I had the “L-word” conversation yesterday. You know the one. The one where one party says “I love you” and the other party says nothing. An awkward silence occurs, followed by a hasty change of subject or an angry explosion. Only mine didn’t go that way.
Yesterday was Sunday, and thus, I went to church. Praise and worship was good, but I was very aware of my own responses to the worship and the words of the songs we were singing. The first song was a fast song all about dancing before the Lord. A year ago, maybe more, I was so excitable about the God I had been told about. “God is good, so you should praise him.” So I did, never questioning it. This time, I was less “excited” and more aware of what I was doing and saying, and more importantly, to whom I was singing. Not too long ago, I hated getting out of bed in the morning. I hated leaving my house, I hated having nothing to live for, and I hated that God didn’t seem to be doing his job. But I have since had my joy restored and my eyes opened. I know personally that the God to whom we sing had saved me from my misery. My praise wasn’t impulsive, but informed. I was singing and dancing because I personally know the grace of God. Praise is totally different now.
After the praise song came 3 songs that were more tender and worshipful and intimate. For those songs, I sat on the floor and listened. I did not want to open my mouth and sing words I didn’t mean or understand, so I listened to the lyrics of the songs, only vocalizing the words that were honestly mine. Well, one of the songs played that morning was “I Really Love You” by Bethel. I sat and watched as other people sang the lyrics freely and lovingly. I tried to open my mouth and do the same, but nothing came out of me. I sat silently. I listened. I closed my eyes to process the lyrics, knowing that I couldn’t give that word to God. That L-word. It was heavy. It was weighty. It was substantial, and if I did not mean it, it was void.
What happened next was nothing short of beautiful. I don’t know if this qualifies as a vision or not, but as the song shifted from saying “I really love you,” to “I was made for intimacy,” in my mind’s eye, I saw something like a movie clip. I saw myself walking into a sitting room. I was followed by a man who was clearly my significant other (he signifies the Lord). He followed me into the room and closed the door behind him. I private conversation was coming. He turned and walked over to me, and sitting beside me, he said “I love you.” I froze, and my mind raced. “I like you,” “I am fond of you,” “you’re great,”…all of these phrases were buzzing around in my mind, but not the L-word. So I sat silently. And I was terrified. Then, instead of being angry or taking offense, or being uncomfortable and changing the subject, or showing any sign that he was dissuaded, the man scooted a little closer to me and held my gaze, never letting me look away. The longer I looked into his eyes, the more I was sure that remaining silent had been correct, because he would have known the truth. His eyes were wide and full of love, but they also seemed to whisper “be honest with me.” After another moment he asked me “do you trust me?” I said I did. The last thing he said was “that’s good enough for now.”
There’s a Demi Lovato song that says “Why are you singing me love songs? What good is a love song without the love? Why are we acting like lovers? We don’t know each other.” She’s right, and God doesn’t want my fake love. He wants my real honesty. That’s the only soil in which true love can grow. I’m so thankful for that, and it is making me want to love him. He deserves it. I am on a journey with God. I’ve been getting to know him. I’ve been learning to trust him. I’ve become able to confide in him. We are becoming friends. Real friends. And I know what he wants. Ultimately he wants me. He wants my heart and my love. But he’s also willing to wait for it. He’s taking his time with me until I am able to love him. Truly love him. In this way, he is winning my heart.