Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good is one of the first books I’ve been assigned to read (I just started my Master of Divinity degree at Regent College in Vancouver, BC — though I think it should be called a “Servant of Divinity”! Not sure I’ll ever be equipped to master divinity, no matter how good the professors are).
In Visions, Steve Garber asks “Can you know something and still love it?”
Garber’s first example is sausage. Can you watch sausage or hot dogs being made (gross) and still love it? Having worked in a chicken factory — which forever changed how I see chicken wings, thighs and burgers — I learned how chickens are “made” before they’re slaughtered, plucked, cleaned and packaged. I know chicken. I don’t love it the way I used to.
Garber’s second example is your city, country, world. Can you know the horrible things happening in the world — the damage we’re doing and the hurt we’re causing — and still love it? You’ve been disappointed, frustrated, angered or even destroyed by people (some you thought were trustworthy friends or beloved family members), unexpected situations and accidents. Can you still love the world even after what you’ve seen?
How to Love Even When You Know the Truth
Now let’s talk about the work you do. Your job, vocation, or even your calling. Can you know your organization, coworkers, boss and clients — and still love them? Still work for their good? Still be hopeful, positive, loyal, supportive and helpful? Sometimes the more we know, the harder it is to love.
“Is it possible to know the world and still love the world?” asks Garber in Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. “Of all the questions we ask about our calling, this is the most difficult.”
Closer to home
My thoughts on knowing and loving the world have come home — and it’s even more difficult. Can I know my stubborn, anxious, strong-willed, clever, often aggressive dog and still love her? Can I know my demanding, loud, pushy, messy, grumpy elderly cat and still love her? Can I know my husband and still love him? What about my family, friends, church, community group, fellow students, professors?
It gets even more personal
Can I know myself and still love me? I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, snubbed, criticized, judged, condemned and caused pain. How do I accept and love myself the way I am, knowing what I’ve done? And I’m not finished yet.
Can you know me, and still love me? This is our number one fear. We’re scared of being rejected, abandoned, ignored, unloved, unwanted, unworthy. We’re scared to let other people know who we really are and what we really think because we might lose their love. Our partners might leave us, our family reject us, our friends abandon us, our coworkers look down on us, our neighbors ostracize us.
And it happens. Our partners do leave us — literally (betrayal, separation, divorce, death) or figuratively (addictions, emotional or cognitive issues, health problems, personal crises). Our families reject us, our friends betray us, our coworkers mistreat us, our church hurts us.
So the question changes from “Can you know something and still love it?” to “Can someone know you and still love you?”
And then it becomes “Can you heal from being known, loved, and left?”
The answer is yes
Yes, you can know something and still love it. Yes, you can be known and still be loved. And yes, you can heal from being known, loved, and left.
By knowing who God is, and still loving Him. By knowing who Jesus is, and still following Him. By knowing who the Holy Spirit is, and still loving the Father who started it all. If your identity, self-image and source of life is rooted in God, then everything else becomes less important.
Then it becomes less important who chooses to unlove you or how the world behaves. Your heart still hurts, but it can be healed.
Keep building your personal relationship with Jesus. I share a few ideas in Deepening Your Relationship With God – Exodus 3. You might also find Increasing Your Faith When Your Heart is Broken – Genesis 43 helpful.
Remember that there are some things in your life that you’ve been given to know and love, to have and to hold. Keep choosing to love those people, places, pets, proclivities, and possessions.
You yourself are one of the gifts God has created. He knows you, and He loves you. Learn what Jesus meant when He said “love your neighbor as yourself.” Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom, guidance, strength, and power — for He loves to bless the children He knows and loves.
With His love,
New on She Blossoms
Deepening Your Relationship With God – Exodus 3 – There’s a huge difference between believing in God and having a relationship with Jesus. If you know about God but don’t actually know who Jesus is, you’re missing out on a relationship that will change your life. Deepening your relationship with God will change how you see yourself, your life, and other people.
Trusting God’s Timing When You’re Confused – Exodus 2 – You’re told God created you for a reason, Jesus loves you, and the Holy Spirit is your helper and source of power…but it’s hard to actually live in faith. You believe in Jesus, pray regularly, go to church, and even read the Bible (except for the confusing parts 🙂 ). Why, then, is God taking so long to answer your prayers?
3 Easy Ways to Trust God With Your Future – Exodus 1 – In 3 Signs You Can Trust Someone With Your Heart – Genesis 24 I shared tips for trusting a man in a new relationship. I described how father Abraham trusted his servant Eliezer to find the right wife for his son, Isaac. Abraham’s trust in Eliezer was strong but it was rooted in a deeper, more powerful, more secure source of trust.