The third entry in my journey towards a deeper relationship with God:
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again
and you will be rebuilt. . . .
and go out to dance with the joyful. (Jeremiah 31:3-4)
Our experiences with love often shape the conclusions we make about it. Many have come to the realization that love is fleeting and untrustworthy, and that if it even does exist in this world, you can never rely on it; it’ll go away eventually and leave us to be alone again. Some of us have been so traumatized by past relationships that we believe that we don’t deserve to love, for fear of getting hurt… again. These experiences are some people’s love stories.
I felt this way. It was certainly my love story. And it certainly influenced the way I perceived how God loved me. I thought he would leave too, just like everyone else. Heck, I don’t even feel him near me, or if he even loves me.
But the conclusions we come to about love, especially God’s love, are often not true. In times like these, when we feel this way about love, we have to delve into the Word and see what it has to say about the subject, for that is the truth. And this is what God says about how he loves us.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 john 3:1)
And hope does not disappoint, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:5)
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (John 15:9)
You have to deal with your love story (that is, your experiences with love) in order to see how warped it has become from the truth. Here is mine:
S left in the _th grade to go to I.
P left in the _th grade to go to M.
J left me to be with D.
M left me to go back to C.
H left for J.
S chose C.
G left to go back to I.
K left to be with T.
M left me to be with B.
D left with me to be with E.
N left me to be with A.
D left with me to be with C.
L left me to be with J.
Quite a list, I’ve realized. And after seeing all this, I realized where the source of my flawed thinking regarding love has come from. Now, it may look bad, but most of them really aren’t. Some relationships fell apart due to circumstances beyond our control, but the fact remains that I felt like all the people I’ve ever loved left me in some way, whether they meant to or not. And I played the victim card. It didn’t matter if I left them or broke up with them, the perception is skewed as them doing the leaving. How selfish and untrue. But I brought this resulting mistrust and unbelief in consistent love into my relationship with God. I’ve felt like I’ve been left behind so many times in so many relationships that without even realizing it I assumed that God would do the same. It is difficult for me to be intimate solely because I am afraid they would leave before I knew it. And while I have forgiven each and every one of them, the lingering opinions about love still remained.
Suffice to say, that way of thinking had to be dealt with, forgiven, and repented from if ever I am to truly experience a real and lasting closeness with my creator. I need to delve into the Word and get fed from it daily in order to break the notions that I have about love, in order for God to fully bless me with his.
John Eldredge has this to say:
We don’t believe the Scriptures because they don’t seem to align with what we are feeling right now […] We are so stubborn in our unbelief because we aren’t at that moment experiencing whatever it is God says is true […] We cannot base our convictions on whether or not we are feeling or experiencing the truth of what God says. It is an arrogant posture, to let our immediate state of being be the judge of whether the Scripture is true for us. I know I have to start with the truth, embrace it, stake my all on it, and then later – sometimes right away, sometimes down the road – I will experience its truthfulness. (p.100-1).
I asked God to forgive me today for agreeing with the lies the enemy has been feeding me all those times I was vulnerable when those relationships fell apart. I asked him to secure me in his everlasting love, to believe in it, and to trust in it. I thanked God for my love story, and how he has used it over the course of my entire life to illustrate to me how much he truly and eternally loves me. I cried today as I asked him to heal my heart of all the hurt I have experienced. I had no idea how much hurt I still had not dealt with. But I’m glad I dealt with it today.
Now, it’s your turn. Have you dealt with it yet?
Allow God to reveal to you your love story. Then give him the pen so he can finish it for you.
OH! And as a side note, guess what scripture I ran into in Walking with God on page 100?? John 16:27!!!! It was the same scripture God told me to read on the plane two days ago (see entry titled, Drawing Deeper -2:What Should I Read?).. the one I had no idea what it was for. Now I realize that God was foreshadowing the revelation and breakthrough I was to go through today.
Thank you God. I love you. Really.