Isn’t it amazing that we have a God who fulfills all of these attributes because His very nature is love? These words never get old, they are a beacon of hope for us in dark times when it feels difficult to love. We’ve all experienced challenges to love whether it’s loving a spouse, relative or stranger. God calls us to love one another because He has loved us first. Of course, we don’t do it perfectly. We all fall short. We are all broken people living in a fallen world and are subjected to temptations to sin with our words and our actions. In contrast to what people may believe about me, I admit to being one of these people. After all, contrition is what allows us to develop acuity in our walk with Christ.
Growing up I thought that being a Christian meant doing things perfectly. More specifically, I thought that it meant loving one another perfectly. But as you can imagine, I became profoundly disappointed when I realized just how imperfect people are in and outside of the body of Christ. My expectations crumbled when I became cognizant of our brokenness and how much we need a savior. Last night I reflected on the past decade and my spiritual growth. I scrolled through hundreds of photos stored on my phone since 2013 (around the time I gave my life to Christ) and screenshots of text messages from past relationships (yea I do save those), many of them being arguments. I noticed a pattern in my engagement with these exes of mine and sadly they all reflected trauma.
Fear of abandonment. Is a real fear and it affects our ability to love. This is a fear I’ve wrestled with for years. It’s influenced my expectations and even perfectionism in efforts to marry a man who’s actions were perfect, promising and gave me the security that I needed. A security that can only be found in Jesus BUT I didn’t fully realize that at the time. I also experienced trauma in my first relationship where I was convinced of the lie that men aren’t innately designed to be monogamous and coerced into an “open relationship” in which only he was allowed to date others and I couldn’t because women were supposed to remain pure in order to have any value to a man.
So I developed a habit of sweating the small stuff in every relationship. I am cognitively inclined to seeking out characteristics in a man that can potentially be destructive to our future or security (at least I think it will be) so my first reaction is to become defensive (attack) or give up when alternatively Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13: 8 “ Love never fails.” It’s a pattern of thought the Lord has been delivering me from and I absolutely hate that I struggle with it.
But where did this all come from? I believe it started with the absence of a natural father-daughter relationship. Yes, I knew my father but we didn’t develop a relationship until much later in my life and by that time it was much more difficult to build. Seeds were planted in my head about him not wanting me from a very young age and I feared that type of rejection and abandonment from men in my life who I once thought were all the same (what a myth!). Now I have a godly man who truly loves God and purity in which we both honor and yet I continue to experience the same emotions and thought patterns.
Most importantly I acknowledged that God is helping me to unlearn those habits and He’s transforming the ways in which I love, receive love and understand love. True love is unconditional, merciful and graceful. Yes, it’s insurmountable because only God exudes authentic, unadulterated, agape love in this way but we are all granted the opportunity to be more and more like Jesus every day. Therefore let’s press forward in our call to love. Baby steps.
Blessings to you all! Thanks for reading.