Friday, February 22, 2013

My Ideal v. My Reality: A Dare to Love and be Loved

In the past, I built a wall that dared one to cross. History filled with wounds and scars as well as painful injuries that I tried to ignore. My body language warned everyone to keep their distance. Too many fractured relationships left my heart calloused and nearly impenetrable. I was on guard, protecting my soul for the inevitable rejection to come. A tomb of relationships early on in life left me pushing away anyone who dared to express love. Hurt people hurt people, I’ve been told. It was true in my life.

Flashbacks of many goodbyes I have had to say come to mind. Some are less painful than others. All of them shape me. When friends move away… someone cuts you out of their life unexpectedly… or even if death determines the finality of a relationship… it hurts. And in each of those moments, where pain blinds my security, I find myself hesitant to reach out and make any more friends.
My initial reaction with disappointment from people is to protect my heart (and the hearts of my family). I think twice before I give away information about my life. Reluctant to make investments that won’t yield a good return, I hold back. Initially, I want to weigh the risks because no one can promise me the future with friendship.

My ideals simply didn’t match up with my reality. Pining over friendship vows sworn by Anne Shirley and Diana Barry in the beauty of Green Gables, left me unfulfilled. Deep down I knew it was unrealistic to think all childhood friendships could stand the test of time. Still, the movie, Beaches, left me longing for bonds that would stand secure at our death beds. My mind understood that even Rachel, Monica and Phoebe had written scripts that helped them work out their differences as Friends. So, how could I put aside the friendship fantasy and embrace reality instead?

I have learned that one has to be willing to risk pain if they yearn to experience joy. True friendship cannot be found in catering to our wounds and refusing to get back up again. In opening our hearts and sharing our experiences, we find that we are not alone. It is only when we are found trustworthy that we experience that same dependability in our friend. When we put our hearts out there to love others, we find the devotion we long for in return. Camaraderie is understood only by those who are willing to take the risk.
I allow my heart to love more than caution tells me is sensible. And another broken friendship leaves me second guessing my worth in this world. Why should I even care? Often, I find myself just wanting to throw in the towel. What is the point of all the pain when the part of my heart I allowed to love big shatters into pieces again? Is there really any point to all of this loving when it ends in a forced letting go?

“When someone fails you, don’t be stunned. It just confirms what the Bible teaches – that we’re all sinners, that there’s none that is righteous, no not one. While it is important to love and cherish our friends, our dependence should be on God alone – for only He is without sin and only He will never let us down.” – Dee Brestin, The Friendship of Women

These days, I appear an open book, putting my everything out there as a statement of “take me or leave me”. As if it doesn’t matter. It’s a dare to love and be loved.

If I were truly to unveil my soul to you, there would be a window I peak through offering but guarding. I extend myself carefully. This is my calling. I am nothing if I will not risk it all for love. Love for my God. Love for others. Trusting is not natural or even easy. Yet I know to dare is the only way to live. There were arms opened wide on the cross reminding me of a cost so great it forbids me from coddling my own wounded heart. I cannot deny His calling on my life. He gave up everything. When I desire to cling to my life, I look at the way He sacrificed His and I lay mine down. In His love I find security and I wish to give others a glimpse of that, too.

My needs and desires will be filled by my God. My fears and scars are for Him to bandage. My life is to fulfill His mission: Love God with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength and to Love others as myself.

“Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” - Galatians 6:9

 I'm linking up with my friend Darcy Wiley at her blog, Message in a Mason Jar for her Take Heart series. This week we are talking about kinship and community. Be sure to check out the encouragement over there!

Take Heart Series ~ Feb 2013


  1. It's so hard to know how to lower our expectations of people without veering toward cynicism. At least for me! I think you picked the perfect way to round out the post..."do not grow weary in doing good..." And that good can't be dependent on any good in the receiver, only on the good that comes from Him. Preaching to myself here. P.S. I loved Dee Brestin's book when I read it several years ago.

    1. Her book was eye-opening for me. It's all about Him.