Four moves in less than two years has a way of decluttering a girl’s life. At this point, stuff is pretty low on my priority list. But there’s one little treasure that always makes the cut. My sweet pup, Riff.
My dog loves me. A lot. If I’m home, he is by my side. When I leave for a while, my sister says he looks for me the whole time I’m gone. He is a one-woman dog, and I’m his woman.
True, he likes pretty much everyone. If you come over, his tail will wag, and you might even get a friendly lick on your cheek. But when the kibble hits the dog bowl, Riff will be where I am and as close to me as possible.
He’s snuggled up against my leg as I write this post. I should really give him creative cred because his warm presence is almost always part of my writing conditions.
It feels good to be someone’s favorite.
As Riff followed me from room-to-room today, the Spirit whispered to me, “Stick to Me the way Riff sticks to you. I want to be your favorite.”
I’d love to say I love the Lord the way Riff loves me, but I don’t.
I’m well described by this phrase from the old hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing“:
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.
True, I love God. But I spend the bulk of my breath striving and straining for the affections of people. More often than I care to admit, I leave the Lover of my Soul on the sidelines while I chase after the approval of flawed, fickle people.
On Christmas night, my family crowded into my mom’s living room for a last bit of togetherness. Every chair and couch cushion was covered with family, including my three sons. My mom’s little dog, Misty, sauntered into the room, and everyone started calling her name at once. Misty had a decision to make, and the poor girl had some trouble. She started spinning round and round looking from one set of open arms to another trying to figure out whose lap to grace. She ended up going for the closest lap rather than the lap that’s there for her day-in and day-out.
My heart’s a lot like that, but I don’t want it to be. I want to love Him most. I want to want Him more than anyone or anything else. I want to run straight to His lap without pause.
In her newest book, Audacious, Beth Moore writes of our need for a deeper love for God…an audacious love.
We’re talking about being swept up with the One who can’t tire out and you can’t run off. The One who still calls you Beautiful at your ugliest and pulls you up at your lowest. The One who doesn’t have to struggle to forgive you. The One who really does keep no record of wrongs. The One who doesn’t have to go to counseling to stay with you. We’re talking about coming alive to an honest-to-God acceptance that we are audaciously loved and drumming up the audacity to boldly love Him back. That, I believe to my bones, would be the most important discovery of our lives. The craziest part is that it’s not hard to get. Ask for it.
I do believe I will.
You deserve so much more love than I’ve been giving, and for that, I am deeply sorry. It feels strange to ask You to help me love You, but here I am asking.
The love You deserve is far beyond what I can muster up on my own. I need the Lover of my Soul to instruct my soul in the explosive art of audacious love.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)
I sure can’t, and I can’t fix my faulty heart either. But You know love because You are love (1 John 4:8). And You know me because You made me (Psalm 139:13).
Show me how to love You, Lord.
Right there in red letters, my Bible quotes You saying the greatest commandment is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30 NIV).
The man who knew You first as a big brother and then as a Savior says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15 NIV).
I come to You in confidence that You hear me and that I have this thing I ask for. No doubt, it’s Your greatest will for Your children to love You with an audacious love.
I echo the prayer Your sweet daughter Beth shares in her love book:
Give me a heart to love You more than anything I can see or touch. Grant me love for You, Jesus. This is what I want more than anything. Be the driving desire of my life.
“Teach me your way [of love], Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11 NIV).
May my love for people be an overflow of a heart devoted to You first. You first, Lord. You. First.
I know this love I’m asking for is something You dole out in doses. You know I can’t handle the full measure at once. It will be a life pursuit. A growing in love. An exercise I’ll never tire of doing.
I hear You say, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7 HCSB).
May my waking words be passionate prayers to love You more.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8 NIV).
Yes, Lord, my heart is prone to wander to lesser loves. But “here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal is for Thy courts above” (Come Thou Fount). I want You to be my favorite…every day and always.
In the name of Jesus, the One who loves me most, I pray with gratitude for how You’ll answer,