I Struggle With Love…

I do not love everyone.  I know I am supposed to love everybody, but I do not.  I am horrible at loving people.  The word “love” is so perverted in our culture.

If I could be a recluse, I would be.  It is really, really easy for me to choose that.

I used to not be like this, but the older I get, the more I see.  The more I see, the more jagged I become.

I know, I know, my blog says, “paint beauty with ashes”.  But that process to find beauty means also seeing the ugliness of life and being  honest about that ugliness in myself.  When I first became a Christian, this “love” that they spoke of was very foreign to me.  I knew love based on conditions.  I knew love based on performance.  I knew love that was used to gain things.  Selfless love? No.  Love that is not easily angered? No.

My spiritual barometer is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 when it comes to love.  And I have not figured this one out.  Every day I say this verse to myself and every day I know I fall short.

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude.  It is not self seeking, it is not easily angered.  It keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

It is hard for me to love because I am prideful.

I am just going to be honest.  Humility does not come easy for me.  I have fought my way back from some really big battles and there is a part of me that still fights every day.  And when you are in a fight, you fight to win.  Many times that transfers to me needing to be right about everything.

I recently have found myself convicted of this and I have come up with a solution.  I am learning that not everything needs a battle cry.  Not everything needs my opinion.  Not everything needs a win in my corner.  Sometimes, you lose to win.  For example, my husband can tune me out if I try to win at every conversation (and I have tried to do that a few times)  But, I am learning to say, “Okay.” And not go to battle.  “Okay.”  I do not have to win. “Okay.” I will not major in the minors.  “Okay.” I will save my energy for significance.  “Okay.” I do not have to be right all of the time.  And that has taught me humility which is the opposite of pride.  Humility is really, really, really, hard for me.  But, it is bringing me peace that I have never had before.

Selfless relationships take risk and time.

I struggle with having a servant’s heart.  Self-preservation is very important to me.  Self-preservation can keep me from having relationships.  And most days, I am really okay with that.  That is why my circle is close and small.

Nobody likes to be hurt.  I keep away from this by keeping relationships superficial and filled with laughter.  But, real relationships are filled with selfish people, myself included.  And in dealing with people successfully, there has to be a yielding of rights.  I put you first. I forgive you.   I put you first.  And if I am honest, saying, “I put you first.” and showing it consistently is such a struggle.

There have only been a handful of people in my life that have shown me this kind of love. It is easy to show love to these people when they give you this, it is another story to give this kind of love to others that have hurt you over and over and have a twisted way in which they “love”.  That is why forgiveness is such a big thing.

Forgiveness is HARD because EVIL people do exist.

The process of forgiveness is difficult and messy.  I am still trying to figure it out and have not been successful with it.  I love how people say; “Just forgive.”   I can forgive people when they ask and then we seek to change what caused the issue. (because it is never one sided)  Usually, both people need to work to resolve the issue.   But, what about when they do not?  What about people that never feel that they do anything wrong?  What about people that can only see things from their point of view?  Loving them is REALLY, REALLY hard.

I am learning that I can forgive people, but I do not need to have a relationship with them.  I can forgive the past.  There are some people that do better with me not being in their life and I do better with them not being in mine.  Reconciliation is not necessary for forgiveness.  I am trying to work my head around this as I struggle with forgiveness.

I look around at everyone posting hearts and love memes and I feel sick to my stomach.  I can’t tell others to love, I can only work on myself.  I can’t demand others to do something that I am not sure I am doing well.  I really have to look at myself and grow myself first.  How am I growing?  How am I loving?

Love is hard.  Loving well is hard.  Loving your enemies…even harder.  I can’t do it by myself.  If I want to love the way God asks me, I need a super natural source to help me do it.  I need His love to work through me in a powerful way.  I can’t look around and point my finger and accuse others of not loving when I can’t even get it right myself.

I am just going to pray and continue to grow in God’s love.  Because TRUE love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.


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