Several weeks ago, I made a mistake. I got impatient with the way my life was. I got impatient with someone. I wanted more than I was being given and I was exhausted from being in a season of want and wait for years. I word vomited and immediately regretted it. These things happen. However, like all things of this nature, once it was “out there” I could not pull it back. It has been weighing on me ever since.
Have you ever made a mistake and said or written things that you wished you could take back? Have you ever let the ugliest parts of you be seen and it was not received very well and everything seemed irreversibly different since then? Have you ever wished for more, longed for more, dreamed of more, and felt the ache of that longing? Have you ever felt misunderstood or have you ever misunderstood someone else?
Have you ever not loved someone as well as you should?
I have been thinking so much about love lately.
I have a family that can’t seem to love each other longer than a few days.
It feels hopeless.
I have friends who I love with my entire being and who love me back right where I am for exactly who I am.
It is beautiful and precious.
I have a husband who I try to love so very well, but because we live together I
often make mistakes or say things I wish I could take back.
Thankfully, he makes mistakes too and we both try to be intentional about
forgiving each other every single time, no matter what.
I have friends with completely different love languages than me.
It is a struggle to remember that others give and receive love differently than I do
and I fail often to allow them to love me in their own way.
I have people I could love so much better than I do.
Jesus, help me love like you do.
You see….my struggle sometimes is that love is so entirely sacrificial and can, therefore, become so entirely unbalanced by either party. Yet the sacrifice requires a gracious heart that endures the imbalance and loves others anyway.
A lot of people make a big deal about “boundaries” and “setting expectations” so that they don’t get taken advantage of. I agree with this in part and then disagree with this as well. If someone is being abusive to you, then absolutely you should set up boundaries and distance yourself from them. You are precious and under no circumstances do you deserve to be verbally, emotionally, mentally, sexually, or physically abused.
However, I disagree with setting boundaries just when you don’t get what you feel is owed to you – what you feel you deserve. Grace, love, and mercy are given to you freely without you having to do anything to earn them. You don’t deserve them. You’re not owed them. They’re just yours when you agree to receive them. Christ laid down his life for the people who mocked and scourged him. They rejected him and he gave. Grace is relentless and unwavering.
I LOVE this C.S. Lewis quote that so encapsulates the sacrificially loving and patient heart of God towards us:
Do you know what 1st Corinthians lists as the 1st attribute of love?? Patience.
Love is patient.
Love waits for people.
Love waits for the reward, even if it will only come after this life has faded away.
Love is gracious and understanding when people don’t love you well.
Love is being patient with yourself when you fail to love people patiently.
Love is beginning each day with a heart that CHOOSES to remain open, humble, loving, and hopeful.
Love doesn’t give up on people just because they’re not meeting your expectations.
Love isn’t demanding.
So today, I will choose to be patient with others and with myself.
I will pray to become more patient. More gracious. More understanding of others. More willing to wait.
I will wait in hopeful expectation for deeper intimate friendships, for family peace, for the child I long to hold in my arms, for the day when I will see my Granny once again, and for the coming of the One who can settle all the turmoil and chaos of longing in my heart with just one glance of His eye. I will choose to love despite my shortcomings and despite the shortcomings of others. I will not lose heart even though that would be so very easy to do. I will not waver in my faith even though the circumstances around me mock me with their unmet expectations.
I will try my best, despite my failings, to love patiently through His strength as He enables me to give this gracious, patient love to others even when I feel depleted and empty. I will give all of me and He alone will fill me.