I love too much, and yes, it’s an actual issue. Because I love people so deeply, so intentionally, that I leave next to no room for someone to reciprocate.
I smother them in gifts, thoughtful gestures, encouraging words, and a loyalty that embraces them through any mistake. I love them to the point that it cripples their ability to love me back.
When I am constantly the one making the effort and putting every ounce of my energy into another human being, I find that I am disappointed every single time. I feel like I’ve been drained and that no one could possibly love and take care of me in the way that I do for them without a second thought. I even get to the point sometimes of believing that I am not worth loving.
Silly? Yes, indeed.
I have begun this new journey in writing because I believe that I have something to say and that I have love to give. And I wish to give it well, which sounds ironic at the moment.
But I have finally realized why I am so compelled to serve wholeheartedly to my own detriment: I am afraid.
I am so incredibly fearful that if I take a few steps back to the line in the middle, that the person I’ve chosen to pour my energy into will not make any effort to meet me there. I am afraid that if I don’t give someone enough reasons to love me through my faults that they will dispose of me. I think to myself, “I am not perfect. There are all of these things about me that I can’t stand, so why would anyone else love me through them? Therefore, I will compensate by doing so much for them that they will basically need me in their life.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds nothing like love to me. It sounds self-serving, manipulative, and not grounded in the love that God teaches us, the kind of love I so often attempt to model and fail miserably at doing so.
This might be entirely a me thing, but it also might not be. And so here is what I would like to encourage my fellow servant-hearted pals to hear today:
Having a servant heart is a beautiful gift. It is necessary to have people in this world who find their purpose in pouring into lives besides their own. WE NEED THEM. But we also have to be aware of the dangers that come with this calling.
The people we are drawn to often are not in the place to reciprocate what we are able to give to them.
The people we are drawn to are often not able to take on more loads than their own and pull it off. So please remember: Being able to carry the weight of other worlds on top of your own is a skill, not a reason to slowly become bitter that not everyone whose load you carry can take yours as well.
The people we are drawn to come into our lives to be served, not for us to serve our own agenda by what we do for them.
The people we are drawn to are not meant to be leeches on our souls. God doesn’t want that for us. So if you find yourself in this position, get back on the middle line. If you are met with demands and hostility, that is a person you don’t need around.
The people we are drawn to will not be able to satisfy our insecurities. Because no human being can do that, even ourselves. And if you put them into a position where they need you to exist, where you do so much that they basically cannot function without you, you are crippling them, not empowering them.
We should serve in order to empower others, to make them known, to acknowledge the worth that has already been bestowed upon them by our Heavenly Father.
We should not serve others to feel that we are needed, to earn their love like we earn a paycheck, to justify our disbelief that our love cannot be fully given back to us, or to stack up the odds in our favor so we can feel good about ourselves when we end up being the only one able to give.
It is incredibly easy to fall into this pit as someone who loves deeply because we live in a broken world. And 100% of the time, we will be let down, dragged through the dirt, overlooked, and abused. Whether people mean to do it or not.
So the task we are given is to constantly ground ourselves in the love of Christ as often as we breath. Not in the love that the world has shown us.
Jesus came not to be served but to serve.
He did this knowing full well that he would not only be rejected but crucified for his good and loving deeds. And yet, he performed miracles from the right posture of heart. He taught the crowds with holy intentions. He gave all of himself, only to receive the frustration of even his disciples completely missing the point of his ministry, to be hunted down, tormented, and murdered on the cross.
So in other words, we have no excuse to let ourselves get too far off track if that is the model of love we seek after.
When you find yourself way over the line in a relationship, take a few steps in the opposite direction. Allow people to love you back.
It took me being in some of my lowest moments to realize that I am actually loved; in the times where I’ve let my darkness escape, my words run unfiltered, where I’ve disappeared off the grid.
It is then, when I’ve shown my true self and given up hope, that people love me. And do you know why that is?
Because I took a step back, just in the wrong frame of mind.
Give people a chance to come to you and try to ensure that your love never becomes a selfish love; God wants us to see that there is more for us than a fear-based kind of existence. There is a love that we can pour out unendingly that doesn’t depend on the response we will receive from humanity. But to find it, you have to allow the space for it to appear and flourish.