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Sacrificial Love & Bunny Ears

Hi everyone! HAPPY EASTER!!! What a joyful day! Today I'm bringing you a new blog post with a little life update and some thoughts on sacrificial love that I feel God has been teaching me lately. Life has been c-r-a-z-y lately, but it's one of those seasons of my life that I can already tell I look back on and see lots of joy in the midst of the busyness. The two most busy times of the year for my family are September & October, when the start of the school year and competitive cross country season is going on, and April & May, when the end of the year and competitive track season is up and running (literally, lol). This is especially true this year, since between my brothers and I, we have 3 different teams' schedules and meets to keep up with, on top of school, and now (for me) training to be a lifeguard. It's been a whirlwind for everyone, but we're keeping up with it and enjoying the ride.

There's so much joy that comes with this business, but also a good deal of stress and worry. Can I finish all of my homework every day? Will I run the time I want in this race? Have I prepared enough for my races? Am I giving my all to my art projects? And most importantly for this post - Am I being a good enough friend to those around me? I've struggled a lot with all of these questions and more in the past few weeks, but I feel that God's been teaching me a lot of little lessons through all of it, the most important being about sacrificial love.

I'm currently doing an online devotional on the theme of friendship (through the Bible App - I highly recommend it!), and it's been teaching me a lot about not only how we can be Christ-like friends, but also how God designed friendship to benefit us. This has been super interesting to me and it's really inspired me to view my friendships a little differently. I like to think that I'm very open with my friends, I'm not afraid to share my struggles, and I enjoy empathizing with others. But something I haven't thought specifically about before is how I can best serve my friends in a Christ-like way. One of the day's devotionals talked specifically about sacrificial love, and how we can show that love through simply serving our friends and loving them in a way that's humble and compassionate. Obviously we've all been taught since we were little to be compassionate to our friends, but never before had I thought about showing a love that sacrifices ourselves for the benefit of our friends. I've started practicing this type of love lately, and while I have a long, long way to go, it's been fascinating to realize that our love can be sacrificial, not by letting the love be a detriment to our own selves, but by letting it humble us in a way that serves both the friendship and God. The friend I'm doing the devo with said "When our friendships are defined by sacrificial love, they point to God’s sacrificial love for the world", and I felt like that perfectly describes it.

This sounds simple enough - to show sacrificial love to those around us - but after realizing that idea, I started struggling with literally having the time to show that love. Everyday is packed with classes, activities, workouts, etc, so what if I don't have time to show such open love to my friends? I started feeling guilty for not having the time to show that love to my friends, but then I remembered - aren't we just supposed to do our best with the time that God has given us? I don't have control over how much time is in the day, or how long the lunch period is, or how often I can hang out with my friends, so why not just make the most out of the time that I do have with them! If it's out of my control, God's using it for both my benefit and theirs, so now I'm trying to focus on showing that love as much as possible in the short time I do have, and making that worth it. That in turn reminded me of the Napoleon Hill quote:

“Do not wait: the time will never be 'just right'. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”

My dad wrote that quote on a slip of paper and stuck it on the bulletin board in my room when I was in sixth grade, and I've kept it up there ever since. It's been a valuable reminder for me lately, as I struggle to figure out how to use my time efficiently and compassionately each day. This verse also perfectly illustrates the point:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

- Philippians 2:3-4

That's what I'll be focusing on this Easter as we celebrate the ultimate example of sacrificial love: Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. That was rather heavy, but I hope you're having a relaxing and celebratory holiday!! God Bless!

P.S.: Enjoy these photos that my mom and I took while doing the weekly photoshoot for her outfits (but this week it was my outfits) for her Instagram! They turned out to be quite cute and funny, and we're both wearing our Easter dresses, so I thought it would be perfect.

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