Category Archives: The Love Dare

The Love Dare: Day 3

I didn’t skip this dare, and I didn’t forget about it. Today’s dare involves trying to be unselfish, and I didn’t feel that I really had a good chance to be unselfish yesterday and decided to extend the dare for several more days.

Part of being unselfish for me is to think more of the stresses and demands placed on others and trying to relieve these, instead of thinking of the stresses and demands that others are placing on me.

While I have tried to adjust my thinking and my heart, I was given the opportunity to concretely do something for others on January 11th. A friend had told me of an awful fire, where 20 units burned. The tenants lost everything. While the management got them placed into vacant units in the complex, they didn’t have any beds or blankets and were sleeping on the floor. They didn’t have basic essentials, like food, dish soap or shampoo.

I ended up going shopping for them and picking up a few things, which was joy enough for me. I didn’t need any recognition for it, nor was I looking for an atta-boy. What ended up happening was that God put someone into my life that I really didn’t have a relationship with before.

This girl has an incredibly beautiful heart. The way she loves is inspiring. She loves deeply: her family, her co-workers, her neighbors, complete strangers. And she gives of herself selflessly. What a gift, that I should have this person enter my life! πŸ™‚

What has been even better, in the subsequent days, is that she has spurred me on to greater awareness of others and acts of unselfishness. Which was kind of the point of Day 3, right? πŸ™‚

The Love Dare: Day 2

I know that this isn’t the next calendar day after Day 1, but I felt that I should pick up where I left off, instead of trying to cram many days into one. I felt that would be cheating, somehow. I need to learn each lesson as I come to them and spend the appropriate time on them before looking at the next.

Today’s dare focuses on kindness, the second pillar of love (the first being patience). They tell us that kindness is comprised of four separate things: gentleness, helpfulness, willingness, and initiative. And that kindness is love in action. To truly be kind, I need to be aware of my basic selfishness and die to self, so that I can live for the good of others. This is really hard; I think we are by nature selfish. I think that I have a high degree of empathy for other people, but I still need to fight with myself to *do something* about it. Especially when that “something” involves some sort of sacrifice on my behalf.

Today’s dare is to do one unexpected gesture of kindness for our spouse. It was a sacrifice for me on a number of levels, and it was not made easily. But it was for the love of Christ, and He turned that sacrifice into a blessing for me, as well. This doesn’t really surprise me. After all, our priest is known to exhort couples at their wedding to try to “outdo” each other in kindness. If the relationship that I am working on is the one between Jesus and myself, then I really have no hope of being able to outdo Him in kindness. πŸ™‚ Although, I can try. πŸ™‚

Day 1: Love is Patient

I suppose today’s dare actually began during Mass at the very beginning of the day today. Right after receiving communion, as I knelt down to pray, I remember reflecting upon the host that I had just consumed. I felt as if God were speaking to me of His plans for me for the coming year. I think what he wants for me this year is an increased sense of docility to him. A softening of my heart. A new gentleness.

How fitting then that this first day tackles the subject of patience.

I think that part of being a patient person is docility to the will of God. If I know, if I *truly* know, that God loves me and always wills for my good, then I can suffer anything, because I know that He will see me through it.

The reading tells of a fruit of patience: “Patience brings an internal calm during an external storm.” Docility, reliance, peace. The reading also says that, “it gives you the ability to hold on during the tough times in your relationship rather than bailing out under the pressure.”

I am not often angry with God, but there is a relationship that I have that I was on the verge of bailing on. Not that I wish ill toward anyone, but I have been hurt so many times before by so many people, that I tend to quietly leave situations rather than to suffer more hurt, particularly when I do not think that the other party is that interested in my friendship. I mean, if they do not really care, why should I keep trying?

But this is the hardness of my heart speaking, I think.

And if I want to practice patience for Jesus’s sake, then I think He is giving me a situation where I can try to show patience — and perhaps it is in this relationship.

So today, I got the opportunity to see things, or at least one instance, from the other party’s point of view. And I certainly have fault. Clearly, what I need is to have patience in this instance. Patience for God to work in me. For Him to soften my heart and help me to grow and learn to love better. For as I treat others, so do I treat Him. I pray that He will help me and give me the grace that I need.

The Love Dare: The Beginning

I watched the movie Fireproof recently, and as I talked about in a recent Quick Takes, I have been kicking around the idea of using the Love Dare in my relationship with God.

Okay, you’re right. It should be done with one single person in mind and God is three persons. Let me be more specific, then. I will see if I can apply the Love Dare to my relationship with Jesus. I get that it’s going to be a challenge sometimes, but I am hoping that I will still be able to see an improvement in the relationship as I become more aware of my own selfishness and seek to do what is best for Him (or based on His wants for me and not my wants for me).

Just like it says in the trailer, it’s a decision to begin leading your heart instead of following your heart. Many of the saints experienced what is called a “Dark Night of the Soul”, where they experienced aridity in their prayer life and/or couldn’t feel the presence of God in their lives. It is during these times that they had to lead their hearts.

I have a decent amount of knowledge about God, but as I reflected on this Year of Faith that we are in, I realized that while learning ever more about God is a good thing, I don’t want it to be the only thing. A personal relationship with the persons of the Trinity is what changes a “religious scholar” into a “theologian”. And I want my heart to be in it. I want my heart to be in Him. Isn’t that his main point to the Pharisees?

And so I begin.

Please pray for me, as I keep you in prayer as well.