So you're gently rebuking me? I asked.

"Yes," he said. "It's your personality to be extreme about stuff like this (retirement funds), and you've got to understand that not everyone sees it that way and there's wisdom in their planning too."

It's the same old story: I am incensed about some moral, ethical, or theological principle, determined to be as radical as possible in my adoption of another way, and absolutely unmoving in my principle. A conversation from yesterday: "So, Lore, you bought the iphone 4, even though you could have spent $30 more and gotten the 4S, just because you're determined to not have the newest model of anything?"

You see the insanity?

In the idiomatic I believe it's called cutting off your nose to spite your face.

This year has taught me a lot of grace, but it's mostly resulted in grace toward others and less grace toward myself. Because I feel the freedom of grace so much more, I feel free to be as selfless, boundary-less, guardless as possible. I'm baring myself to the world and all it's furling at me, taking it like a man. Or something.

And no matter how many people point out the idiocy of my fervor, I dig my heels in, more determined than ever to love wildly, freely, deeply.

Last night I sat in the car of someone who loves me and I dumped it all--my confusion, my heart, my determination to love as Christ loves and not as the world loves and how that is so counter-cultural that sometimes I even wonder if I've got it wrong. Shouldn't we do our best to cover, maintain, and nurture ourselves first?

"No!" she said, over and over again.

"If God has given the grace to love deeply and freely, to encourage fully and with abandon, do it! That's a gift from Him and not everyone has it."

Here is what I am learning about the Holy Spirit: if we are walking truly and closely to the Helper God gave us, we will be helped.

That's it, simply. That means that in times of confusion, I will be helped. In times where my love feels brittle, I will be helped. In times where my store of encouragement is low, I will be helped. In times where the world draws back, draws lines, draws the blinds, I move forward because I am helped.

And maybe that's not everyone's gift, but I think it is. I think if we're children of God, He said the Holy Spirit was there to teach us all things, to help us. I think it is our gift, but we're too busy scurrying around, sweeping up the messes, guarding hearts that aren't ours to guard, and setting up boundaries, that we forget that we have access to all things and a Helper to help us.

There are no exemptions or excuses when it comes to love in the Kingdom.

Maybe I'm foolish. I actually think I am.

I think the world looks at me, the church looks at me, maybe some of you look at me, and I certainly look at me and think "You're foolish and extreme." But I'm okay with that. Because my heart is surprisingly so okay. For all the lack of boundaries I have and lack of time I give to it, my heart is so okay.

    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
    By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.   (1 John 4:7-21 ESV)

You still have until midnight tonight to win one of my favorite books (and right now the odds are in your favor). Go for it, I promise if you win, you won't regret it.