We rightly think of love in relational terms – doing whatever is necessary to bring goodness and life to others. But relational doesn’t necessarily mean warm and fuzzy moments basking in each other’s presence. In fact, our work is often a practice of love even when it doesn’t seem directly connected to making others feel seen and cherished.
We were created to work. And there’s a deep satisfaction that comes with using our strength to make an impact for good. But this is not about making a name for ourselves. It’s our reasonable act of service – giving back to our communities and providing for the needs of our family.
To be sure, we can overextend and make an idol of our work – slaving daily to meet impossible expectations while allowing our bodies and souls to slowly die inside, and while also neglecting our relational obligations.
At times, we must intentionally choose rest rather than relentless productivity driven by fear, and relational presence rather than endless hours always trying to complete the next task.
All the same, we don’t have to deny our meaningful work as legitimate means to express love. Our blood, sweat, and tears are freely given so that others might have life. And our thankless night work to provide for our family is our way to serve them and meet their needs. This is love even when it’s not seen or given to grand emotional expressions.
It’s easy to feel like we’re never enough when our acts of love are not rightly seen or appreciated. And we might be tempted to give up our natural expressions of love through our work to conform to the more sentimental expressions. But this only invites bitterness and resentment to take root in our hearts.
In the end, learn to practice and express your love in as many ways as possible. And allow your work and the labor of your hands to also be a legitimate expression of your love for others.