If you've never met my Blythe, let me just share this with you:
She rarely knows a stranger.
We will be walking or driving along and she will instinctively wave or say hello to nearly everyone. She feels free to share as much information as she possibly knows with people when they begin a conversation with her.
The other day we were driving and there was an older man on his front porch. She waved great big at him [we didn't know him], and I said, "Blythe, that was very kind of you. That made him happy." She responded, "I made him happy. You made him sad." Oh. Okay.
Every once in awhile she'll play shy, but for the most part she assumes others want to know her, or that they already do. Part of this is because of her little personality, which is outgoing and joyful. But I think part of this has to do with the fact that we live in a small town where most people know her by name and say hi, and because we live near lots of family. When people come to the house she loves to talk and entertain, because she loves to be adored.
She knows how to be adored.
She knows how to be celebrated.
In my "past life" as a teacher, I have known a lot of children who have had to live stories they should have never had to live. They have rarely been loved or adored. They have never been celebrated. And because of that, when someone wants to show them a kindness or love them, it is hard for them to receive. They don't know how to act. They want to earn it. They want to push it away because they don't feel deserving.
And I have seen myself in these two extremes.
Having seen kids not know how to be loved, and watching my daughter bloom when she is being celebrated, I see my reaction to a Father who wants to lavish me with His love. 1 John 3:1 says, "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!"
And often I don't know how to be adored. I think I have to do more or be more before I can receive it.
Lavish as a verb means to bestow [or give] something in generous or extravagant quantities. The weight of that love is heavy, and sometimes it is hard to know how to be celebrated and adored in this way.
At our church we sing this song that includes these lyrics:
I am afraid,
for no one's ever sacrificed and loved me this way
So on my face I fall under Your heavy grace
Here I lay in awe and wonder
I think we need to be aware of the immensity of this love. It is huge. That kind of grace is heavy in the best way possible.
But I also think we should act more like my nearly three year old, and learn how to be adored in this love.