Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Expecting Love

By September, I clocked excessive hours in what I had endearingly christened as the "Cave of Wonders" - the Coffee Bar office.  I took on managerial responsibilities I had no training in (except the stewardship of budgeting my own finances), and had little time to grasp it and do it well. Without question, God's care over my life was manifest through the wonderful staff around me - they grounded me with peace and joy.

And yet, I was terribly frustrated.  Mostly because I had lost my wallet, I was recuperating from a cold, and the last thing I wanted to think about was the unpredictability of human interactions across the board - work, friends, family.. humankind in general.  I became sensitive to anything that rubbed against the grains of my self-pitying soul.  I was pathetic, and lost the energy to putter around and kick lightweight furniture.  The bedroom floor was my closest friend.

But even being lame, I still (unfortunately) have my self (my thoughts) to deal with.  And in my sensitivity, I honed in on specific frustrations.  I expected these certain people to treat me with consideration in regards to the season that I am currently in- and it never happened.  How can they not see how overwhelmed I am?  How busy I am?  How sick I have been?  I wanted to add this to the list of my frustrations.

But then I thought about an old post and came to the conclusion - I cannot expect people to love me.

That may sound very brash, and it's not an exclusive statement.  But here is what I mean: I cannot demand people to love me rightly.

I cannot expect love from people as a reaction or reward for giving love.  I cannot love with the expectation to be loved in return.  It defies the point of real Love.  At least between people, it is not a sow/reap system or a fair-trade organization.  It gives freely.  Two people who love freely pour into each others vats and remain filled - instead of depleting one source.

Also, I cannot expect love from people out of entitlement.  I cannot place myself above my fellow brothers and sisters; I cannot think of them as "lower" than me, and I as one who deserves their good sacrifices.

If my love is motivated by a void in my heart that I long for others to pour into and fill, I will be unsatisfied- without a doubt.  "I want to be loved (in this way), so I will love tremendously (in this way) so that they will love me back (in this way)." This is faulty- what if the other end does not interpret that as love?  What if the other end loves in return, but in a different form, causing disappointment?

I cannot love with the expectation to be loved in return.

With these thoughts as a preface, I must accept every act of love as a gift - as an act of supernatural grace that I have done nothing to deserve or earn.  I must take love with sincere and pure gratitude, even responding in praise to God for His goodness.  To be loved is a blessing, an undeserved gift, mercy manifest in grace.  When we give and have been given unconditional love, the pressure of loving rightly is alleviated.  And both of us are full.

A recently-found doodle from last years moleskine.


I don't think anything's changed with the sources of my frustrations, except the grace of God calming me down.  But my eyes were opened to a totally separate phenomenon - that in the moments I am most overworked and stressed, someone always comes to visit, either home or work, and blesses me with food.  It seems so simple, and yet, the provision is a reminder that God cares about the minute details of my life - what more with the greater things!  He proves His faithfulness meal by meal.

I thought about my ingratitude, and how I expected love from sources that left me dry.  I could have completely missed out on the goodness that is before my eyes.  And this goodness is undeserved - acts of love and supernatural grace that are absolute blessings.


God is drawn to the voids in our life.  He fills the gaps, the emptiness; He is like a river that rushes to the lowest places.  He seeps into the cracks and crevices of our rock-solid, cold souls.  And He softens us and breaks us, and He is gentle, meek, and kind.  He is a Love that we can always expect to satisfy every need and every longing.  To seek the Love of God is a hope that will always be fulfilled.

I am letting my soul soak in this Truth.  If I give love, it must be because I have His love.  And if people disappoint me, His love will keep surrounding me.  And I can rest in this.

BTW, if I ever lose my wallet again....


currently listening: Lent, The Brilliance
currently reading: The Root of Righteousness, AW Tozer

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