So I’d asked myself, those twenty years ago [as my journal of that date reminds me], “If you were one of the churches of Revelation 2-3, which would you be?”


Which description did I recognize immediately as…
“Oh, that’s me! O, woe is me”?

The first one.

Ephesus. The exhausted, overburdened, yet persevering one, laboriously pressing on, getting all that growing mountain of stuff done, zealous for truth and righteousness and worthy accomplishments and good ole Yankee work ethics (before Yankees existed).

Yep, that was myself at that time in my life, for sure.

That might look noble, but it isn’t, not out of balance like that. Just take a gander at what it can lead to: “You’ve left your first love.” Wow.

Ongoing exhaustion, or sideline preoccupation, can do nasty things in one’s life, especially to relationships. It was killing the Ephesians’ relationship with the Lover of their souls!

Likewise with mine!

I’ve heard this verse, Revelation 2:4, misquoted often. So let’s get this straight (I emphasize to myself): It doesn’t say “ You have lost your first love.” It says “you have left” it!

Left, as in wandered away. Strayed off from. Drawn aside, then down the embankment!

I’d gotten sidetracked, long-term. I’d been trying, trying, to “do it all” and a little more besides, to be the perfect homestead wife and home school mom and Christian woman and helpful church person and house remodeling co-worker and… all the rest of it. And I knew my love for Christ wasn’t gleaming like it once had.

I don’t know that I recognized overwork and overemphasis on accomplishments as a crucial factor at the time. Merely cutting down on work(s) wouldn’t have solved the love problem anyhow. I just knew my experience of God was not what it had been.

But I didn’t know what to do about it.

So I kept asking God, in desperate cries, “What should I do? What should I do?”

Why wasn’t He answering? I felt hopelessly tangled in my quadruple-knotted life.

Actually, He was answering all along.

I don’t know how long it took me to look more closely at the convicting passage and see the simple three-part answer right there, in verse 5:

  1. “Remember from where you have fallen,”
  2. “Repent” (Do a U-ey)
  3. “And do the first works” (which several translation versions interpret as “do the things you did at first”).

Here’s where my journal of the time picked up, pondering these instructions, and looking back to the beginning of my life in Christ:

What did I do at first?

It’s interesting what I didn’t do: I didn’t go to church [I didn’t have one yet] (although I did go to Al Anon when I could, and knew some Christians there). I didn’t manage a rigid discipline of the externals of my life: time schedules, money-in-envelopes, rigid Bible study deadlines, etc. I didn’t have a formal “ministry,” nor was I involved in one.

What I gave, whether money, encouragement, intercessory prayer, or “a word from the Word,” sprang “spontaneously” from a motivation within me, there because of the presence of God—“the love of God shed abroad in [my] heart.”

What did I do that I don’t do now? Let’s see. I think I spent more private time in exclusive fellowship with God (Even [as a single parent] with a toddler, I found time). I kept a journal which recorded heart’s prayers, attempts at learning and following God’s way, and insights and promises from His word.

I looked to Him for strength and guidance—a lot. And I spent time in His wordnot covering someone’s Bible study, but savoring the beauty of each gem of wisdom and truth I plucked from that vast treasure chest…

Something else I learned to do back then: praise God when things were going “wrong,” thank Him in and for everything.

So there you have it: Looking back showed the way back, and little by little, as I started  making places for the “first deeds” again, love “came back,” too, shining lovely.



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11 thoughts on “When You Think You’ve Lost your Love

  1. Thank you, Sylvia, for your honesty and this good reminder. It’s so easy for us to leave but He welcomes us back with open arms!

    1. The scary thing is, Lynn, that we can be “leaving” or “have left” and not realize it. I don’t think anyone who would have looked at my life at that time with all its “Christian activity” and “Christian focus” would have thought that I had “left my first love.” It’s truly a hidden inward, personal thing. So I think we need to stop often and assess this very important issue. Because, yes, there He is, arms open, waiting for us to turn our first focus and love back to Him! What grace!

  2. A very good thing to read on my first day home after leaving my job as Pastor’s secretary…. I am loving extra time in His Word and joyful about blessing/cleaning my home (really) but I am tempted to create a rigid schedule to “justify” being at home (!) and worry about the budget… I need to make sure I keep first things first.

    1. I thought I’d hear from you on this one! (Sisters, aren’t we?) And the timing is perfect, isn’t it? (which kind of thing God does all the time, as we can see once we make paying attention a priority!) But it’s also perfect timing for this comment of yours to come into this discussion and enrich it. In it you said a very important pen-ful! I think that drive to “justify” being at home, or not constantly rushing around doing very visible things, is what got me to the state I was in, as revealed in my journal, above. But to whom are we trying to justify what we’re doing? Where did the standards come from that drive us so? Jesus? I don’t think so! Even the OT Law (or maybe even the Pharisees’ added “traditions”) didn’t require the demands we put on ourselves. All my thoughts about this are making me want to go on and pursue this topic more deeply here on the blog–because a lot of us need freedom like the kind Christ said would set us free! God willing and aiding, more coming up soon!

  3. Sylvia- I am really noshing on these words of yours! Such good reminders and insights…leaving vs. losing…I never really noticed that before…and the insights of going back to see what works you did at first…hmmm…more “work” for me to consider. Peace-Kel

    1. What helpful back-and-forth we’ve been having lately, Kel–at least it’s that for me! I’m thinking of the scripture that encourages us to encourage one another… (gotta go look it up…) Ah, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (I was reading 1 Thess this week) “Encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” I’ve got so many good thoughts to think about and prompts to journal about, I wish I had a magic wand that could give me the time to do it all. Hmm.

      1. Sylvia- Yes, we are doing just that encouraging one another and building each other up with the love and creativity of Jesus’ heart toward us…looking forward to reading more of what the Spirit prompts over here at the Sylvr Pen!

  4. This exact problem is what drove me to start my blog years ago and more recently to write a book about God’s love! So many believers fall into the busy busy-ness of working FOR God when He did not even ask them to when they first met. The first meeting was all about love and communion and worship in most cases. Then we find ourselves working to earn what we already have don’t we?
    I loved this post so much and it is a great way to end our RJD!

    1. Thank you, Susie, for this very encouraging affirmation.
      That is so true for me that in the beginning His great love for very imperfect me (quite a mess at the time!) was the running theme of our newborn relationship–that and me taking the wildly courageous step of trusting Him for all I needed when I wasn’t courageous at all, yet oh so needy! I knew I didn’t earn any of it–because I couldn’t do much of anything that would even look like earning it (no money, resources, affiliations, or even discernment yet!) I wish I could pinpoint how I ended up so over-my-head in the non-essential.
      I don’t think I was trying to earn His love, but maybe repay it (and how can you repay anything that huge?) And I did want to honor Him by how I lived and what I did.
      But I think most of the cues I was acting on were actually coming from what *people* might expect or deem good or judge lazy or bad. I wouldn’t really have called myself a people pleaser, but I was so “conscientious” I was an easy mark for people users!
      A favorite quote of mine speaks of how interesting it is that people can manage to make you feel so small, yet God, Who is so big, doesn’t. (Better said in the quote, but I don’t have it at hand. You get the idea.)
      Blessings to you on your new book. I’ve got to check this out!

  5. Oh, I love the Book of Revelation…when I was a new believer I was at a wonderful church which went into such a series on the churches (and the book of Revelation) and their individual issues and God really prepared me for a lot that was to come as I walked in time with Him…and what to be careful of…I can still hear in my memory and mind the fiery preaching and teaching which set my heart ablaze…oh, that I might not forget the significance and importance of God’s word to the churches…to us all, through His Word eternal as revealed and kept throughout the ages. THank you for being here- I am sorry RJD will not be…but I promise the journey has only begun…please stay connected, I so appreciate your portion! I am grateful for you and your sharing. 😉

    1. Oh, never fear, Dawn, I definitely plan on keeping connected! Looking forward… 🙂

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