"Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.
LOVE LIKE THAT."
from Ephesians 5 - The Message
This is my last post in this blog series. Thank you for taking time to allow me to share this journey of healing and hope with you. I pray that as we all move forward, that we can love each other a little bit more as a result of my experiences from the last few years. The following are just some of the many lessons that I've learned along the way.
1. BOUNDARIES; RED FLAGS; TOXIC: These are words we've all heard used to describe bad relationships. I'm starting to wonder...there must be a plethora of bad relationships out there, because I see many posts on social media about having the strength to "stand your ground to guard your boundaries", and to be able to "separate yourself from toxic people" and to "pick up the pieces". Unfortunately, these words and phrases are commonplace in our world today. It's ironic, don't you think? I hear so many people say that "we need more love in this world" and that we need to "Love One Another"... to bring "a little more Heaven to Earth". Yet so many people seem to be more in the business of creating boundaries rather than in the business of demolishing walls that isolate us from each other. And if those boundaries are crossed, then red warning flags are raised. Is this really how we define "Love" today? I think (imho) that this fits more of a definition of "self-love"... these ideas are more about "self-care"...which is certainly important, too. But sometimes I wonder if we get a little carried away with the concept of "self-love"... only for it to become nothing short of true "self-ish-ness" Think about this: How are we to truly "Love One Another" without caution...how are we to love extravagantly...if we are holding people at arms-length (or even pushing them out altogether) with the boundaries that we impose on one another?
2. "SWEEP IT UNDER THE RUG": The longer we sweep things under the rug and don't deal with past issues, the larger the pile underneath the rug grows. It's better to deal with the dirt as it comes rather than wait for the pile to explode all over the place. It's better to face people and problems with courage and grace than it is to wait for things to get out of control. Find someone that you trust that can help you deal with the hurt. We all need a good friend from time-to-time in which we can faithfully share anything. It always feels good to "clean house".
3. "IT'S ME (or us) AGAINST THE WORLD": We were created for one another...to help each other...to lift each other up. True...there are many inspiring stories about how some brave person faced adversity and beat the odds "on their own". But is anything ever really accomplished by one's self?
4. "BUT I WAS BULLIED AS A CHILD": Being bullied (to be quite frank) sucks...there's no other way to say it. But being hurt and victimized (in any form) does not give anyone an excuse to wallow in the past. Learn. Grow. Teach Others. Move Forward. Always Love.
5. "WE JUST WEREN'T COMPATIBLE": Although some people get along better with some than others, no one is truly compatible on this earth. All relationships take work...they all take great care to nurture. Take the time to listen to each other...to learn from each other. Incompatibility is no reason to not love someone. Incompatibility does not give license to completely shut someone out. Bottom line: We are all different from each other...we might as well learn to get along.
6. "THERE IS NO EVIL IN THIS WORLD": The absence of love is the definition of evil...that's something to really think about.
7. "SHE (or he) IS JUST AN EVIL-HEARTED PERSON: Hurt people hurt people; and often times, it's the brutally wounded that need the most love. Maybe take a little bit of time to try understanding the hurt rather than passing judgement. You never know what someone else might be going through.
So there you have it...these are a few of the lessons that I continue to work on. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. And neither will any of you. And that's alright...we're all perfectly imperfect. But that doesn't mean that we can't strive for something more...for something better...it doesn't mean that we can't love each other through the imperfections of life. I may not always love others the way that I should, but I do know this much: I want to love others without caution...I want to love others with extravagance...I want to love one another with that kind of freedom and trust. How about you? Are you courageous enough to love (and to be loved) like that? Until next time, live magnificently and love each other well.
I almost forgot! There's a little matter about some song that I wrote. The next time you're faced with an unlovable situation? Well, I hope that you think of this tune.
Dude - You inspired this song. Thank you.