by Froswa’ Booker-Drew
I was so honored at my book signing on Thursday to experience so much love and support. It’s a blessing to receive your flowers before you leave the planet. So often we wait or even fail to tell others how we feel about them. I try not to do that. I am grateful that God continues to remind me (through my friends) the power of love and friendship. I want others to know what they mean to me through my words and actions. Thursday night was God’s way of allowing me to witness reciprocity at work.
We often assume that people know how we feel about them, or we are inconsistent in demonstrating our love. I remember as a kid, my grandparents were not super affectionate. It was the era they were raised in and showing emotions could be viewed as weakness. We’ve made that even more difficult for men to show their feelings and build strong relationships that support the many changes of life. Many friendships and even intimate relationships wither away because we do not invest time in showing our feelings, expressing our thoughts, and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. While we have time, we should give words of encouragement and affirmation to build others up. We are sowing seeds daily by the way we pour into others. It’s not only necessary that we pay attention to how we receive love but how we give it to those around us.
I think sometimes we assume we know what people need based on what’s important to us. Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The 5 Love Languages, reveals that each of us has a way in which we connect to others either through words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. This is not only critical to explore for personal relationships with loved ones and friends, but also being aware in the workplace that every person responds differently. Our job is to take the time to learn ourselves and others.
Just as we each have a way in which we want to be treated, to be loved, respected and cared for—so does God. We spend so much time making requests of God that we don’t take the time to seek what God wants from us in our relationship. We want words of affirmation and so does God. God desires our praise:
• “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise,” Psalm 100:4.
• “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord,” Psalm150:6.
He wants our praise…he doesn’t need it.
God wants us to spend time in his presence through our prayer time and study. We want time with those we love and care about—and so does God. We must be willing to make the time and create the space:
• “Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10.
• “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you,” Matthew 6:6.
God wants us to serve. We serve God by serving and giving to others:
• “He has told you, O mortal, what is good, and what does Yahweh ask from you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 LEB.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver,” 2 Corinthians 9:7.
• “…Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth,” 1 John 3:16-18.
As we look to love others well, let’s make sure that we model that love after what God demonstrates to us. When we seek God first, know that everything else will be added (Matthew 6:33)—even in our relationships.