I’ve been thinking a lot about love this week. I’ve always been a thinker and I know I promised to get back to sharing my thoughts with you all (aside from the many product reviews) so here we are! 😀
My husband knows that I feel very deeply. At some point before beginning our dating relationship, we were joking about something and I recall saying to him, “I’m mean, I am anti-social, and I don’t like people.” To which he quickly replied, “No you’re not. You really love people, but you’ve been hurt a lot.” We’d been friends for about a month, but he had been paying attention!
Since my husband’s grandfather passed, some of my friends have checked on me every day. There are others who I haven’t heard from at all. These others are the same people who often call or text when they need encouragement, words of prayer, are in a crisis, etc. — so yeah. That’s not a good feeling.
I’ve experienced this feeling before, but this week I really worked on trying to process the frustration that I experienced along with it (I alluded to this in my previous blog post).
It really comes down to this: I realize that there are some people who do not love me the way that I love them or return to me the type of love that they expect from me — It’s a one-sided love. They often ask me to be present for events or for prayer/support/encouragement, but don’t offer me those same courtesies.
I wondered if they ever stop to consider if I needed those things too (because I do). Having studied the 5 Love Languages, I understand that not everyone expresses love in the same ways, but I still become puzzled when dealing with individuals who can receive love/acts of love, but who consistently fall short in returning it to those they receive it from (In other words, why do I always get the short end of the stick from the same people?).
I share this, not to put anyone on blast, but because I think we all have moments when we feel this way and this can lead to feelings of anger or bitterness if we don’t process and release those feelings in a constructive way. For me, that release comes through prayer journaling. Much of my “lack of weeding” has been due to the fact that I’ve slacked on my journaling routine.
I was writing in my prayer journal today and ultimately, my prayer is that my heart would not become bitter or jaded towards these individuals. I even challenged myself to go a step further. I wondered how many times I made God feel as if my love was one-sided.
I considered the number of times I’d prayed, only to ask for one thing or another– never to just thank Him or ask how His heart felt with the many crises going on in the world or how I could be His hands and feet in the Earth that day. That gave me some real perspective.
I cannot concern myself with the actions and behaviors of others. The truth is– I don’t know what they are going through or what challenges they may be facing. We all have struggles- we all deal with grief, disappointment, etc. and we all juggle competing demands.
There are only so many hours in a day– Maybe they intended to reach out and the day slipped away from them. Maybe they never thought of me. Either alternative is ok because I know I am on the heart and mind of God (and so are you).
What I can do is change my expectation. I can only accept people by their actions. I know who I can look to for support in hard times– I have seen those individuals that will lift me up without being asked and I thank God for them. I don’t know why those who aren’t present choose to behave that way. I can, however, continue to walk in love and extend grace and keep my heart pure.
These are also instances when I am reminded that we are to trust God and seek refuge in Him above all else. NOT friends, NOT spouses, NOT family, NOT our pastors, counselors, etc. Man will always fail us in some way, shape, or form. God has given us these various people as resources, but they are not THE SOURCE.
I pray this is an encouragement for you this evening. If you find yourself in a similar situation, please know that you are not alone and God is faithful to carry you through. His love is never one sided and we should work diligently to ensure that we follow His example.
Scriptures to Meditate On:
Proverbs 18:24 (NLT) There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
Matthew 7: 15-20 (NLT) The Tree and Its Fruit “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT) Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.