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When It Comes to Love, Practice Makes Perfect

The bathroom counter is a minefield of Sparkle Crest toothpaste for the third time this week. Globs drip from the faucet and streak the front of the cabinet. A neon blue smear on the mirror dries slowly into a crust. The blue goo-smeared hand towel lies discarded on the floor. As I turn to track down the culprit, another trail of vivid blue rubs from my sock onto our new carpet. I grit my teeth, removing my sock, as a cheerful voice echoes down the hallway.

“Hey, Mama! We’re out of toothpaste again!”

“Beloved: This is the message you have heard from the beginning: Love one another” (1 John 3:11).

We know love because Jesus laid down His life for us. Love is the key to the whole Christian faith. It’s The Most Important Part.

So why don’t we have it down yet? Why is love the hardest part of following Jesus? Well, other drivers are terrible. People’s social media posts raise our blood pressure. Neighbors’ dogs poop in our flowerbeds, co-workers tend to leave moldy leftovers in the refrigerator, roommates routinely forget to take out the trash, and sometimes we just don’t feel very loving, do we?

Those things are annoying. But Love isn’t a feeling. We are to love, Saint Paul says, in truth and action. The truth of what we do matters more than the feeling behind it. So we grit our teeth and empty the trash can again. We extend a neighborly smile to that dog-owner. We bite our tongues before we say what we’d really like to say to that co-worker at the next staff meeting. We can do all of this and more, because God (Who is greater than our hearts and knows everything!) loves us! He loved us, first, even knowing exactly how we’d struggle with these very things. Jesus laid down His life so we would know how precious we are to Him.

We can do this. We can practice love, even when it’s hard. And if we practice, with Jesus’ help and unfailing love, we’ll get better.

We can practice love, even when it’s hard. And if we practice, with Jesus’ help and unfailing love, we’ll get better. Click To Tweet

Join me as we pray the Act of Love together today.

Abbey Dupuy is the Assistant Theological Editor for Blessed is She and writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four frequently barefoot children. She muses about imperfect parenting, practicing gratitude, and celebrating the liturgical year with her young family on her blog. In her spare time, she enjoys running, gardening, coffee, and cookbooks, not usually at the same time. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Virtues study found here

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Sue Kalnasy
    January 5, 2019 at 7:08 am

    Thank you so much for your words today, Abbey! My mom is struggling with dementia, and feeling loving toward her when we are together has been really difficult lately. I needed the reminder that love isn’t a feeling, but truth in acton. I know the feeling will follow if I am faithful by acting in love.

  • Reply
    Madeleine
    January 5, 2019 at 10:47 am

    This is so true! Also, I had a professor recently tell us that we can’t love on our own — not in the way we are called. He explained that in order to love the way Christ calls us to, we have to first receive His love. That way, when we love, we are not so much giving our own love than giving Christ’s, and we are allowing Him to love others through us, which is so beautiful! That’s why it’s so important to spend time each day just allowing Christ to love us: it enables us to pass that love on to our friends, family, strangers, etc. When he explained that to us, I feel like my eyes were opened a little bit and I was better able to see how I wasn’t loving as much as I could be… hopefully someone else finds this helpful, I just wanted to share !

  • Reply
    Mary
    January 5, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you, Abbey. You are so right that love is an action. We are made in God’s image. God is love. We can chose to love in our actions. When we chose to act in love to others we are choosing God.

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