Did you ever hear the story of the guy and the girl who met, and the guy fell in love with the girl, but she fell in love with someone else, and he always hoped she might realize that he loved her and come back to him, but she never did, because the guy she fell in love with was a really great guy, not a punk or a loser, and he really loved her back, and she married him and they lived happily ever after, and her other guy friend just remained…there. Well, I just made it up, actually, but living in a world like ours, you must have heard some variation of this story once or twice. Many times, when we love and we do not get loved in return, it’s a shattering experience. There’s so much conflict generated, sometimes bitterness stops by, resentment and anger, and for some others, withdrawal.
So often, when we lose, the memories of the times we gained seem to fade into oblivion and all our faculties focus on this one loss of love. That’s just a trick of the devil. On my most recent “loss”, I had quite a struggle. It was so crazy that I felt like I had never known love before. Things like bitterness, resentment and confusion that were so alien to me began to be familiar. I felt so many things I had never felt before, in degrees I never imagined I could feel, and it was all I could do not to give in. Suddenly, memories of every loss I’d ever experienced came flooding back and with them, more of these feelings. For the first time, I knew what people felt when they’d say they couldn’t forgive. Truthfully, it scared me to my bones. I couldn’t be this person. I could see how so many others who had let these foreigners fester turned out, and that was the worst fear of all. I had two choices: seek God, forgive and let Him heal, or don’t forgive, keep fighting, and fester for the rest of my days. Easy choice, as I’m sure you can tell. Well, easy in the sense of the results I could foresee, not necessarily the process. So I started seeking, and boy, did I seek.
One of the things I had to confront in this period of my life was the ugly face of unforgiveness. I had seen it in different ways before, but this face was one I couldn’t seem to defeat. It had pitted me against myself. I just couldn’t seem to forgive myself. I could let others go, and I was doing so, but something wicked in my head just kept telling me how it was entirely my fault…for loving, and expecting, hoping, yearning to be loved back. He was using my desire, a legitimate desire, against me. I began to detest myself for not being strong enough to “walk away” (I don’t even know what people mean when they say that anymore). I began to wish I had never even loved in the first place, but even that didn’t make me feel better. I was bitter toward myself, and I wasn’t about to let Ele off the hook for getting me into trouble with all this loving.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that giving your heart away was a mistake? Have you ever felt like you gave yourself to the wrong person(s) and what they gave you back was your own fault?
After weeks and months of seeking and searching (and more of which continues still), I realized that love has so much more to do with my heart than it does with the response of the other person or people. Love is God, and if He must transform my heart and my mind and my orientation, then I must experience love. Not just when it is good, but also when it is crazy and hurting and painful. The end is not a sadistic tendency in God’s mind, but largeness, an elasticity that takes you beyond the realms of this earth and into the realms of God. I confess, many times, it feels nothing like you imagine “supernatural” feels. But that’s where you’re headed when you love. I began to see that it may not have been God’s intention for me to lose, but I could look at it as a win, too. I won so much on the inside. I learned to love beyond myself. I learned to forgive especially when it would have been so much easier to get mad, bitter, and walk away. I learned that it is okay to be vulnerable sometimes. I learned not to judge, because all men are fallible. I learned to have compassion on even those who are bitter and angry, knowing that they’re really just hurting and need the love of the Father as much as I do. I learned to be silent in Zion, offering prayer and praise from deep within the broken places within me, and trusting Him, my Father and my King, to make beauty out of the things I simply couldn’t understand. I learned to not let one event mark my entire existence; so I had to get up in the morning, smile at other people genuinely and get work done to bless others in spite of whatever was going on inside me. I learned to listen and understand the silent sounds within. I learned the value of true friendships I may never have known otherwise. I learned to be a more balanced individual, not living on a high or a low, but on the equilibrium of God’s peace and calm delight. I got a glimpse into the heart of God and I was completely sucked in at the wealth of love in there, not just for me, but also for the ones who make mistakes…because we all do. I got a glimpse into the truth of his MAKING; to realize that love isn’t just a means to an end, LOVE IS MY LIFE and no matter how many times I lose, I WILL BE UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING ELSE BUT LOVE.
I want to share some of the words that helped me and gave me perspective in this time:
“Falling in love is a gift from God.” – Reverend Arome Emmanuel Adah
“Wise [women] hold on to God’s promises, His faithfulness, His character, His love, His forgiving power, and His plans for their futures. Foolish [women] hold on to bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, pain, fear, jealousy, disappointment, hatred, turmoil, and the past.” – Lisa Bevere
“Because of all that God has done, we now have a new perspective. We used to show regard for people based on worldly standards and interests. No longer. We used to think of the Liberating King the same way. No longer. Therefore, if anyone is united with the Liberator, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! All of this a gift from our Creator God, who has pursued us and brought us into a healthy and restored relationship with Him through the Liberator. And He has given us the same mission, the ministry of reconciliation, to bring others back to Him…He charges us to proclaim the message that heals and restores our broken relationships with God and each other.” – 2 Corinthians 5:16-19 (The Voice Bible)
In the end, losing is just a perception.