Ugh, gross, another Valentine’s Day themed post. Seriously. I know, I know, I really don’t want to be THAT person.
Honestly though, this has been on my heart for over 2 months, so it isn’t really just about Valentine’s Day.
What I DO want to talk about is holding ourselves back from love. But I don’t necessarily mean the romantic kind. Because the romantic sort of love begins somewhere else.
This thought is a burden on my heart and the forefront of my story for a long time and is the cause of some weary and lonely days.
“I am afraid that once they really get to know me, they won’t want to be my friend.” I uttered these words over a cup of coffee with my bible study leader, whom I desperately was afraid of being real with.
This was after years and years of unraveled friendships as a teenager. I came to college searching for friendships that would be the answer, that would fix that loneliness in my heart. It was a line that would continue to linger in my heart for years to come. I would just show enough of myself, of my heart to gain friendships, but never fully letting in anyone.
This has often held me back from admitting sin, or being real with friends. I cared so deeply of what people thought of me. In so many ways, I held it as an idol in my heart. I still do.
But what I found was that a fear had grown deep in my heart. Would anyone be able to penetrate my heart? Would I always be this guarded? Would I always feel this lonely?
We often times, hold out on people. We put them at arm’s length because we are afraid. At least I am. I find myself often lonely because I have held people at bay because I don’t want to let them all the way in.
This thought struck me, as I was complaining about why I am the person that does things for other people, but people don’t often serve me. (Okay, I know that sounds extremely ungrateful and selfish.)
But the point I am getting at is that people can’t serve us if they don’t know us.
They don’t know us because we don’t let people in.
And….we don’t let people in because we are afraid.
Afraid of what happens when they really get to know us.
Afraid that if we are our true selves and we care for them, they will disappoint us or hurt us.
Afraid of being rejected.
So we put up walls, we learn how to be independent and not attach ourselves to anyone. We learn how to show only what we want people to see. We learn to protect the very parts of us that we don’t want anyone to see. This is so easy in our Facebook and Instagram culture, with just a picture showing people what we want them to see of our lives, not the mess beyond it.
If you are like me, there is corner of your soul, that longs to be fully known and fully loved. Even with our built up fortress around our hearts. We long for someone to take a sledge hammer to our walls and see our muck and jump in anyway. We long for the unconditional love that our hearts are created for.
Friend, I don’t write this because I have fully grasped this, but because I know the loneliness and these are words that I desperately need to hear, truly.
Psalm 139: 13-16
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
He shows here in the Psalm that he already knows us. So much more deeply than anyone else ever could. We cannot keep any part of us hidden from our creator. Even more so, he loves us. Despite everything, he loves us. God loves you, he loves you. Can we let that sink in….
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
because you have seen my affliction;
you have known the distress of my soul,
We so are loved by the God of the universe, what do we have to fear of men. God knows every bit of muckiness in our heart, and yet he still sent his Son to die for us.
When we rest secure in that, what do we have to fear? What can others do to us.
Really it comes down to the fact, do we believe what God says about us? That we are adopted into the family, that Christ has covered us, that we are now righteous in his eyes. Do we rest secure in that? Do we believe that to be true?
If we do believe that then we can do as Detrich Bonehoffer says:
“Because Christ stands between me and another, I must not long for unmedi-ated community with that person .. , ‘Christ between me and an other’ means that others should encounter me only as the persons they already are for Christ … Spiritual love recognises the true image of the other person as seen from the perspective of Jesus Christ. It is the image Jesus Christ has formed and wants to form in all people.”
We can fully love others, and let others fully love us, when we know that God fully loves us, and fully accepted us. We do not have to fear rejection, because we have been accepted.
Friends, take heart, we are fully known and fully loved by a God who sees us and welcomes us in, under his wings, into his family.