Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hard Lessons

I guess any lesson worth learning is worth a little pain. It doesn't seem that anything comes easy. No matter how much you read about a topic, it is really a whole new ball game when the rubber meets the road.

I've always known that we are supposed to love everyone. That if we are in Christ and we accept His grace we, in turn, must be gracious towards others. The concept is there, it always has been. But what do you do when you're actually faced with it? What do you do with a broken heart when you love someone who doesn't love you in return?

Over the past few months, I've learned such a valuable lesson about this. It hasn't been easy but, now, seeing the truth laid before me and honestly accepting what is, I am beyond thankful for the lesson in all of the heartache.

I can't be very specific but there is someone in my life that just does not acknowledge my existence. Someone I love very much but, for various reasons, has decided that their life is better without me in it. While it even hurts think that, I am learning what it means to truly love somebody. Love is a gift. It is a gift that has been bestowed upon me my whole life. There has never been a day in my life where I really felt I wasn't loved by my family, my true friends, by God. I know that I am blessed. I know that there are some people who never really get to feel that kind of love from others. But, love is a gift that must be given without strings attached. This is where it gets tricky.

As humans, we tend to expect something in return for anything we give, be it love, money, gifts, time, patience, or talent. We think that we are owed something, especially if we go out of our way to help someone or extend grace in one form or another. I remember the first time I was scolded by a great aunt because she never received a thank you card from me. I was stunned. Of course it is common courtesy to extend thanks but it really made me reevaluate the whole gift giving and receiving thing. Isn't a gift something you give without expecting anything in return? Oh, it is if you're the receiver do we really feel when we are the ones giving without receiving anything in return? Are we really giving out of true grace? Or is there an underlying motive?

MOTIVE. That has been the driving catalyst in my latest epiphany. What am I expecting in return by extending love to someone who, for all practical purposes, wishes I would just drop off the face of the earth. If I send a "Merry Christmas" text or a "Happy Birthday" wish, am I expecting a response? Or, am I really truly ready to open up my heart, expose a wound and allow God to be the ultimate healer. This means that I have to be willing to be vulnerable. I can't walk around with a wall around my heart to keep from being hurt. It means I have to be willing to do what the spirit leads me to do without thought of myself and how it might hurt. You know, saying "I love you and miss you" to someone who will probably make fun of those sentiments or find that you're motives are probably evil and that you're just trying to stir up contention. I wondered about my motives but the spirit whispered to me, "what if you weren't here tomorrow to say that? What would you regret more, saying I love you and having it squashed, or never having said it knowing that you really do?" So my choice was suddenly clear. TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM. Tell them that you miss them dearly. Tell them that you're reminded of them in your dreams and in your daily walk. It doesn't matter if they ever acknowledge that you said a word. It doesn't matter that they don't love or miss you. YOU are responsible for your words, your actions, your motives. Once a gift leaves your hands and is in the hands of the recipient, it is up to them what they do with it. If I expect something in return, it wasn't really a gift to begin with. HARD LESSON.

Rodney mentioned the word "closure" today and it occurred to me that I just really don't need closure. God is the Ancient of Days and there is coming a day when there will be ultimate closure. There will not be one loophole left open or one wrong not righted. Everything will be made new and nothing that we've endured on the earth will have been for naught. The only thing I need to do is love. I get to love everybody. I don't have to make a list of qualifications and choose who makes the cut and who doesn't. What an exhausting and daunting task that would be. I'm free, free to love even those who hate me.

I can't tell you what this has done to my heart. How it has set me free from worry and anxiety. It still hurts when I know I'm being made fun of or that someone I love doesn't want to even see me or talk to me. But I believe that pain is part of the process of growing spiritually. If I'm truly going to let God have his way with my heart, there will be some pain involved. To get rid of all my human pride will require the ripping away of some things that were keeping me bound down. I believe God. I believe Him to do what He says He will do. Even when I'm scared and I don't  understand why...I believe.

So, if you are hurting or if you are questioning whether or not to tell somebody you love them...tell them. If you're going to get hurt by saying it, say it anyway. Love them anyway. Expect nothing in return but get ready for a lightening in you soul and a freedom in your heart.

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