Saturday, April 23, 2011

If You Love Me

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
—1 John 4:10-11

I have been giving a lot of thought about love. God loved us, and so sacrifices for us, focuses on us. I tried my best to do the same in my marriage, and still try to do it with my children. But the more I think about God's love and trying to actually create room for that type of love in my heart, I feel more and more inadequate. I come to realize more and more that I really haven't the least idea how to make that love a part of my life.

I worry about love and my capacity to love anyone freely again, let alone a spouse. I did the best I could once, let go of my fears, and it wasn't enough. What if it can never be enough? How can I try to give all I have all over again after so painfully recreating something to have in the first place?

I think about Christ, suffering alone in the Garden of Gethsemane and hanging alone on the cross, feeling abandoned by His Father, and not knowing in that moment if anything He gave would be enough to save anyone. Not even knowing if one person would appreciate what He was doing, giving His all.

I can see that Christ's love is not a love that comes with any expectations, not even the expectation of acknowledgment. Broken and lonely, He "finished [His] preparations unto the children of men."

I am afraid to try to love others, to serve others. If I open myself up enough to be responsive to their needs, the tight bands I have wrapped around my pain will burst all over again. And I am thoroughly sick and tired of vomiting out my emotional ugliness.

But then comes the image of the Savior again, crying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" and I know that somehow, broken and lonely and afraid, I have to find a way.


  1. You and I have both been hurt. Deeply. I don't know about you, but my thoughts on love are very... messed up...

    The world (and the individuals in it) doesn't need another savior. The world needs YOU.

    I stopped forcing myself to do the things I thought I had to, and love stopped feeling like such a painful chore. When I only give what I have to give (and no more), I LOVE giving.

    When I thought I had to give everything, and sacrifice everything, and all of my messy thoughts about love - love caused me great pain. I just don't think it has to be like that.

  2. I think there is a time and a season for all things.

    I had an excruciating mission, came home early, and then had to put everything pertaining to religion away and out of my mind entirely. It was just too much. After a couple of years, I was able to bring it back, slowly, into my life.

    I am not really sure how to say what I am thinking here, forgive me. Perhaps your pain still needs time to subside before you are able to *fully* open up. Small steps before big ones, frustrating as it is. Small services, small love before the big stuff is doable again.

    In any case, I do appreciate your posts here and around the bloggernacle. God bless you in your suffering, and may it work for your good.

  3. @Jen I really like that. I also think that as you simply give what you have, and enjoy it, you'll end up with more to give. We're supposed to grow, not have everything ready-to-go at the outset.

  4. Jen, thank you. I think there is something important in what you're saying. But I have a hard time reconciling my attempt to know what I can and can't give with the admonition (which I feel in my heart) to give all. There is a tension there I can't quite resolve.

    I have dedicated myself to being a disciple, but I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean.

    Thank you, too, Matthew. I post here in the hopes that it can and will help someone. Even if that someone ends up being me.


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