Do you give out love to others in hopes that somehow that love will boomerang back to you and you yourself will feel loved? You either read that question and thought, “Yup, that’s me Lise,” or you probably again thought, “What is she talking about?” And honestly, I like both of those responses.
See I find it easier to give love to others. But I find it hard to except it for myself at times. That may not make sense to you and you may say, “How can you show and give someone love Lise if you don’t receive it or know what it looks like?” That’s a good question. But I do know what love looks like. I know that God is love and that love is forgiving, pure and strong. I’ve seen the wrongness and lies of love through my parents marriage and ultimately their divorce. I’ve seen people hurt and lie to others without any regard and still call it love. See I know many things that love is and isn’t. And I’ll admit that there are still things that God is revealing to me about love in every dimension of that word. But the issue I face that I think many can relate to is the ability to show love and grace to ourselves everyday.
Many people will describe me as loving, kind, and honest. I am quick to forgive others, to show grace, encourage and be everyone’s shoulder to cry on. I am okay with. In fact, I believe that my ability to love and forgive others is part of my identity and purpose. But when it comes to forgiving myself, showing myself a little grace, or even reminding myself of the goodness of God that is within me, I struggle…a lot. To deal with the lack of self-love I sometimes experience, I would find myself loving people. Holding on to them, forgiving them and being that light for them. I wore the hat they needed me to and I promised to never leave, no matter what. That’s what Lise does. She loves and forgives. And though I do this selflessly because like I said, I do believe this is part of my identity, I also found myself sitting and waiting for mine. I was hoping and wishing that as I was loving, forgiving, and uplifting the people in my life that they would take the time to stop and see me. That they would stop and love me the way I was loving them with all of me. I was waiting for them to hug me. To hug me tight but not let go. I wanted to be the first to let go because on those days I needed someone else to help me stand. I was waiting for those same people to forgive me, to show me grace, to treat me with the same kindness and love that I so freely gave them. I would wait for that…everyday. Then something would happen.. I wouldn’t get it. Instead, I found myself with nothing at times. All this love given and no one asking, “Lise, are you okay. I mean truly my friend are you okay?” No one truly loving me and holding me up. So I felt like I wasn’t enough. I felt as though maybe I wasn’t giving them the love that I thought I was Maybe I wasn’t loving and forgiving hard enough. Maybe they didn’t believe me. So, I loved harder. Gave more and more of myself away until there were days when I went home and couldn’t even stand. I had nothing left to give because I was worn out. I would feel rejected and unwanted. I’d feel unloved even though I’d spent the day loving. I was confused. And then He did. My Father, My Abba, held me and loved me.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. I’d gone home after a long day and was lying on the floor crying. Tears had created a pool in my ears and I could barely breathe. I was angry and questioning God. I didn’t understand. I remember closing my and I could feel Him. I felt His spirit fill and lift me up. I felt light, burden free and whole in that very moment. It was silent. I had come to the end of myself and Abba began. He spoke love in life to me that night. So my loves listen:
“My child. I see you. I see the love that you give and the light that you are in this dark temporary home you live in so know that I am proud of you. You understand the power of love but you’re believing a lie I never told you. Loving does not mean you will be free from pain. It does not mean they will love you back or hold you up. My Son has shown you that. He loved, He forgave, He showed grace and they still crucified Him. My child, you love because I am love and you know me. But you also forget that you must love yourself first as I have loved you. You must know that no one’s love for you will ever compare to mine. You must know that your joy and your worth should never be measured by my creations acceptance or rejection of you. Have you ever thought of why they can’t love you the way you need to be loved? Have you ever thought that maybe I am protecting you from their ideals of love? I know it will hurt when people let you down, when they don’t show up for you but you must remember I am always there. I am comforter and refuge. You can’t look for that in humans. You have to come and look to me for that and if by my will you encounter those ready to love you then know it is the God in them loving you and not by their mere human will. Until you love yourself and believe in the covenants I have with you, the love you are expecting from them will always be hidden from you. I have more to reveal to you but remember who loved you first.. Me. That will never change and you must always and forever hold on to that. My love is perfect and when you feel and hold on to that, then you will see that people love in all kinds of ways. You will be able to discern those intended to give you all that I require them to. I love you. So love yourself, understand my boundaries and know that man’s rejection is just a pavement for me to begin a work in you. And think about this. On the days when you feel empty and you are just giving love in hopes of gaining something or receiving it back, is that really the love I have taught you to give?”