The New Love Dare…sacrificial love

I stare out the window and watch them burn down the grass. Beautiful auburn Little Bluestem natural prairie grass. Lush tall, dried ornamental Pampas grass. This golden color has been the landscape of my days. Whenever I walk by the big picture window I say a little prayer of thanks and revel in the beauty of His glory. Even during the harshest part of winter this grass departed only beauty. But today it is up in flames. The orange licks against the blue sky and I feel sorrow. I feel broken inside. Now I stare at piles of ash, fields of black as far as I can see. Death is ugly. But it is also necessary.

I know enough about prairies to know that every once in a while they need a good burn to start over. It helps with the prevention of weeds. It keeps unwanted trees and shrubs from rooting. It provides a good clean slate for new growth. And in weeks this black barrenness will be covered with fresh new shoots of green. Life…vitality…new beauty.

I thought about this emptiness I felt inside. Silly, I know. It is only plants. And then I started thinking about all my bucking against change this year. I was so comfortable with me, with where I was. Change equaled death. And the Lord was calling for change. Dying to myself.

What does this have to do with a love dare, one might ask? Everything. My husband and I have been talking…a lot. The Love Dare is something that is prevalent in our church as in many at the moment. My husband scoffs. He’s flipped through the book. We’ve even watched the movie (not as a part of a church group…just out of curiosity). “That is not what I would want,” he informs me. Then he, very graphically, describes what would be in his version of a love dare book. And it got me thinking. Would I dare? Would I dare to ask him five things that he would like me to change for him? Would I dare sacrifice for him because I love him? Would I do it without defensiveness or justification of my past actions? Because it is different for each of us…what we want, what fills our needs, what ignites our passion for each other. What if he took the same challenge and asked me what five things about him I would change? And then…get this…what if we actually died to ourselves and took up the marriage cross and did those five things? How would our marriages change?

I think we will find that we might buck against such an idea. After all, opening that line of questioning could quickly ignite a fire that burns terribly fast right through our notions of where we think our relationship is. And we would be left with this black, ugly void that left us feeling wanting. But then as we lived out the dares I think of the new growth that would come, of all the weeds that will have been choked out, of the tree obstacles that have just been moved out of the way, and of the healthy root that would continue to get stronger. And, as uncomfortable as it makes me, I might just have to take up this dare…to ignite the fire of my relationship. And then I will sit back this spring and watch the tender new shoots of green come to life.

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