Loving Well

It’s hard to be a good writer without also being honest. And being honest is tricky because sharing my life necessarily means sharing others’ lives, at least where their lives intersect with mine, and others don’t always want to be as open as I am willing to be.

So, out of respect for them, I sometimes speak in the theoretical or the hypothetical. Just know there is always more beyond the generalizations I make. Personal experience isn’t far.

That being said, we “all” know “someone” who doesn’t love us well. If we’re lucky, we only know a couple of folks who are too self-absorbed and/or too broken themselves to realize what a gem we are.

image via Boykung at freedigitalphotos.net
image via Boykung at freedigitalphotos.net

I say this not because I have soaring self-confidence (I don’t). I speak highly of me and of you solely because God speaks highly of us. He says things like, “You are precious and honored in my sight and…I love you,” (Isaiah 43:4). He calls us his “dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1). He created us with painstaking detail, he knows everything about us, and he has great plans for us (Psalm 139:13, Matthew 10:30, Jeremiah 29:11).

For reasons unbeknownst to me, we are valuable to God.

This fact, when appropriately internalized, is enough. It’s enough to make me feel secure and complete and whole.

But sometimes the positive feelings that come from knowing God loves me get crowded out by the negative feelings that come from suspecting someone else doesn’t love me.

This happened the other day. A person who shall remain nameless hurt me deeply. I talked myself through the biblical truths above, trying to heal my heart with scripture. It didn’t work instantly, like I’d wanted it to. So I talked through my hurt with God. I basically lamented that this person wasn’t willing to do whatever it takes to love me, even though I think this person ought to be willing. If the roles were reversed, I’d be willing…

And you know what God showed me?

First, He said, “Kelly, I did whatever it took to love you. I literally gave up my life for you. There’s nothing I wasn’t willing to do – no discomfort or pain or suffering I wouldn’t endure – to get to you.” God’s words sunk in deep, and I just let them hold my heart for awhile. They were a timely reminder that we are all looking for that kind of love, and the one place we will consistently find it is in the person of Jesus.

Then I sat down to write this post, and God kept talking. I typed that sentence above that reads, “If the roles were reversed, I’d be willing…” and the Holy Spirit convicted me quicker than an apt metaphor about something that is fast.

God let me know, “The roles don’t have to be reversed; the roles are the same. That person ought to be willing to do whatever it takes to love you well, and you ought to be willing to do whatever it takes to love that person well.” Except God used that person’s name because there is no keeping things private from God.

The truth is I don’t want to do whatever it takes to love that person well because it takes being uncomfortable and sorting through my issues and learning how to turn the other cheek and learning how to see the best in people and all sorts of things that HURT.

But then I remember that I am precious and honored in His sight, and He loves me, and He has great plans for me, and part of those plans is learning how to love others well, no matter how they respond. 

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12 thoughts on “Loving Well

  1. Good thoughts. Isn’t it hard to stop being selfish and focus on someone else? I mean, hypothetically and all. =P #loveGodLovepeople (sorry for the hashtag – ha)

  2. Kelly, it all has to start with the realization of ‘what a gem we are’. There is nothing more enriching than the ability to become aware of our true self and falling in love with our own being. This will enable us to truly love others. God bless.

    • Thanks for the comment, Ranji.

      While I don’t disagree that we ought to love ourselves, I think it is much more important to know that God loves us. When we know that God loves us deeply, unconditionally, in spite of all our shortcomings, we are freed up to love others in a healthy way, without regard to what we can “get” from them or whether or not they love us well in return. We can focus on their needs because we have let God meet all our needs. Anything they give to us in return is just icing on the cake.

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