Lately, I have been thinking that my time here at “Little House In The Ozarks” is ‘done’. Work on the Little House continues, and the same tasks go on every day. Every day is a ‘big deal’ to me and Bud, and I’m grateful for every single day, regardless of how mundane it must seem to other people. I still thank God every day for my home, my husband and my pets. I could write forever about something my chickens do, or post pictures of them every day. Since I’ve never had children, my motherly instincts are fulfilled by taking care of them. I do realize, however, that not everyone gets as excited over my feathered friends as I do. I also realize that my mundane life here is not of interest to most.
I do always have a thing or two to say, though…even if most don’t care what I think or what I have to say. So for now, I’m not yet going to delete my blog or give it up.
The thing on my heart today is the subject of ‘love’. If I had to make a guess, I’d say that most people do not know what true unconditional love really is. How many of us have read 1 Corinthians 13…a description of what unconditional love is, and think it’s a nice thing to strive for, but we know we do not have it in our own hearts?
Love suffers long and is kind;
love does not envy;
love does not parade itself,
is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely,
does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity,
but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)
I use to read this scripture and wonder, “How can anyone do this?” I KNEW I couldn’t do it. I knew I wanted to, and thought it was what we should strive for. I now know why… Or at least it’s MY theory on why, even most Christians can’t love like this.
I believe that there are a lot of factors contributing to it, but at the core, I think most people are not ‘whole’. I think it’s because they have a void in their lives that can’t be filled. They try to fill this void by working a lot to earn ‘validation’ or accolades that make them feel like a ‘somebody’. They fill the void and mask the hurt with drugs, food and alcohol. They spend their lives manipulating people, controlling people, to get what they need from that person. They ‘give’ or ‘take care’ of people in hopes they will get reciprocation in kind to fill their void. They take ‘selfies’ and post them on Facebook, pinning their ‘worth’ on their looks, how fat or thin they are, and how many ‘likes’ or comments they receive. They seek approval and ‘love’ by performing and people pleasing…trying and trying to be more perfect…because when they are ‘perfect’ they will be loved. Or they are on the other side, controlling, thinking, “If that person will just CHANGE, do this, do that, treat me this way or that…then I will feel loved.” Many people go from person to person to person, to people of the opposite sex, to people of the same sex…hoping that the next person will ‘meet their needs’. Finally, they will find someone who loves them.
There is a common thread in all of the above. It’s a selfish kind of ‘love’. It’s always looking and looking and looking for someone, something, some place…where they will feel validated, loved, and approved. They will finally find someone that will ‘get them’, understand them, make their heart pitter-patter. Hoping they will find some person or experience that will take away their sadness and discomfort with themselves.
How can anyone love unselfishly? Most of us know nothing else but ‘selfish love’ and we are driven to do anything that will kill the pain of not being loved or approved, or which will fill the bottomless or nameless void in our lives.
There are many who say that Jesus will fill the void. While this is true, just as all sickness does not leave your body at the moment of ‘salvation’… all emotional sickness does not leave your body at the moment of ‘salvation’, either.
I speak from personal experience. I am not blaming anyone–the TRUTH, is that broken people marry other broken people, they have broken marriages and produce broken children, and it is a cycle. There are varying degrees of ‘brokenness’. We are responsible for ourselves and doing what we need to do to become ‘whole’. Wallowing in our misery and blaming other people solves nothing, and ultimately, in the end, God will ask us about US–not what other people did to us.
I was broken…and absolute mess…and I needed a Savior. I thank God that He can pick up all of the broken pieces and hopelessness, and make something much better out of all of those pieces.
I hasten to add that I am not perfect. I still have a lot of flaws and I am a work in progress…but in later years, I have HOPE, and I have an inkling of what ‘unconditional love’ really is, and more and more each day…I am becoming more whole. This makes me more and more able to ‘give’..rather than always looking to receive.
You will never be able to fully love other people unconditionally until you, yourselves are WHOLE. Unconditional love is giving love without expecting anything in return–not expecting a reciprocation–not expecting a certain reaction from the other person. It’s being able to serve another person’s needs without getting your own needs met. But I speak from experience–when you are emotionally whole, all of your emotional needs are filled by the Lord.
People can’t fill your voids, because people are imperfect and fallible. People will always fail you, eventually. When the Lord heals you and makes you whole, –though there can still be feelings of rejection and hurt, your well-being and approval are solid, they are ‘innate’…and all those things are from above. Finally, you have the illusive ‘peace’.
How did this happen for me?
- Getting to the point of complete and total brokenness and desperation, and finally going to the right place to find answers (God) rather than people, places, experiences, and things. God is ALWAYS the answer.
- I read a book that really spoke to me and opened my eyes about a lot of things. (“Lord, I Want To Be Whole” by Stormie O’Martian)
- Experiencing being unconditionally loved by a Pastor and His Wife, spending time with them, (and their parishioners) and being mentored by them. (I hasten to add–for those who are convinced that I am ‘racist’ …that this was a black church.) They modeled unconditional love to me and loved me in the unconditional way that God loves us. I didn’t know what it was, nor had I ever experienced it–being loved for simply being ME. Love and approval wasn’t dependent on whether I went to their church, there was no judgment or lectures for the problems I was having at the time, it wasn’t dependent on what I did or didn’t do, it wasn’t selfish, it wasn’t sexual or ungodly, it wasn’t dependent on me pleasing them or meeting their needs. They were able to see me as God sees me. I was loved for simply being the precious daughter of God He made me to be, and they treated me as such.
- Getting deliverance prayer and being delivered…from shame, from rejection, from fear of rejection, from selfishness, from rebellion, from pride, etc., etc., etc., It has been a long and painful on-going process, with many setbacks. Deliverance is a process. You peel back one layer, and it reveals another. My ‘break-through’ came when I was praying for a lady who had all of the same issues as I did, and the Pastor came up behind us and started praying for her. All of the things he was praying for, were the same things I needed deliverance for. The pain started bubbling up from deep within. I desperately wanted and needed all of those things he was praying for. I started crying and he began praying for both of us, and I believe I was delivered of a lot of things that night. That was the major turning point in my life on a lot of things.
My healing wasn’t a ‘quick fix’ or some ‘miracle’. It was a very long process borne out of desperation and misery on my part, walking around with this gaping wound in my chest on a daily basis. It couldn’t be physically seen, but it was my daily companion.
My healing and deliverance required that I step out in faith and do many things I did not feel like doing…such as reaching out to others (namely my husband) when I felt like they should be reaching out to me. Meeting others needs, when I had my own needs that were begging to be filled. Looking at what “I” was doing wrong…what was wrong in my OWN life, rather than constantly looking at what the other person was doing wrong.
Why does God require this? Why can’t he just zap us, and make us whole? It’s my personal belief that we would not be grateful enough to hold it, and would simply go back to that sinful wallowing, and allow all of that junk back in, if we had not been through these painful, but healing experiences. I can tell you that there are things that I am so grateful to be delivered of, that I don’t even want to touch or go near those things again, nor allow that sin back into my life.
As I said, I had been so desperate to get my own needs met, I believe I needed to practice and purposely work on meeting others needs (trying to love them unconditionally, without expecting anything in return) because I had been under the impression that everything was everyone else’s fault. As I gained more freedom, and I worked on trying to do this, I got more and more healing and more freedom in my life.
When I mentioned that I needed to work on meeting others needs at the expense of my own, I do not mean becoming a ‘door mat’, or doing it in a codependent way. I want to do another post on boundaries, and/or codependency…and maybe homosexuality, too. These topics have just been heavily on my heart and they won’t go away. I keep composing the blog post in my head…it’s full of things I want to say. I’m battling with myself, telling myself that people won’t read it, they don’t want to hear it, they think I’m a hypocrite, etc. Bud says that’s usually a sign I need to write about it. So here it is.
That’s it in a nutshell. This post is not directed to any person in particular. I love you all…and I am imperfect…a work in progress. I know the things I do often don’t make any sense to people who are hell bent on judging me, or desperate to get their own needs met…but just because one doesn’t understand why I do what I do NOW, does not mean you might not understand in the future, nor does it mean I am ‘wrong’…(though I admit that often am.)
I have found that if I am ruminating about what someone else is doing wrong, it’s often a sign that I need to figure out what is wrong in my own life. If I draw the circle around myself, and take care of the person inside, the issues I have with ‘the other person’ usually disappear…and it makes me FREE!