The Cross: A Love You'll Travel Oceans For
With February being the month all about love, I’ve been extremely interested in what it means to love and be loved wholly and completely. In the beginning of the month, I got pumped about a project I created all about getting different perspectives on love and what people think about it while piecing it together with photography. The project’s been placed on a standstill and will be picked back up in the spring with better weather on the way.
It’s taken me a few weeks to get to the point, however, of recognizing that I’ve been so focused on the human perspective of love, that I have completely forgotten about and ignored the heavenly perspective. I’ve turned my fragile eyes and heart away, unclothing my heart and soul in hopes that it would give me an answer I can be satisfied in.
Fun Fact: Unclothing my fragile heart and soul and turning my eyes on the less important things in this world doesn’t result in answers, a life, or relational habits I’m satisfied in.
But I’m realizing like a mountain I keep slipping down the moment I make any semblance of forward motion up that the answers about love and self-worth I’m looking for are not on this side of life. They are not in a relationship, and they are certainly not even in my biggest desire to be married and love another wholly and entirely.
The answer to all my questions got nailed on a tree for me.
My worth was settled at the cross. Jesus broke so that I could be whole. That, at the end of the day, is all that matters… But in all honesty, my eyes have been so focused elsewhere recently that I have forgotten the meaning of true brokenness and that the truth of it has been settled in the greatest expression of love that surpasses all time and need.
The truth is that returning to that expression and staring it in the eyes is both painful and hard to look at because my very atrocity and disgustingness as a human being placed Him there. That hurts more than any other kind of pain in the world. The very crap I put out in my sinful nature is what placed my greatest love up on a tree in death. Yet, He still clothed Himself in love, mercy, and complete forgiveness. All things I do not deserve, but still receive because of the blood pooled out on the ground for me.
Should I look for answers and love anywhere else, I get distracted and lonely, almost immediately placing myself inside holes I don’t realize I’m digging until it’s too late and the brokenness is displayed in every part of my life.
The beauty about Jesus and His pure love, though, is that it pulls me up out of those holes I dig. His love always hopes, always perseveres, and overcomes all strongholds. His love is kind, does not envy or boast and is not proud. It doesn’t dishonor others and is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered and most importantly, it keeps absolutely no record of wrongs.
In complete vulnerable ownership, I’ve forgotten to clothe myself in His love toward others as a result of taking my eyes off the only love that matters. It’s so easy to blame it on the distracted nature of America, but in all honesty, if I wanted it bad enough, I’d be fighting harder, because ultimately, that’s what He did for me when He chose to get whipped, pick up His cross despite, and carry it up a mountain just to be nailed there on my behalf.
I lose my way and have to stop and take hours — every single day — to remember the depth of this truth. Centering my mind upon this truth above all others does more for me when I am enthralled by it and living in complete remembrance and awe of it. I need this remembrance and reverence daily, because without it, I forget about the depth of what it means to be loved enough to have a sacrificial service done on my behalf.
Even when I’m in hard, dishonoring, and distracted seasons, He thought of me in complete love in this season when He went there.
You see, I traveled the world searching for it and I found it in dirty slums, hole in the wall restaurants, back roads, valleys, and mountaintops. I find that most people travel for that very reason: to search for the meaning and choice it is to love like He did. But until we get to a point where we’re resting on that Love completely — as the firmest foundation we know and have — nothing will fall into place the way it is meant to.
Until I am treating myself and everyone I encounter with the care and time Jesus put into pouring out His life on the cross so that I could have mine, I will never arrive at the Promised Day He has shown me in confidence.
The Promised Day is Today, though. Living within that promised day right now looks like being so enthralled and captivated by His love for me to the point of being swept up in the air like a bird. Being so in love with Him that no human can hurt me with what they say or joke about because Jesus is holding my hand and walking down the road with me, smiling at my beauty, captivated by the gift that I am and the journey it is to unwrap me in careful, present, attention and love.
And you know — that love — the love of unwrapping my own heart at the foot of that tree and being unwrapped by Him before all else is the love I need to tend to first. Because it’s the only way I will learn to place on the mind, heart, and eyes of Christ as a result toward everyone I encounter.
When I actively learn and live in that kind of love and receive it completely, it will result in an overflow and observance I can’t stop tending to, just like the expression of what happened on that tree.
So to me, that’s what love is. What about you?