Inspiration comes with many faces. When a mother kisses a baby’s nose and snuggles her close, we hunger for the beauty of face-to-face intimacy fueled by a pure love. In the hospice ward, an elderly man holds his wife’s hand and stares into her eyes communicating without words; our inner longing for deeper, selfless relationships is awakened. Week in and week out without fail, a granddaughter brightens the home of her elderly grandmother instead of going out with her friends; honor is an inspiring light. A friend comforts a BFF after a recent, embarrassing mistake; compassion awakens trust and hope. Similar rare moments of inspiration are all around us if we will but look and listen. Love lives on.

Love is the measure of an inspired life.

The ultimate measure of a life is the love shared with others. It is all about love working in and through us. The capacity to influence the world around us for good is found in God’s seed of love. The love and support of mentors, coworkers, family and friends also help propel us along in our love walk. “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” wrote Mandy Hale in “The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass.” If you are ever in a quandary between two choices, ask yourself, “Which one is the most loving?”

Without warning, we all face single moments of great risk, seasons of great change or even burdens of great ideas; each has the potential to inspire others and stimulate positive growth and change. In those moments, risking and sharing from the essence of who we are go hand in hand. When we choose to serve our family, neighbor, city or nation in spite of our own problems, the generosity of love motivates. When we choose to offer a hand of hope even while we are struggling, the beauty of sacrificial giving sparks trust.

Love inspires action.

Maya Angelou believed, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Acts of kindness impart honor and value in the midst of a busy, sometimes mixed-up world. I believe that every act of kindness stems from the love of God being made visible in the earth. 1 John 4:7a (MSG) encourages us to continue to love each other since love comes from God. As His adored children, His love is a limitless resource for us to receive, enjoy and co-labor with.

In times of natural disaster, hundreds answer the call to an extended season of serving that will test their mettle and fortitude. Such seasons cause uncommon faith to grow as the rescue workers face dreadful devastation. As they plunge into the mass of overwhelming human need, the love expressed by the volunteers embodies hope for tomorrow; their simple acts of care and service lift the spirits and stand as a witness to the good that still exists in the world. Every time kindness is put into action, love inspires.

Love transforms hearts and lives.

The number one human need is to be loved and accepted. Our positions, power and wealth are unable to meet the basic need of human connection and identity; however, love can meet this need and transform our hearts and lives. God breathes life-giving love into our heart to fill the void and change us from the inside out. We then have the choice to cooperate with the Creator as He remolds us into something beautiful with something appealing to offer to others. When we offer love and grace with outstretched hands, something magical happens: we know and become known. The step-by-step transformation to wholeness and freedom has begun. I recommend Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” books written for marriages, children and teens. His 5 Love Languages quiz available online can also reveal a lot about how you give and receive love.

Love inspires us to increase our reach and capacity.

“Others can inspire you, but ultimately the only thing that empowers you is what lies within you.” T. D. Jakes.

It is vital to guard what we listen to and watch because what we plant in the soil on our inner man will produce acts of selfishness or acts of kindness on the outside. The reach and capacity of our lives is greatly affected by the values and principles we bring to life. The amount of vision we carry determines the boundaries of our future. If our vision is firmly planted in a foundation of love, the boundaries of our future are never-ending and our reach and capacity naturally grow. The patience and affirmation of love will empower us forward in our journey. Love is the most inspiring gift of all.

Julie Court is a local author and motivational speaker, works part-time at Hope Gospel Mission and offers personal growth training for leaders. This article contains excerpts from her book, “Incredible Life Makeover,” which can be purchased on her website: NewLifeforToday.com.