I love seeing my friends excel in their passions. It's usually in the arts field where I get to visually see their success, but I've seen it when my brother achieved his Eagle Scout honor or when my high school's basketball team won the state championship.
On April 3rd, I had the pleasure of hearing a dear friend sing and play some fantastic tunes. Her voice floated through the air, while she strummed away at her ukulele. I have another opportunity coming up where I get to cheer on my theater friends in a peer-directed one-act; I can't wait to sit in the front row and watch the magic that is created on-stage. There is something so satisfying about supporting your friends in what they do; a healthy relationship involves people being mutually interested in what each person has to offer.It all comes back to that beautiful, second greatest commandment of God's Word: "Love your neighbor as yourself." As an actor, it is one of the greatest feelings to have my friends waiting for me after I finish a performance. They give me hugs, congratulate me on my work, and in these moments, I cannot help but feel loved. I want to do that for the people around me. I want people to feel appreciated because I love to feel appreciated.
Maybe that is a selfish way of looking at it, but we can compare it to the love God gives us unconditionally; while we can never show any person the amount of love He shows us, we can strive to be more like Him with how we bless people around us.
What is your love language? If you don't know, I highly recommend you take the test to see the ways in which you share your love best. There are five general love languages:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Acts of Service
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Quality Time
5. Physical Touch
My strongest love language is words of affirmation; this means that I show love and receive love best through speaking and writing words of encouragement, compassion, and love. I hope that the people around me know that what I say is sincere because that is how I show my love best. For some, it may be through physical touch, like hugging. For others, it is through acts of service, like cleaning up the house for a parent.
Here's the catch, though: we should be showcasing love through each of these acts. I love giving people gifts (another love language), but I struggle with acts of service. I'm not so great at showing affection through physical touch, but if someone needs an encouraging text or note, I'm on it! The point is that we should be growing in how we love; I can stretch the areas of giving love that aren't worked out nearly enough because like my own love language, others receive love in different ways.
Find out how you can love the people in your life better. I know that we are usually taught to take care of ourselves before we take care of the people around us; self-care is vital for a healthy walk with Jesus. But, what if we were showing the same love that we desire for ourselves to the people around us?
What if we showed up to our friends' shows and cheered them on from the front row? What if we picked up the common room and cleaned the bathroom before our roommates got home? What if we surprised a teacher with an anonymous gift because we appreciate their hard work? What if we were constantly showing the love that Jesus shows each of us always?