To Love Freely

I am a Christian.

If you don’t want to keep reading that was your heads up, and I won’t be offended whatsoever if you decide to stop. But if you do, I just wanted to throw that out there so that the rest of the article makes sense.

How many of us have played the game where your crush/friend responds to your message an hour later, so you don’t respond for an hour (or maybe even later) as well? Do you also defend you pride by acting like everything’s okay when someone cancels plans you had been looking forward to for weeks? How about these? Not telling your best friends or significant other more often how much they mean to you because you’re afraid that your attachment is stronger than theirs. Trying to sound calm and collected (read: using “lol” instead of “LOL”) when talking to a friend because you’re afraid that you’re enjoying the conversation more than they are. You get the idea. Honestly, when I think about the things I do, I cringe.

As I was reflecting on all these seemingly silly things I did to protect myself, I realized that it’s really hard for me to give love or show love when I don’t receive it back in equal or greater magnitudes. When I came to that conclusion, I understood just how selfish I was.

As I was finding solace in telling these things to God, he gently reminded me of something – He reminded me that He understands – He understands because He is the ultimate lover. He understands because His love is so great that a human will never be able to return it in equal or greater magnitude. He understands not only because He will never receive equal or greater love from humans, but also because He is constantly shunned and rejected by them. And then He reminded me that I was one of “them.”

But he also reminded me that when I did remember Him and offer my weak love, that was all it took to make His heart beat a little faster, to make Him smile.

I am grateful beyond words that God isn’t like me, that He doesn’t need anything in return to make Him feel secure. I am grateful that He truly understands me. I am grateful that His love ravishes my heart and renders me speechless. I am grateful that He knows my insecurities and despite the fact that He is enough, He still blesses me with friends and family that love me when I don’t deserve it.

Yes, I have insecurities, but I also have a God who puts all of those insecurities to rest just by being who He is. I can be just the way I am because He is perfect and holy. And that is why I can overcome my imperfections. That is why I do not remain unchanged. Because how could I not when I see the never ending depths of kindness in His eyes that offer so much more than wallowing in my sin? I can give freely and love freely because I know that my God did the same and so much more for me. It is really humbling to see that I am only now beginning to fully understand John 13:34.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

Love isn’t love if it has a price. Just as Jesus freely gave himself for me, expecting nothing in return, so we are called to love others. It’s not so much about controlling my emotions and surviving on my own without receiving any love, because that’s just another form of pride, but it’s about being filled through the action of loving others. And because our God understands us, He gives us the love we need in return, which may come in the form of people we know and care about, but it can also always be found when we look to the cross. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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