Free to love others.
This is the third and final part in a series about how my life has shifted since I chose to live in the knowledge that I was not created to please man or woman. I was designed to please the Father. Armed with this truth I have been able to gradually let go of past hurts and get back to the business of loving others. Really loving and caring for others.
When you love and care for others it is inevitable that at some point you will feel loss, rejection, disappointment, hurt, or pain. It is the human condition. That’s the risk one takes when they let people in or put themselves out there. Why else do so many swear off love, keep people at a distance, or avoid getting involved in community or fellowship? They’ve been hurt.
I have been dealt some blows. Some of them were very personal. Some were just because I am a smart, young, woman. Some of the blows cost me money, some cost me my pride, and some ultimately damaged my health. And there have been times when my desire was to somehow hurt people back, when I wanted karma to come swiftly. I would beg for “justice.” Other times I would replay situations over and over trying to find what I could have done or said differently. Some of the reasons I was hurt were because I cared too much or because I put people in the wrong position in my life. And still other reasons I was hurt was simply because the other person wasn’t so nice and the hurt me deliberately. I’m sure I’ve done my fair share of hurting people too.
A natural response when betrayal or reality hits is to withdraw, to stop caring, to lash out, or to hurt others before they hurt you. I went through it. I had all of those feelings. But God.
The liberating thing is to be able to let that go. Thank God I didn’t have enough in me to strike back. That isn’t who He needs us to be. Our God is mighty enough to deliver the cards without our help. And he is gracious enough to free us from even wanting that. He is so BIG that he even brings forgiveness to our hearts. And when that forgiveness comes it is scary (to let someone off the hook) and amazing.
He reminded me that this isn’t about them. And this isn’t about me. My reason for being isn’t for others. And people don’t exist to make me happy either. My life experience and the blessings I choose to pour out aren’t about everyone else. My loving nature is for who it is for and not for who it’s not for. It isn’t really my job to make the distinction. It isn’t my job to be two people for different audiences.
Now if I love and serve others and they don’t receive it or respond in a way I might expect I am not offended or hurt or discouraged, because I am not doing it for them. Not to make them happy, not to please them, not to make them like me but because God called me to love others. Besides, I have enough to do then to take matters into my hands, and loving people really is so much easier.