The Romance Between Follow and Love

 

In a land far away, a young ruler named Follow was living a good life.  He was popular and had great wealth.  He was strong and healthy, his family and servants cared for him well.  In Follow’s world, it seemed there was nothing more to want.  Follow was a good son, obedient to what his parents and advisers told him to do all his life.  As a young prince, he had been taught well the ways and traditions of the land.  He was intelligent and had reached each milestone expected of him according to his development as a wise man.  But Follow lacked one very important lesson in life.  Though his family were generous people and gave to many needful projects and causes, Follow was ignorant to social activism.  As the only heir to this Father’s throne, he was highly protected and confined.  Some of his friends spent days on great missions and returned to the land with trophies of accomplishment and high respect for their humanitarianism.  Follow longed for that level of human engagement.  He prayed and asked his father to bestow on him just one opportunity to travel beyond their land to distribute unto the poor.  His father saw the hunger in the young man’s eyes and could not deny him his petition and so he sent him on his quest.

For months, Follow led a life much different from the kingdom privilege that he had known.  It was difficult at first to adjust to the threatening livelihood of the people in the poor country.  But the more time Follow spent with them, the more he wanted to save them.  And he wasn’t at all anxious to leave.

One dfolloway in the country, a young lady was working in the river to catch fish and Follow took notice of her.  He laughed to himself as she fell repeatedly in the mud after dropping her slippery prey and diving to retrieve it.  Fishing was hard but she seemed not to mind.  She was engrossed in her day’s work.  She never took notice of Follow standing nearby on the riverbank gathering reeds.  Each day after, Follow returned to the same spot along the river in hopes to see her again.  He gathered the nerve to ask her if she would allow him to assist her in gathering the fish.  Shy and ashamed of her muddy appearance before the disguised prince, she agreed to accept his help and told him her name, Love.  Many days passed that Follow met the girl at the riverbed day after day after day.  She rarely said a word as he spoke of nature and how beautiful it was and how he so enjoyed the days in her country.  Some days it rained and they continued in their work never seeming to mind the downpour.  At the end of a work day, Follow turned to the lady and pulled the dangling, muddy strains of hair from her face and tucked them gently behind her ears.  He lifted her chin up to his gaze and gently whispered, “what shall a man do to spend life with you?”.  She looked squarely in his eyes and replied, “he needs to give all of himself to LOVE.”  She took his hand and place it on her heart and cupped it under her hand.  Follow smiled and took her hand and kissed the center of her palm.  Knowing his time was ending with the young lady and the people he had come to adore, he said to her, “I am going away and I am coming back to you. If you love Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because my Father is greater than I.”  He left her there in the river. He knew what he needed to do.

Follow returned to his land and to his parents.  The countrymen were eager to know where the young prince had been and what he had done.  But Follow was eager to talk to his father.  He asked for a private meeting and told him of his journey.  When he finished his story of his time with the young lady, his Father had only one question. “What do you want to do son?”  Follow grabbed his father’s hands and cupped them in his own.  “Father,” he said, “I left my throne here in this kingdom and I found LOVE.  I denied myself for LOVE.  I have come to prepare a place for LOVE for where I am there she may be also.”

The young ruler’s time away was expected to mature him socially.  But this was astonishing news.  His Father was delighted that Follow didn’t return home disappointed and was overjoyed to hear Follow’s plans.  The ruler of the land understood that Follow could never be a leader of people without first giving himself to love.  Wonderful things happened in life because of Follow and Love.  Follow and Love married and had Flow.

As the rich young ruler learned in the Biblical parable of Luke 18, Follow discovered that he left the things of the kingdom for his own sake.  You leave not the things of the kingdom for kingdom’s sake, you leave your possessions for your own sake that you may possess more and life everlasting.  That’s LOVE!

Following is a faith thing.  Anything that requires faith, requires love to keep focus on the right things.

Follow.gif by Ben Stafford

What does love have to do with how and who you follow?  Share it with us in the comments.

Who do you choose to follow?

I have a new like.  It is not a love yet but I am beginning to like it very much.  I like Twitter.

You see I only joined Twitter a few months ago.  I joined the same time that I started this blog.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time in order to build a following.  I am learning along the way.  Initially, I only had about a dozen individuals and organizations that I follow on Twitter.  And although I had chosen to follow them, I wasn’t really paying attention to their Twitter feeds.  Many of those I chose were selected because “I like them.”  Last week, I joined the Twitter following of a role model of mine and I was skimming her page when I discovered a mystery.  (Let’s see if you can figure out who I am talking about?)  She is one of my most beloved women in leadership.  Her Twitter profile description simply says “Just a girl…with a sword.”   She has over 229K followers on her personal Twitter account and goes beyond with additional followers on her ministry account.  Yet, she only has 60 people that she follows.  As I browsed the people and organizations in her list, it was a very telling experience.  I would assume (though I may be wrong) that she only chose to follow people closest to her for those people in the Covenant 60 listing are family members, like-minded leaders in ministry and her favorite influencers/artists.  I wanted to Tweet her right away and ask “Why only 60?”

Girl with a sword’s Twitter page reminded me of a teleseminar I attended a little while back with The Christian Mompreneur NetworkTheresa Ceniccola advised the participants of that seminar to narrow your focus.   She said, “if you are listening to too many influencers, delete or unsubscribe.”  That was a key point in her message that day on Promises, Prayers and Practical Steps: How to Build a Business While Raising a Family.  What really struck me is that she offered each listener to “drop her” as an influencer if you didn’t feel that she was resonating with you and who God was using to help.  That was a humble and significant action step I thought Theresa shared that day.  And while I didn’t stick with her advice of only three influencers, I did delete some people and subscriptions out of my inbox that week because I realized that there is truth to “having too many people in our ears.”  Theresa’s advice was so meaningful to me because it helped me realize the intent of following isn’t just about “liking” or “connecting” as it appears in social media.  Social media has made following more about how many tags or rather tag-a-longs we can collect.  We need to reorient the act of following back to its definition and that is to pursue after, come after what or someone who proceeds you; accept the guidance, command, or leadership of.  Following also means to be guided by and move along the path of something or someone gone ahead of you.  The word “pursuit” really speaks to me because I truly believe that you should pursue what you love.  With that in mind, I have adjusted my followership to people, organizations or causes that I love.

I have chosen to apply the Covenant 60 rule to my Twitter page.  I am currently about half-way there.  I invite you to visit my Twitter page today.  As you browse through this small list of people and organizations I follow, you would learn about the music I love, that I am a student of leadership, I am up to date on local news, I advocate and root for family, education and female role models in ministry and I have friends.

As you read this blog post, please know that I am NOT judging your management style or use of Twitter.  Rather, I want you to take to heart the art of your pursuit.  The celebrity world is changing our mindset about followership.  Followership is defined as the reciprocal social process of leadership.  But we need to rid ourselves of the idea that you have to work to grow the number of people in that circle of reciprocity.  It is a covenant ring and you should use wise judgement in who you choose to invite inside the circle.

Are there any tips you have to choosing who to follow?  Share it with us in the comments.

It’s my birthday and these are my life’s lessons

I don’t shy away from telling my age.  I wouldn’t say I am proud of my age but I never want it said that I wasn’t thankful for the life God gave me.  I am thankful for my testistory (pronounced TEST-I-STORY).  I have had tests and it is all part of MY STORY hence the reason the “I” is in the middle. Nikki at the Beach

Today, I can truly say that I have been blessed.  I have learned a few things along the way.

MY LIFE LESSON #1: GOTTA LOVE YOURSELF to LOVE LIVING.

I am so thankful Momma taught me how to love myself.  She used to say that I was the most conceited young woman she knew.  But I tell you for sure, I know my love of Nikki has helped me to stand.  I truly believe that a strong love for who you are and who God made you to be, makes the difference in your attitude and pursuits in life.

MY LIFE LESSON#2: HEALTHY is HIDDEN.

I started gardening six years ago. While producing my own food has been substantially rewarding, it is what I have learned in the garden experience that has truly affected my perspective on life.  We walk around just like seeds that go into the ground.  On the outside, we look good, but what produces from the inside of that seed is really what we care about (or at least we should).  Our spirit is hidden to everyone except our Heavenly Father.  And if our spirit isn’t healthy, neither are we.  Many people today are unhealthy because they are spiritually anemic (a phrase Pastor Harold McPherson uses often).  Health is really a condition of your blood and spirit.  I have learned that even blood relationships can be viciously unhealthy because of years and years of hidden sickness in our families.  Just like those plants that grow from the seeds in my garden, the conditions that may cause them to yield plentiful, good fruit is what I have to work to maintain.   Good nutrition, good sunlight, and water.  A health coach once told me, “you have to watch what you put in you in order to stay fit”.  What is in you is hidden to the world but you need to tend to it.  When you do, you will be healthy.

MY LIFE LESSON#3: LOVE has a LOOK.

Some lessons grow on you and this one matured me this year.  Because the Bible says that love endures (1 Corinthians 13:7), we think that love bears even the unbearable.  Yes, broken hearts can be a part of God’s plan.  But intentional harm is never a part of His plan.   Mistreatment, malice, abuse, and deliberately inflicted wounds were bore on the cross of Calvary so that I DON’T HAVE TO TAKE IT.  When you accept harm as a condition of love, your picture of love is distorted.  The picture of love looks like an embrace, always, always, always.  And love consoles even the broken-hearted.  Embrace

MY LIFE LESSON#4: HISTORY and LIFE are two different things.

I learned to love history during summer school my junior year at the Naval Academy.  For the first time, in my life, I felt connected to the place in which I was born because Mrs. Knutson taught American History to me that summer.  For much of my life, I was thinking about my family’s history as a condition for which I based my decisions about living.  I realize now how flawed I was in that thinking.   History is past and life is present.  If I constantly live my life, looking on the past mistakes of my ancestors, I live in their shadows.  I will never carve out my own path because I am constantly trying to better theirs.  I think that is an unfair weight for anyone to bear.  History is good to know.  But it is just a reference.  It is not the road map.  If you put your history in front of you to direct you, you will never find your way.

These lessons have helped me navigate my journey.  They help me be a better wife, mother, and daughter.  They help me to live my life.  And ultimately in living my life, I pray my Heavenly Father is pleased.

Happy Birthday to Me.

Leave a note and share a life lesson with the birthday girl.