Friday, October 27, 2017

thinking about love

NOT the romantic kind so just calm down everyone. whew.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the love of God ... something that seems to be a recurring theme for me. Every few months, it pops up again, and every few months, I find myself going back to the basics of what love is, and why I don't deserve it ... and why God wants to give it to me, anyway.

This time around, I find my own flawed view of love challenged, because I tend to look at love as a see-saw. If I do something loving, I expect the person I love to do something loving in return, BEFORE I do something loving again for them. I picture love as something that fits into a pattern, plan, or cycle ... a give/take relationship ... and when someone screws with my system and doesn't treat me the way I think I deserve to be treated, I start withholding my love from them, too.

Some of this is out of self-righteousness or me sticking my nose in the air and waiting until I get what I feel I deserve, but a lot of it comes from fear.


that if I don't put my foot down and ask for it, I'll never get any love in return
that if I love with my whole self, I'll get hurt
that I'll be seen as needy or clingy if I'm too open with my affirmation

and so I do my best to maintain this balance, this steady back and forth of the see-saw, this order where my love fulfills a mathematical formula and always stays within the boundaries of what I deem to be socially acceptable.

But the longer this system just absolutely does NOT work for me, the more I realize that what I'm doing isn't really love at all. It's mostly just fear. 

Jesus doesn't love us like this. Jesus just loves us and loves us and the see-saw almost NEVER swings back in his direction, and He loves us anyway. He loves us enough not to give up on us or abandon us. He just loves us, end of story. No reciprocal action required.

This is very hard for me to understand.

I don't understand why someone would love me like this. I don't understand how I'm supposed to love other people like this. I just don't understand love at all, basically, is what I'm trying to say. But I was thinking about it today and realized that living to protect myself from getting hurt isn't working for me, either. The more I hold back and keep my mouth shut and refuse to love people because I'm afraid, the more stressed-out and tired I become. It takes a lot of energy to be afraid all the time. 

So here's to letting go and loving anyway. Here's to fearing less, and being open more, and accepting that it's okay not to understand. Here's to letting go of systems and see-saws, checks and balances, and just receiving the love that God has for me ... and then releasing it freely to the people around me. No more holding on with clenched fists.

This is what I've been thinking about love, lately ... it's an old conversation, one that I've been having with myself for years, and I always seem to end up here. Open my hands and receive - and then open my hands and release. Open, open, open. It's not a simple solution - it's something I still get wrong all the time - but it is a solution that brings freedom like I can't explain. When I disrupt the cycle of receive and release, everything in me gets thrown out of whack. When I relax and uncurl my fingers and start stretching myself out again, open-handed, everything begins to click back into shape.

I am so very loved. And I pass this truth on to you - you are so very extremely loved, too.

Thoughts and old struggles and new hope+forgiveness+freedom circling around my heart this week! How do you think about love? What part of the receive+release cycle do you get stuck on?



  1. Wowza, I need to meditate on God's love so much more than I do! The Lord's love is something I almost feel like I struggle to accept? Not just understand, but to truly believe on a daily basis that He could keep loving and keep forgiving me because my own idea of love is so flawed. Thank you for the refreshing reminder that despite us not showing Jesus love all the time, it doesn't dissuade Him. This reminds me of that verse, "Perfect love casts out fear." <3

    1. Same, same, same for me Erin! I totally do struggle to accept it because I'm so much more comfortable identifying as a sinner - grace isn't logical and it's not what I deserve and it doesn't make sense and I just .... agh! Forcing myself to meditate and accept forgiveness is so much harder than it sounds, but so much more necessary than I think. That verse is just perfect :)

  2. This is so important. I go through the same thought process in my brain all the time. Like, why is it so difficult and scary? Trying to love more like Jesus. <3 Thanks for the reminder, Olivia.

    1. It IS difficult and scary! And it's something I keep coming back to -- I get so stuck in this cycle, but in a good way? I think? Jesus is teaching me lots (I'm a slow learner...)

  3. Wow, this is so good. I've been realizing my own fear recently too - it's not something I feel like facing, but I don't want to stay controlled by fear. And then to realize the antidote to my fear is God's perfect love is overwhelming. Thanks so much for the reminder of His heart toward us. xx

    1. Fear is wild ... I don't want to face mine either! But you're right, it is SO much worse to stay controlled by it. I'm so glad you've been overwhelmed by God's love (even though sometimes it can be downright UNcomfortable). you are so welcome! He loves you more than you know!

  4. I've been realizing lately that even though I know God's love and grace is given to me for free, subconsciously, I still feel the need to earn it? There's somehow a disconnect. It influences how I love other people, too. It's not necessarily straight from love that I do things for other people and sacrifice my time, it's based on trying to earn God's love.

    I definitely do struggle with the 'now it's your turn to sacrifice your time/do something out of love for me' part, too.

    Love this post.

    1. ME TOO, MEAGHAN. This push to prove that I'm "worth it" is so hard to get rid of, and it 100% does influence the way I treat others! I'm right here with you. <3


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