falling in love for reals

no one has ever fallen in love with anyone because they made them feel like crap. they fall in love because – through someone else – they are able see their worth in the sacrifices the other is willing to make on their behalf.

growing up, i had to listen to two hours of radio sermons daily, four hours of television sermons every saturday night, along with that was church attendance and mandatory “family” bible study. i heard a lot about how ugly and sinful we are as people. i was shamed for what i wore, how i looked, for talking to “worldly” people…my motives always seemed to be wrong. i could never do enough right.
now, i understand my upbringing was abusive and extreme, but a lot of people are raised to “love” christ with the threat of hell and punishment pressed against their temple if they don’t. they are pushed into this rat race of doing and studying and plugging in somewhere. and when they do fail, grace is unknown to them for some reason. it’s as if we didn’t know how to fall in love with Him in the first place. that’s been my struggle. for some reason, we have the insatiable need as formerly broken/newly restored little creatures to torment the hell out of ourselves when we do wrong. because we deserve it. we suck. God knows it, the past proves it, and that’s all anyone truly expects from us. and when good comes, when love reveals itself true, we want to push it away. we want to run and hide and prove we don’t deserve it.

i wish i knew why. i look into me and see all the ugly. i know all those deep, dark secrets about myself. i can’t forget all those terrible things I experienced. i still wake up in the middle of the night because of nightmares. i see all my contradictions. i know who i am, and that’s why it’s so hard to love myself. people can say it, but they don’t see what i see or know what I know.

but God knows. He sees, and it’s not what i see. and lately, that’s all i can think about. He loves me always, unchanging, even at my lowest. i’ve been praying for others in my life to know His love when i myself have the same struggle in accepting it. it’s funny how it is.

i’m sure it’s all just a matter of not fighting it and just letting it happen.


because love

to love is a difficult thing. to say otherwise is a lie. it’s never easy, it never “just happens”…it’s a fight. a terrible, beautiful fight. it takes effort and tears and pain. love is sacrifice. love means putting someone ahead of yourself. love is Christ stripping Himself of His heavenly glory to be broken so that we could receive all that we don’t deserve.  that’s the kind of love He tells us to have for each other…and it takes you into dark places, forcing you to anchor yourself to Him as you fight to hold on to those you care about in the midst of a storm. that’s when His love becomes real in us: when we let Him use us as a vessel to demonstrate it to another. you crack, you bend, you may even lose a piece of yourself…but oh, how much more you know Him as a result.

i’ve made this blog about my restless endeavor to understand what love truly is. i’ve learned the same lessons countless times over. i thought that doing things “right” meant that i had to show God i love Him by doing what i’m supposed to do; by beating myself up and feeling undeserving because i’m such a broken, sinful creature who deserves nothing good and punishing myself for whatever; by being someone who expects disappointment, and is weighed down heavily by a spiritually depressed spirit…

because of all that, i had lost sight of something: i don’t need to prove anything to Him. i am His, accepted just as i am, even at my lowest. He already knows everything. i’m always trying to fix something about myself or trying to scratch off another shortcoming to be better, and He doesn’t love me any more or any less when i succeed or fail…i am still His.

i’ve been told countless times to protect myself. to be careful. but we’re told to love one another – our brothers and sisters in Christ. all of us are beautiful in His sight: at our lowest, at our ugliest, and in our failures…because He first loved us. i don’t have the capacity He does, but it is my determination that those He has brought into my life for one reason or another to love, i will let Him tear me apart so that He can pour His love out, no matter how much it hurts. because He first loved me that way.