Why is it so Hard to Believe the Good? #RelationshipFails #FriendshipFails #MyConfessions #Pride #Dating #RealLove

Something hit me the other day in the course of conversation with my peeps. Why is it that we so easily to believe the bad and have such a difficult time believing the good? Let me phrase this another way, why do we hitch our hearts to people who are bad for us? Why can we so easily convince ourselves that someone who isn’t right for us is perfect for us? But we cannot fathom that the person who is perfect for us is really the one?

Why do we get ourselves tangled up in potential and instead of the person who’s actually in front of us? Why have I done this in the past? (And not just in dating but in friendships too.)

First of all, I want to believe I can help this person reach his or her potential. I want to watch them become who I think they can be. Where’s the true motive in this though?  When he or she is determined to remain at their current level of potential why do I take it so personally? Think about it, why should I be angry at someone for not being who I think they should be? First of all, I “think” I know best. And secondly, I want to believe they will love me so much that they will change for me. I read that and I cringe. That sounds awful!

The anger I’m feeling comes from not being able to exert control over someone to be who I want them to be. That anger comes from pride. That is not being a person motivated by love. Who says that my way is the best way or that my way is the only way for that person to be his or her best?! Reality check, I don’t know what’s best for anyone. Heck sometimes, I don’t even know what’s best for myself. It’s the whole take the stick out of your own eye before you try to take the splinter out of someone else’s lesson.

We should help people NOT with the motive of changing them or turning them into someone else. We should help people become comfortable in their own skin. That doesn’t mean we pepper them with empty compliments, it means we allow them to be the person God created them to be even if we don’t understand what that actually entails, we continue to point them to the source of their answer.

We cannot become enablers to behavior that results in self-harm. If it is a detriment to human dignity then it’s not good for you, me, or anyone. Also the reason so many people find “I’ll pray for you” so insulting is because it comes off as a judgement and not an act of love. How many times have you prayed for someone to change with your own intentions in mind as to how God should do that? Selfish and judgy much? We shouldn’t pray for people to be the person “we think” they should be. We should pray for people to become who they were created to be and for the grace to help those people achieve that. We should pray for people to find their purpose, their salvation, their peace, and their place. That’s sounds a whole lot more like a prayer of love rather than judgement.

Becoming and doing the things we are meant to do with our lives is not easy. Most of the time people won’t be able to see the dream that’s been put into your heart. Most people won’t understand why you do the things you’re doing to get there. I can often see the confusion in people’s eyes when I try to explain my motives and dreams. Heck sometimes its so deeply rooted in me I can’t even form the words to explain it. Regardless, how can they understand when my dream isn’t meant for them. We are all designed for our own special purpose.

And here we are, another blog post that comes back to love . I know, I know. That’s all I ever talk about. I’m so hearts and flowers all the time. *insert eyeroll* LOL! Actually, real love isn’t hearts and flowers. Real love doesn’t make it’s own way. If you look back on what I just said, when I’ve picked people who weren’t right for me (in love and in friendship) I’ve tried/wanted to change them. I’ve had to “force” my way.

Real love isn’t chocolate and roses. (Although if you love me and want to send me those thing I won’t complain 😉 ) Real love is allowing the person to be who he or she is created to be. It is nurturing them and lifting their eyes to the sky, in all moments but especially when they’ve got the muck of life blinding them.

I have been blessed with friendships that are filled with real love. Have I found myself questioning if these people are real? Yes. Have I found myself watching and waiting for them to turn into someone else or rather for me to see their “true colors”? Absolutely. Have I asked God if they are good for my life? Definitely.

And every single time they “prove” themselves to be true, in their actions, in their words, in their apologies, and in the way they live their lives. You can’t fake real. You just can’t. Our relationships just flow. And if that works for friendships it will definitely work with the man I’m supposed to be with. It will flow. We will both be our real selves with each other and it will work. (I’m not lost in the clouds. I know relationships take shared effort, but stay with me here.)

In questioning those tried and true friends and relationships, not only are we not trusting them but we aren’t loving them for who they are. That means we are being a crappy friend by NOT giving them real love. Woah. Excuse me while I remove this huge stick from my eye.

If we truly listen to our gut (which is where I believe God speaks to us most often) we will already know the answer about those friendships/relationships. If we seek the truth we will find it. If we are open to the possibilities of being wrong, we will find the right answers. But we must get our pride out of the way and dial down our own preconceived notions about things, otherwise we will never find true love in our lives with our friends and/or significant other.

This is a truth I’m continuously grappling with as I date, as I make new friends, and as I evaluate the tried and true ones. I realize it can seem a bit off the charts but my recent experiences continuously prove this: if we allow God to move and develop relationships with the right people in our lives we will not find ourselves asking Him to bless our mess. Rather we will be blessed.

Be blessed today, my friends. Be real. Be love. Accept the goodness that exists in our lives and in those around us.

 

 

 

 

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Real Love. Real Life. #WorldOfTheLiving #LoveIsReal #LoveJustFlows

I never knew how much I didn’t know about love until I set forth on a path to understand it. If you walk into my house you will find the word love all over the place–quotes and scripture and even in marquee lights. I love love. It’s how I’m built. Sorry, not sorry. 😉

Yesterday one of my bestest friends and I had one of our usual all-over-the-map conversations. It left me pondering my journey into the world of the “living,” a journey I’m still winding along on. How did this awakening truly begin for me? How was this new Michelle born?

With death. Death brought me into the land of the living. (That line hearkens to be both poetic and unintentionally scriptural.) My friend and I were discussing my time in counseling and psychologically how that journey unfolded for me. How counseling gave me that safe place to discuss the inter-workings of myself, the falsehoods I’d taken as facts about myself, and the learned behaviors that were not healthy ones. Counseling is a place where you learn how to cope and unravel the “fake news” of your life. With the right counselor and the right openness it can lead you towards the truth. I am certainly a seeker of truth and facts. It’s just how Jesus made me.

I wonder how this works for other people. How does their “awakening” happen for them? I’ve watched countless programs and read plenty of articles and often times it is loss (the death of something: a person, relationship, career, etc.) that is credited with the change. Wouldn’t it be easier for us if we just jumped head first into the change ourselves? It would definitely be less traumatic, right? But if you’re anything like me you have to do things the hard way. *insert eye roll*

It wasn’t until after the unraveling of grief and sorrow from the loss of Chris that I was able to truly see I had a deeper issue on my hands. I was seeking to fill a void long before his unexpected passing. I’d been moving through the motions of life trying to fill my life bucket up, attempting to find my worth, and my purpose on my own with my education, my career, and my relationships. That was exhausting. Looking back my heart was in the right place, I was just walking down the wrong roads.

Yesterday as I was picking at my salad, searching for the words to explain the changes within my inner being it was difficult to muddle through all of the things I wanted to share. Besides, if I did share everything we would’ve been there for days.

The basics that spilled out went something like this. Counseling helped me immensely but so did the people in my life. We cannot look to a single solitary tool to fix us. We are complex beings. We were built to need one another. It is the basis of our society, our family structure, and no matter how much we want to throw our hands on our hips with our noses in the air saying, “we don’t need anyone,” we do. We cannot know everything, do everything, be everything on our own.

Loss offers us this frightening but life changing experience that crushes our world. We begin to question everything and if we’re willing to rise to the challenge we can begin the pursuit of truth. We begin to find ourselves in the midst of the brokenness. We are all broken but that’s not something to despair over, because our brokenness makes us new. It makes us unique. It gives us a special experience that we can use to help others, to change systems, to heal the broken. It gives us a point of reference to be alive, authentic, and real.

The pursuit of truth—it is in this adventure we find ourselves and who we are truly meant to be. In my pursuit of truth, I realized the emptiness I felt wasn’t from being a widow, that ache had been around my entire life. That ache came from false teachings, faulty learned behaviors, and those things gave rise to a darkness that lived within my spirit.

Counseling pointed me towards the psychological reasons for this and why those feelings weren’t based in truth. But I’m stubborn so it took a little more than psychological facts to sway me.

What broke my stubborn heart? Love. It was love that changed me. It was learning what real love is and experiencing it. Love is the root of all things good and real and true.

Real love doesn’t sweep you off your feet; it grounds you. It gives you roots so you can grow to bear the fruits of love like kindness, encouragement, and trust.

Where did I find this love? Did some tall, dark, and handsome man appear on my doorstep and wipe away all the emptiness? Nope. I used to think that if that scenario played out I’d be healed. I’d feel loved and whole. That fact is also fake news.

You see, you can’t find love. You can’t steal it. You can’t control it. You cannot will it. Love is a gift. A gift by its very definition involves only one act: for it to be received by the donee. Gifts do not constitute any effort of the recipient EXCEPT receiving. We must open our hands to it. Open our hearts to it.

These two birds (a male and female finch) visit my feeder every morning. They always show up together or rather “dine” together. They are a living visible representation of love. They do nothing to receive their meal other than be open to it. They fly up and open their little beaks to take part in my gift of love to them.

And here’s the beauty of love, it is unending, reciprocal, and feeds our inner hearts. Love is what fills the emptiness. Love fills our buckets. When I feel the ache of emptiness return, I’ve come to realize that I’ve stopped being open to love. I’ve stopped accepting it. When I get truly frustrated and empty it is because I’m grasping at love. Seeking to control it and make it work for me to fill that hole. When we give love, we receive it which if you flip that around reads like this, when we receive love, we give it. (Mind blown.) Love will always find its way back to you, you don’t have to find it. Love shows up. Love never fails. It is us who fail to receive it.

Open your heart to the gifts around you, love is in the little things. God is love and He meets us where we are, in the small blessings of the day. Large blessings come our way too but there is an endless supply of those little acts of love we often close ourselves off to while we long for something “bigger.” Those gifts of a smile, a laugh, a meal shared, a door held open–it is in these little things our emptiness begins to be filled.

The little things fill our buckets much quicker than big things. Love is incredibly powerful. But for it to work you have to let it in. Just like for counseling to work I had to let my counselor into my pains. Just like for a true friendship to work you must allow the other person into your heart.

Our inner demons keep us from the abundance of love around us. They tell us love isn’t real. So we settle for what we think is love. They tell us everyone has bad intentions. So we shut people out. They tell us we aren’t good enough. Our value is NOT determined by our demons. Our value is determined by our Maker. But we won’t ever believe that unless we learn to trust and let Him back into the beautiful hearts He created within us.

Love is as real as the words on my walls. As real as the two little birds on the feeder. As real as the person across the table from you. Love is real. And what’s even better is love is endless, eternal, deeper, and more perfect than anything our stubborn imperfect selves can attempt to define.

Love does heal, but you must hold out your hands, and open up your heart for it to be received. Because love does not force its way. Love just flows.

I hope you find the love in your life today. If you’re looking at dark situations or difficult times, remember love is still surrounding you even if you can’t see it or feel it. It’s there. Love is always there for you. Love never fails us.

Love will change your life. It has mine, in ways I’d never have imagined.

Love, Hugs, & Sunshine,

Michelle

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