I don’t know how many times I’ve hoped and prayed for love. You know, the kind of love that would come and meet me exactly where I am. The kind of love you read about in romance novels and watch in movies. I’ve always wanted that kind of love. A few years ago, I would have probably said this kind of love doesn’t exist based on my previous experience in relationships.
However, I am now more convinced than ever that this kind of love exists – in abundance. About two years ago I was driving home from work. As I was listening to praise and worship music, jamming alone in the car, I suddenly felt something I had never ever felt before. It was such an overwhelming and emotional feeling that I found myself crying uncontrollably. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening, it was all too much (but in a good way). This is the first time I felt the love of God. It felt so strong, so real and so overwhelming.
When I got home I took my phone and started writing in my notes.
“What kind of God is this, who cares about my brokenness, my tears, my pain, my scars? What kind of love is this? He works it all for our good – one way or another. What kind of love is this? What kind? It’s overwhelming. It’s overpowering. It’s pure. It’s real. It cares. It’s selfless. It heals. It protects. It is freely given. God’s love healed me… It never leaves nor forsakes me. It’s uncontainable.”
That really was the first time I got to experience and feel authentic love. That day changed the way I see or view love. It made me realise that love is so effortless. Love doesn’t hurt. Love is not pain. I think the world has done a really good job at distorting the true meaning of love. When I say “the world” I mean people, of course. Love has become so complicated that a lot of people want absolutely nothing to do with it.
It’s so sad to see how people react when you start mentioning love, how they’re not even open to the idea of love anymore. I understand where they’re coming from, though. You can’t ignore the fact that many people (including myself) have been hurt by those who once claimed to love us in the past. This includes family members and our ex-partners.
However, I would like to suggest that love was not the problem in those cases, it was the people. How can something as beautiful as love hurt you? How can something that always seeks to heal, protect, nurture hurt you? That is not possible (in my books at least). I’ve seen and experienced true love, God’s kind of love, and trust me when I say it is the most precious and purest thing you will ever experience in your life.
Also, once you experience the love of God, you will understand that some people who claim to love you don’t really know what this love means. They just don’t understand. I’m not going to sit here and act like I know the ins and outs of love, all I am doing is speaking from my level of understanding of what love is.
I’ve realised that what we sometimes think is love, is actually fear. You cannot love someone while still holding back (fear). You cannot love someone and then go and hurt them (fear). You cannot love someone and refuse to be vulnerable with them (fear). You cannot love someone and not want to show them your true self (fear). I could go on and on and on.
Another thing I’m still learning is that once you experience the love of God it makes it so much easier for you to love yourself. I cannot tell you how important it is to love yourself, to be kind to yourself, to be compassionate with yourself, to treat yourself right. I’ll admit that I don’t always get this right, but it’s always my wish to just show up for myself the way I expect others to show up for me. It all starts with you.
You need to pour into yourself first before you expect others to do that for you. You’ve probably heard that “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” This is very true. Everything that you desire, whether it’s love, happiness or peace all starts with you. Once you’ve poured into yourself it becomes so much easier to give to other people. You can’t give what you don’t have!
So, the next time you start hoping and praying for another person to come and save you, fix you or even complete you, remember all of that can be found within you. The relationship you have with yourself usually sets the tone for the relationships you have with other people. “You teach people how to treat you.”