Monday, 11 June 2018

Why Love Demands That I Put Down My Chisel

It’s difficult. This thing called love.

It pulls me out of myself. Stretching me in ways that feel uncomfortable. Coaxing me to get up and help when I’d rather sit still. Then chiding me to remain still when I’d rather scream and shout.

It refuses to let me stay as I am, yet calls me to be the best ‘me’ only I can be.

But most of all it demands that I put down my chisel.

That’s the hardest part. The part that I struggle most with.

All along I thought that whipping out my chisel was just ‘tough love’.

I mean, I could see it so clearly.

I have this knack, you know, I can see the chink in my loved ones’ armor and more times than not, I know a way to fix it. So out of sheer love, (or so I tell myself), I reach for my handy chisel, and I scrape and cut, and pound and scrape, trying my best to smooth out the glaring flaw… trying to make them shine the way I imagine they could.  

Except, they resist. ‘Why don’t they see what I’m seeing?’ I think to myself. I know this is for their good. If only they would comply, they’ll understand too.

But when my chisel is out… you know all the subtle, yet unpleasant ways I have tried over the years to control what my loved ones say, do or even think…  when my chisel is out… my loved ones don’t feel much loved.

Rather they feel judged, condemned, less-than… quite the opposite from what I intend.

And I’ve been there, too. I’ve felt judged and misunderstood rather than fully loved, and I really don’t want anyone I love to feel that way.

So, why do I keep returning to my chisel? Keep trying to fit my loved ones into the perfect mold I’ve envisioned for them?

Love whispers to me. Oh, He has been calling to me for years. And He says to me, “Beloved, it’s not your job. You’re not called to fix; you’re called to love. It’s time to put down the chisel.”

But, I insist... walking around proud with my idea of love.

Yet, I’ve caught glimpses of what it can be like when I place my chisel on the shelf.

It feels right. And my loved ones feel it, too.

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, 
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

This weekend as my husband and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary it dawned on me that our best times have ‘magically’ coincided with those times we laid down our idea of love… with all its tangled strings of pride and fear…

Once again, I’m reminded that loving the way God intends blossoms intimacy, peace and growth.

In fact, our love... the way my husband loves me gives me a sweet taste of God’s rich love for us.

It’s a blessing I don’t take for granted.

One would think by now that I have it all figured out… that I would choose to remain in this circle of blessing…

But, no, I’m still tempted to pick up my chisel and fix him… perfect him…

But God keeps whispering…

Just as you are loved… you also ought to love.

And that, my friend, is where it begins…

The realization of this Love… this perfect Love… graciously bestowed on me by God, Himself… a Love that says I’m fully known, yet fully loved.

A love that empowers me, by God’s grace, to love.

Without God, I would remain powerless to love like this…

But God…

He continually pours into me… this love so rich and full… so undeserving… so freeing and empowering… that it enables me to put my chisel down...

And... experience this thing called love.

What about you?

What does it take for you to put your chisel down?   


Sharing today over at Ronja's GraceFull Tuesday Link-up!


  1. Carlie, thank you for this wake-up call. I, too, need to put that chisel down and simply love because Jesus loves me. Blessings to you, and Happy Anniversary!

    1. Thanks, Martha Jane; it's a wake-up call for me, as well, but God is so patient. Blessings!

  2. "When my chisel is out my loved ones don't feel much loved."

    I struggle here so much. God is showing me how to bring the things I see to Him and ask Him to help and reveal and excavate and restore. That frees me up to show love!

    1. Ah, Becky, the struggle is real. So thankful for a God who loves me despite it all and praying to share that love.

  3. Oh, Carlie ... I can relate to this so much! This is a great analogy ... I am going to try to remember your words when I am tempted to pick up my own chisel and fix the loved ones around me. Happy anniversary to you and your husband! :-)

    1. Thanks, Lois; I'm glad you can relate. Let's keep those chisels on the shelf, my friend. :)

  4. This reminds me of an Elisabeth Elliot story: Most women when they get married would say that they appreciate at least 80% of their husband's characteristics, but then they spend the remainder of the marriage focused on the other 20%. And that's when the chisel comes into use!
    Congratulations on your anniversary!

    1. Ah, Elisabeth Elliot, she's such an inspiration!Thanks for sharing her pearl of wisdom, Michele. And thanks for the anniversary greeting and for your continued support.

  5. Oh, my, you caught me red-handed (with my chisel in my hand, no less)!
    Carlie, you're so right about the lessons we can learn from the way God loves us. No chisel required. Just unconditional love!

    1. Thanks, Marv. 'Just unconditional love'... sounds so wonderful but so beyond our ability. But with God... all things are possible.

  6. Such a powerful reminder to focus on the good, live in gratitude, and simply love. Thank you, my friend!

    Blessings and smiles,

    1. Thanks, Lori. I so appreciate your encouragement. Blessings and hugs! :)

  7. Such a wonderful and thought-provoking article. Thank you for reminding us of what true love is.

    Abi x

    1. Thank you, Abi. It's such a pleasure to have you visit me here.


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