per the usual I felt over-confident in my ability to love like God, already forgetting my short-tempered parenting that happened just hours before. 

Oh and Brit, love them not just for the sake of doing something good. Love them because I have loved you with an everlasting love. Love them because I love them with an everlasting love too. The first might feel good in the short term, but it only builds your kingdom; the latter builds my kingdom. Its results are eternal. 

Knocked down a few notches, I finally understood. Christ has called me to do something that’s really hard for me. He’s called me (& you) to do something that we can’t do apart from him. Apart from Christ, all I have to offer is superficial love. My kindness has an end to it. My personality, flawed with impatience, is not designed for the perseverance and Christ-like love this world needs. But nonetheless He called us to this way of life. 

A way that loves regardless of political party, socioeconomics status, religion, and goes beyond personal preferences.. 

A way that both fights and speaks for justice but also loves the brother/sister who doesn’t quite see the need for it. 

A way that says I forgive you, again and again, rejecting the notion that forgiveness makes me a doormat. 

A way of life that says, do small things with great love for the glory of God, not the praise of man. 

A way that might not change politics, but it will change my personal politics.

A way that might not change the entire world, but it will change the parts of the world that God has entrusted to me. 

So while everyone is picking their word, jotting down new year's resolutions, striving to master 1 new thing a month in 2017... I realized I can only handle 1 thing this year. This year, I have to keep it simple and... 

Do small things… with great love… for His Kingdom… not mine.

Alright 2017. Let’s do this thang.

Posted on December 30, 2016 .