"Love stinks" .. Everyone knows the song that goes with that saying, but, recently I have found that I have a serious fundamental disagreement with that statement. Love does not stink, but man it sure can cause a lot of pain. I do not know if you have ever experienced the simple fact that love just hurts. Not necessarily because whoever the person is has hurt you intentionally or unintentionally, but mostly just because life is hard and we make mistakes, and somewhere along the line of life, you realize how love is hard and painful... And, when I say "you" I really mean "me" just so you know ;)
I have been talking to several different people recently, all having different topics of discussion, several having problems, and others just needing to talk. All requiring my time and energy, and in all of the discussions I was completely powerless to actually change anything about their circumstances. I mean I gave all I have to them, which really was only a listening ear, humorous comments, serious comments, but mostly, I just gave them my time. I walked away from each situation and prayed for them, asking God to show up, to make Himself known in their lives, to soak into every corner of their lives so heavily that they begin to feel like they are breathing Him in.
After one of these encounters I realized love just hurts. Love brings pain, heartache, trouble, and pretty much every other negative thing with it.... Yet, why in the world would I expect anything else? I mean, my God died for me... Because He LOVES me. How can I expect anything less than pain when I am trying to love those around me?
Love is not this fun little emotion, twitterpation, infatuation, blindness... Love is calculated, hard work, and never ending. But, I realized the other day after a certain conversation, I cannot love those around me without allowing them the chance to love me in return, no one can, it does not work that way. Love is 100% an outward flowing thing, and when you encounter someone who wants to 100% love you in return, whether it be a friend, family or romantic interest, that is when the we are at our greatest and Christ is glorified. Because, if I am spending every ounce of energy I have to love those around me, I never have to take a second thought to worry about myself or be selfish, because someone else has spent their time making sure I am loved and taken care of. In fact, I have found that a lot of my aggravation with people recently stems from the fact that there is a breakdown somewhere in the way love is supposed to look.. Haha.. how cheesy does that sound?.. But, it is totally true.
One simple example.. My roomie and I have a fantastic relationship. I LOVE living with her (besides everything else, she makes me laugh ALL the time!), and I can honestly say I am pretty sure there is not a single day that goes by that one of us does not do something totally selfless for the other one just to show we care. She'll make me coffee or get it set up the night before for me in the morning, I'll do the dishes or schedule time for a roommate date, she'll transfer my clothes to the dryer then fold them and put them on my bed, I'll make a special trip home to feed the dog... Every single day at least once I think "I really love living with her."
On a totally different side of the spectrum, I realized not long ago that we are made to need love. We have a "God shaped hole" that if you do not know Jesus, He can and will fix that seemingly bottomless hole inside. But, we are made to need each other, guys, girls. family, friends, romantic relationships.. We NEED community, which includes a wide variety of roles that need filling. Some of the most broken people I have ever known, are people who do not have (or do not seek out) these places to be filled with people who actually love them without any strings attached, and then in return they do not love anyone in their life without a benefit to themselves. Words simply cannot express how much my heart hurts for these friends of mine. How much I wish my love for them could be enough, and since I am a girl, I can always fool myself for a while into thinking I can be enough, love them enough, work hard enough. I can fool myself into believing that my love will help the "see the light" and it will make a difference. Somehow, I am certain for a time that I can DO enough to heal them and solve the issues in their lives. And then, my Savior quietly reminds me that it is not my job... He can do it just fine on His own thank you.
Please understand, I do not view the broken and hurting people in my life as charity cases... There would simply be too many, since every single person I know is broken and hurting in some way. These people are not put on a to-do checklist every day, they are people that I want to genuinely get to know and love. I want them to know they are important, wonderful, and cherished... They are not forgotten, alone, lost, or looked over, and their pain is real. I want the people I encounter to know that they are seen, their pain is not stupid, and there IS hope.... However, I ALWAYS come back to knowing that it is my job to love them (whatever that looks like), and Jesus' job to save and restore them.
Love will always hurt. But, loving those around me is THE most important thing I can ever do. I hate that I forget that so much, but, I am also broken and hurting, and I am keenly aware of how desperately I need Jesus every single day.