This week when I couldn’t get a hold of my dad, I reached out to my brothers to see if they had heard from him that day and they hadn’t. My dad calls each of us about every day and he’s done that for years and years, so I had a friend of his go and check on him. Turns out he was just taking a nap (which is unusual for him). He called and thanked me for caring and shared that he had been struggling with sadness which had caused him to withdrawal. He was grateful that I had tracked him down.
Also this week, my youngest sent me a rather sarcastic text about something he needed, to which I wanted to reply, “Sorry kid, wrong number.”
But you know what? Both my dad and my son are on my pursuit list.
In 2019 I did emergency disaster certification with a group called CRI (Crisis Response International) and one of the instructors challenged us to identify the people whom God has put in our lives to care for in a natural disaster situation. His list included family members, close friends and an elderly couple in his neighborhood. As I was thinking of the faces of the crew in my tribe, a broader question came to mind, “Who has God entrusted me to pursue with all of my heart?”
You see, every heart wants to be sought after. We all have a desire to be loved “no matter what,” and I truly believe that one of our jobs/gifts as human beings is to be consistent in our pursuit of the hearts of those people God has put on our list.
The greatest example I’ve had of this in my lifetime was my mom pursuing my dad’s heart when my dad wanted nothing to do with our family. I think I’ve mentioned this before in one of my posts but while my dad was living the bachelor life, my mom would make him an extra plate from dinner every night and leave it in the fridge. He would often come home late so he could avoid us (he was sleeping in the basement) and every time he opened that refrigerator door, a plate of food would stare him down. It was her message to him that she was choosing love…somehow getting the strength from God to set aside her anger and hurt and show him that she cared. I know that was so hard for her but it was the thing God used to get to my dad’s heart and he still talks about it today.
Often, I extend or withhold love based on someone’s behavior, putting it in a category as either deserved or not deserved. With my son this week I was thinking, “This kid needs to know that people aren’t going to help him if he acts that way.” There is definitely truth to that statement and I will talk to him about his tone and how his text came across. But that night I took the time needed to articulate a kind response because he’s on the list of people I choose to love unconditionally. He needs to know that I will pursue him even when he’s being difficult.
That’s how God loves us. He pulls us in when we are angry and frustrated. He tracks us down when we avoid Him. He waits patiently when we get absorbed in the busyness of life.
Who’s on your list? Next time one of those people pushes your buttons, take a moment to remember that you have been entrusted to pursue (chase down) their heart. You are the one who has been given the privilege to love them…no matter what.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.