By: Katie Choi
This week I got to hang out with some of my best friends and celebrate one of their birthdays. It was wonderful. But, I felt strange going into it. Do we hug? Do we not hug? Can we go into her house? All these things to think about that I just didn’t before. There are so many things that I am questioning and second guessing right now. Feelings, actions, decisions, all of it. Something that isn’t new for me though, is thinking through the ‘what if’s’ of a situation. I think about every possible scenario. It is tiring. Last week my husband, Ben, told me that I always go to the worst case and think that will happen. Gulp. But, he’s not wrong. I often find myself running about 10 steps ahead of what is actually going on. Anxious and scared. I did that on Tuesday with my friends.
In a series of letters that the Apostle John wrote to encourage believers in the early church (1, 2, and 3 John in the New Testament) John is careful to remind them of God’s commands. It is tender, though doesn’t shy away from what is true. The biggest theme that seems to run through is the reminder to love one another. Love others well, John says, oh and any excuse that you think you can come up with to prevent yourself from loving others well is really not valid. It is simple, and yet, how difficult it is to live out.. In 2 John 6 reads, “as you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
I read this during a study I did a few weeks ago. It stuck with me. With the study, there were accompanying blog posts. The author of the post was talking about how we sometimes try to walk ahead or behind, but in this verse, we are told to simply: walk in love. Here are some of her words, “For me, it’s always easier to run ahead or lag behind, to grow distracted by what’s around me or impatient for what’s ahead of me. But John says, Beloved, walk. Match your pace to the One who loved you first and walk, one step in front of another, faithful in practice—not for a particular result, but simply to walk with your Father and enjoy His presence.”
I soak this in as I think about my time with my friends on Tuesday. I feel like I am always thinking through so many what if scenarios that most of the time do not come to fruition. I stress about potential conversations, potential outcomes. I run ahead. All the time I run ahead.
Another aspect of the 1, 2, and 3 John study was some white space to write a prayer. Here is what I wrote that day.
Lord, let me walk in love. You know that my heart is struggling. Help me with that, Lord. Let me love others well. Give me direction and wisdom. Guide me, Lord. Harbor my relationships, and keep us united. I love you, Lord. Amen.
When we were all together, it was joyful. Truly joyful. We saw each other’s faces, and that felt like the most special treat because we just had not had the chance to do that in some time. We hugged, and we talked about the hugging while we did it. But it was natural and real. We walked through the weird together. I feel like this was an answer to the prayer I said above.
We can walk through the weird together in the months to come. We don’t have to sprint ahead to think about what things will be like in July or next year or when there is a vaccine. We can simply look at our choices today. Planning and being thoughtful is of course important. You can’t lace up your tennis shoes, go outside, and expect to sprint a 6 minute mile if you haven’t run in three years. But, you can get on those shoes on, go outside, and take a walk to get some exercise. A place to start.
John closes this second letter in verse 12 saying, “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” My joy with some friends was made complete face to face on Tuesday.
Sometimes, a few reflective questions can be like lacing up those tennis shoes, it’s a place to start. What are ways we can connect with others? It doesn’t have to be in-person like it was for me on Tuesday. What are ways we can serve? How can we walk in love?
I am praying with you and for you and wishing you peace.