Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sustaining Love

For a long time in my life I thought it was unfair that others seemed to love me based on what I can do for them. But then I realized that I often do the same to others. I think it's a common mindset in our society that we should love people based on what we can get out of it. And yet, we wonder why relationships so often fail.

But in the process of "growing up" I am learning that true, wholesome, lasting, godly love cannot be sustained based on what we get from it, but what we can give. And it doesn't take long to learn that looking out for number one, seeking our own interests and even setting our expectations too high can lead to disappointment - for both sides.

We want all this stuff even while knowing our own humanity, and that we probably couldn't give it out as well as we think we could - yet we seek it from others still. And where does it get us? Alone? Lonely? Why? Many times it's all because we insist on our own way and because we refuse to accept the way another shows love. Sometimes it's because we are so selfish to think that having our own way is worth destroying everyone around us.

It's human nature to seek to please ourselves. But love originated with God, and it can't be sustained via man's way. Nothing changes, it seems, until we realize that our whole purpose in being is to serve others and not ourselves. Even then, it's hard to accept. Even then, it's hard for a faulty human to practice consistently.

I'm not suggesting we allow others to mistreat and abuse us. I am saying that we bring all this hurt on ourselves when we follow society's way of love. Many times. we put ourselves first in a relationship with the mindset that it's up to us to go after what we want and to expect others to meet all our needs. But is it really? Based on what I am learning from who God is, I don't think so.

I'm not suggesting that you are unimportant either. I am suggesting you make it a point to make someone else more important than yourself. When we stop thinking about how we feel or what we want all the time, we are happier because we are fulfilling our purposes. We can't be so dependent on people to meet our needs or we'll stay discourged non-stop because we are all so prone to mistakes. Trust me, I know.

We might begin a relationship seeking to meet our own needs but if we keep up that pace, we will either be destructive to that person and / or we will destroy the relationship. Selfishness builds a wall, and that wall is easier to prevent than to tear down.

I'm convinced that God's design for love is not possible until:
  1. You have an intimacy with God first and foremost.
  2. You accept that you were not meant to meet one's every need or to have one meet your every need. (This goes back to #1.)
  3. You realize that we are here to serve and are able to say "This isn't about me."  
  4. You are willing to sacrifice for others.
  5. The hurt of another is more important than your own.
This stuff wasn't meant to be easy. But nothing worth doing ever is. Keep the pace and never quit.

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