Wednesday, May 9, 2012

He Loves Me?

I dated a guy once who told me, after a month of dating, that he loved me.


As much as I longed to hear those words and believe them, I hated him for saying it. I hated him because I knew he couldn't possibly mean it...not yet, anyway. I was angry that he would mess with my heart, and so I did what I do best: I stayed distant. I insisted that he couldn't love me and I found a thousand reasons why I couldn't love him. A month later he was releasing me of our relationship, and I was relishing the freedom that came with singleness. 

In reality, I was terrified. I was scared to believe that his words might be true and have my heart be shattered. I never once allowed myself to believe it was actually possible. I never once gave him a chance to prove that it might be. 

I should probably mention that a little over 2 years later we started dating again... and we still are. But, guess what? It's been over a year and a half and he hasn't told me he loves me this time around. I don't blame him. 

It's this dumb thing where we cruise around in life declaring that if this one thing just happened, we would feel more confident, more worthy, more secure, more loved, more wanted.......and then that thing happens, and we reject it. For whatever reason, it wasn't good enough. It didn't happen in the way we had wanted it to, the way we had always pictured it might. There was something just off about it that convinces us that it's not for us, that it's not good, that we should flee. 

My oldest brother had told me once that when a guy tells you he loves you, he should back it up with a ring. It made sense to me... and so for many years, that became my expectation. I would never believe that a guy loved me until he was willing to follow through with it to marriage. It still makes sense to me, but the way it became such a requirement wasn't good. The way it proved to sabotage a relationship wasn't good. I had created this ridiculous stipulation for how love was supposed to be presented and I never allowed for there to be any alternative. 

Instead, I was a crazy girl. Gosh, I'm still a crazy girl... but I hope I'm learning and growing as I see things through various perspectives. 
I hope you are, too. 
I hope you're willing to see the areas in your life that you run from or avoid or intentionally sabotage because you're driven by a fear of being hurt. I hope you're willing to see the specific ways you flee from ever believing people care about you, and stop

People can love you... even if it's only been a month
Because, as much as romantic love gets tied up in emotions and attractions...there's still room to make the choice. There's still room for him to choose to love you. 

Here's the guarantee: you will get hurt. Even if you end up together forever, there will be times in your relationship when he hurts you and you hurt him. It's the nature of being sinful humans. But I think it's worth the risk... every time. 

Instead of telling someone that they can't possibly love you, I encourage you to embrace it... to believe it... to relish it. Stop fighting, stop running, stop resisting. 

Let love happen. 
I realize I have so much to learn in this department as well.... but I can now recognize the need to really believing that another might choose to love us, despite our imperfections. 

May we all be able to receive one of the most beautiful gifts of all. 'Cause when we are able to receive it from other humans... how much more likely might we be able to truly receive from a perfect and holy God? 

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  1. Good post - thought I'd contribute since I was mentioned. :)

    I think read this in Lewis (or maybe Vanauken). He was using a metaphor to talk about love. It went something like this: when you're camping out on the African savannah and the night comes, noises come along with it. Mysterious noises, ones that make you wonder what it is out there? Maybe it's a lion?! Maybe it's a hyena? Either way, you're a bit frightened because you don't KNOW what it is. But, he said, all of that confusion disappears when you hear the lion. When a lion roars, you know it. When the real thing comes, because it comes with such power, we know that it is real.

    Love is like that. When love that is really love shows up, it roars. It is unmistakable.

    It's the fake love that plays tricks with our minds and hearts.

    You're right, when real love shows up, even after "only" a month, it can be real. But there are all kinds of imposters out there, promising what love promises, using the same words but originating from a very different source.

    How do we know when love is the real thing? Our sin gets in the way, and we can yearn for something that isn't there. The other person's sin gets in the way, and the love might as well be synonymous with possession or consumption. I think some people would argue that the influence of our sin makes it impossible to know for sure. In effect, our ears are so broken that no matter what roars, we won't recognize it clearly.

    But part of me wants to believe that when real love shows up, we know it. Even when we aren't expecting it, or it looks different than what our culture-absorbing brains have imagined it as. I would like to that it wouldn't pass us in the night, but that it would stop us in our tracks. I hope we are arrested by it. Even if it looks like a man hanging on a cross.

  2. Such a weird word. What's it mean again?