Love is changing me. Love is causing me to grow and changing the way I see life. And you know what? It’s not all roses and rainbows, in fact it kind of hurts.
I know what you’re probably thinking: I must be in love. I’ve found someone who’s captured my hearts’ affection in my personal journey towards love.
I’ll address that possibility later on in this blog… maybe. 😉
My thoughts on this topic are way too vast for a single blog entry. So I’ll probably do several follow ups. 🙂
First, I’ll tell you about the attitude I use to carry in my search for love; an attitude that many of us continue to carry as we navigate relationships.
I used to approach romantic relationships from a selfish perspective. I wanted someone who would make me feel good about me. Someone who would affirm me, love me and make me feel secure in all the ways I didn’t. Essentially I was looking for someone who would save my hurting soul from itself.
I think a lot of people can relate. We hope to find someone who can fix the hurting parts of our souls. We don’t voice this aloud but it’s in our un-conscious desires, our secret longings. Most men love being with women who make them feel safe as well. They choose a woman who will make them feel like a man but never really challenge them to be one.
What I’ve learned is that:
Love requires growth. Love involves risk. Love is not safe.
Think about it, it’s risky to love someone; you never know what they will exactly do with your heart. When you love someone it kind of gives them power over you because they can determine the outcome of what they do with your affection. We don’t like feeling powerless and we’re all afraid of rejection and hurt so we hold back, sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot. People even do this on their wedding day. “I’ll marry you, but I’m keeping this part of me to myself (my past, my heart, my love) for safekeeping. Never to be opened again by anyone… not even God.” This is the attitude a lot of people carry to the altar.
And when you think about it God’s love, doesn’t always seem safe either. God loves you into eternity, but haven’t you endured numerous hurts in your life? Doesn’t your everyday life involve a certain amount of risk? Loving God involves risk and doesn’t mean you will have a carefree, fairy-tale life.
And it’s the same way when you love another human being. Single friends let me tell you something and hear me clearly: even when you get married to the love of your life that person will eventually in some way or another hurt you. Just because you get married doesn’t mean you won’t hurt anymore, in fact I dare to say that that’s where you will sustain some of your deepest hurts. Marriage was not created to fix you, your past or any childhood wounds.
We all (including myself) try to create the safest life possible for ourselves. I think it’s man’s way of constantly trying to redeem himself. We all have things we do to protect our self-esteem, ego and ultimately our hearts. It’s understandable. All of our hearts have been injured in some way or another; dating relationships, family wounds, disappointments, etc. So we devise ways of protecting our hearts, so we won’t shed any unnecessary blood.
But the problem with that is that we wall ourselves in. We don’t love to our fullest capacity. As a result we wall others out and we still feel incomplete.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” C. S. Lewis
I love that quote. 🙂
Recently I had a chance to practice love in a dating relationship. Though the relationship didn’t work out and I did have to deal with my share of heartbreak I am thankful for the experience. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t do as good a job with loving this other person as I would have liked to. And I learned a few things.
I learned how selfish I can be with my time. Being single for so long will do that. I learned how I don’t always speak the truth in love, even though I do a great job of it in my writing. I learned I have my own self-protective ways. As I reflect on the recent relationship that ended I see some opportunities that I can grow in. 🙂
There’s no doubt about it; emotional intimacy takes time to build. I’m not advocating rushing a dating relationship by any means to hurry and build a false sense of intimacy. But don’t stay stuck in old non-productive habits either.
All love requires risk. There is no safe way to love. Jesus wasn’t safe. You never knew what you were going to get when you were around him, sometimes a sharp answer that pierced through hearts like a sword, sometimes a gentle response, sometimes a confusing parable and sometimes no response, just an action of scribbling in the dirt.
Ultimately His love required His death. I don’t think any of us are facing situations that will cost us our lives. And that’s a whole ‘notha level of love that I know nothing about! (Can’t say I want to either!)
Friends what I am saying is this: if you’re going to love you will get hurt. It will require sacrifice. Effort. Things that don’t feel pleasant to your flesh. But life in itself is a risk! An adventure waiting to be lived! Not a safety net we continually build for ourselves.
Won’t you take that risk? In your family? In your community? Church? Marriage? Friendships? There are really no limits on who we can love. 🙂
Love you guys! Kisses and hugs!