(Video of this post is below!) It’s easy to live life constantly looking to be loved. I know, because I’ve done it. I’ve gone out of my way to be nice and do things for people my whole life. Now, that’s not a bad thing. It’s just that I’ve loved with the gumball machine mentality. Put the nickel in, get a gumball. I’ve loved, and then wanted someone to step up to the challenge of loving me back to the same extent that I have loved.
This has only left me feeling disappointed and resentful. Hooray for miserable me.
Imagine putting money in the offering plate at church, and then insisting that you find out exactly where those specific dollars end up. Or giving money to the homeless lady at the end of the freeway ramp, and then following her to find out what she spends it on.
I have been the king of loving with strings attached…so it’s no wonder why I have felt so entangled my whole life.
The other piece of my twisted love puzzle has been what I call Love Buts. “I love you, BUT I wish you’d change this about you…”
There’s a strange dynamic in the church that says “Love the sinner, Hate the sin.” This hasn’t worked…even though I’ve tried adapting it into my own life. I say I love another person, but I have to make sure they know that I don’t approve of a certain area in their life that I think is wrong, or unhealthy, or just plain dumb. This doesn’t make the other person feel my love. It makes them feel my disgust, and makes them never want to be around me.
I want to remove the Love Buts from my life. I want to risk loving someone too much, or too recklessly. I want to let go of my desire to change another person so that it’ll be easier to love them. What value is my love if I only surround myself with people who are easy to love? Sounds cheap to me.
I also want to love without expectations. I want to give to others without waiting and hoping to get something in return…and then resenting them (and myself!) when that doesn’t happen.
How can I do this? My breakthrough will come as I continue to acknowledge how much I’ve been given…and how much I am constantly being given. Gratitude will be the sword I yield against my temptation to love with expectations.
But more importantly, I’m growing in the awareness that God’s love for me is completely unconditional. He’s not waiting for me to clean up my act, or get things in order. He’s simply and gracefully waiting for me to run into His arms, resting in His love, and trusting in the knowledge that I can’t do a thing to change that. That rest…the acceptance…that letting myself be loved, is the only thing that will allow me to love anybody else. How about you? What has held you back from being loved. Today’s the perfect day to turn the corner and make a move in the right direction.