So if you read my last post, you’re familiar with the idea of “bloom where you’re planted”, which was recommended to me by my personal & business mentor. Specifically, to be an encourager. This isn’t something that comes to me naturally. Like at all. And because of that, I’ll be sharing things periodically that have been my biggest obstacles to overcome. (and some I still work on daily) I know in my heart that these things aren’t by coincidence. Forgive my vagueness with these posts, as some of the details aren’t mine to share, for now. Oh, and one last thing – please don’t take any of it as “preachy” or holier-than-thou. I am far from a preachy girl. Most days, I totally don’t have it together. So dear Lord, take these ramblings & make them something useful to help others & lead them to lean on you. Amen.
Ahhh. The “L” word. L-O-V-E.
How many different adjectives can you think up that explain love? For me, the first things that come to mind aren’t even good things. (I’m still working on training my brain). Awkward, painful, manipulative, boundaries. The good ones: patient, forgiving, forever, boundaries, marriage, friendships. You see, love isn’t just any “one” adjective or emotion. It’s all. the. things. Sometimes it’s all at once. But we try so hard to put them into this impossible, lusty box society has told us is the way it is, how and who to love.
Throughout the last 18 months, I have put myself out there by meeting new people, sharing my business, trying to create and foster relationships. The growth has been, well…interesting. I always have one person that I know, but I don’t “know-know” that always tells me “aww…I just LOVE you” when we say goodbye. It’s always awkward for me, and I feel a slight cringe-smile creep across my face, and a mumble of “thank you” escapes my lips. But, in my short-ish life here on earth, I’ve inadvertently hardened my heart because of people, because of experiences. Like you (and don’t even try to tell me you haven’t), I’ve been jaded. I have realized that there is even false love (the kind with fear, guilt, manipulation & threats). Don’t get me wrong, I have made my fair share of mistakes. And with a large (ok, colossal) amount of fear (the F word) that I allowed others to project upon myself, I haven’t allowed myself to fully love others and vice versa. I’ve spend the better part of a year hiding, in false fear, in false guilt, and most of that time I let fear convince me I am not worthy of giving or receiving love. I mean, how could people love me if they know my past transgressions, the things I’ve said or the things I have thought. I’ve essentially cheated myself out of love. Does this sound familiar?
But you know what, y’all? There is light. There IS love. I happen to know a guy that loves us no. matter. what. No matter what we’ve done, what we’ve said, just simply no matter what. And you know what else? He didn’t put us here to live in fear. He knows your true potential despite your set backs & he wants you to do well in life despite the world being against you. And just maybe if we allowed ourselves and others a little more grace, a little more forgiveness – we could soften our hearts to experience true love. Not lusty, Hollywood love. But true, meaningful, deep down in your heart kind of love. And I’m working on it.
I’m trying to focus on the kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Skip past the part about clanging gongs & symbols & jump down to 2-7. Y’all. Love it what it’s all about, this life. Sharing just a fraction of the love God has so generously given & gives us on a daily basis. That love that we overlook because we’ve got our side-blinders on focusing on all. the. other. things. All the bad things.
We can’t let our hearts grow bitter. We can’t be so focused on the negative and what he said or she said or they did that we miss the opportunity to share that same love. We can’t shut everyone & everything out. We just can’t, y’all. I mean, how terrible would it be if God did that to us? There would be no hope. I can give you a million reasons why he should shun us, but he doesn’t. I mean, just watch the news at any point during the day, or pull up Facebook. I picture this big, warm face with this closed mouth smile, crows feet crinkled around his eyes, his head shaking sideways slightly disapprovingly, with his hand outstretched as if to say, you can stop acting a fool now, take my hand, let me handle it. He still loves you. He still love me. He still forgives when we’ve asked for forgiveness & repented. And with that comes peace.
So if you’re reading this today, ask yourself which of these applies to you? Do you need to accept someone’s apology? Maybe you need to apologize. Maybe you need to ask forgiveness with God, and pray for peace over the situation. I urge you to take action with one of the three. And then go, and share your story. Someone, even if it is only one, will resonate with your story, and you can use that story for the greater good.
P.S. Clearly, I’m no therapist. And we’ve all got our own share of things going on in our lives, and there is no one-approach-fits-all-problems solution. Here are some really great resources covering some of things that could be affecting your life & those around you based on some of the current situations within our network of friends, co-workers and family.
For help with general “life” questions, I recommend speaking with a mentor, pastor, or therapist. The Bible is always a good reference.
Domestic Violence Help Hotline 800-799-7233 (more info here about healthy relationships)
Obviously, there is some bad situations out there that are so far gone or harmful to you or your loved ones that it may be in everyone’s best interest but to love that person(s) from afar. This is really hard stuff. If you would like a list of books I have read & recommend, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org