It can be painful to realize that we need other people. We don’t like having to admit that we don’t have it altogether all by ourselves. Worse, living like we don’t need them and even, we are better off remaining in the exclusive club of “me”, seems to be absolutely necessary in the world we live in. It seems to be unsafe to chance enlarging our boundaries from self-care to mutual-care.

Agh! I’m so afraid of that. What if that other person can’t come through for me? Or more frightening, what if it’s revealed that I am not fully capable of coming through for them?

Is this what relationships are about: being willing to fall on our faces in front of those we’ve committed ourselves to love?

Oh, I’m afraid I really don’t like that! I would rather pretend that love was something else. That it were only good-intentioned feelings when I do not want or know how to act. And that it were solely confined to actions that I could fulfill and feel at ease though my heart were cold.

But, love appears to be neither wholly good-intentioned feelings or wholly actions but rather, both good-intentioned feelings and actions. When I look at the love God talks about I see an onslaught of care and other-centeredness that makes me cry “that’s just not me!” The love He models lays down the self that it might lift up another. It is not an merely an element of who one is, it is supposed to be representative of one’s whole being.

But, the last time I checked, love and I don’t know each other that well (and that was two minutes ago, in case you thought it might be time to check again!). I don’t know what to do with that.

Oh! When I hit that place of desperation, would that I could see that as the whole of the matter on my side, and not just as a plaintive introduction! Unless God teaches me and enfolds me in love, no one is going to know love because of me.

I’m slowly learning to accept the the truth about God’s undefiled love and my defiled self. What a huge grace it is! The more I learn about love, the more I recognize that being filled with and characterized by love must be a grace-dominated thing. There’s just no other way to attempt such a steep assent into His ways!

 

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