Love Defined. (April 2017)

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“Love Defined” is an intermittent series of writings that reflect the way “love” continuously gets redefined in my life over the course of my experiences over time. My goal is to have a record of the way love matures and manifests itself in action as I continually give it and practice it in my life.

Love Defined in April 2017:

Love is an continuous act of respecting a person’s decision to reject you — though I fail at honoring this about twice a week, I am learning that love and respect are so interconnected and need to co-exist. I used to think that “lack of communication” is the downfall of many relationships, but I now believe that underlying the communication is the level of respect two people have for each other. When that respect is lost, then even good communication won’t really matter. I have to come to terms is that what was being lost over time unbeknownst to me was mutual respect – of each other’s time, of each other’s commitments, of each other’s needs. This lack is probably why I still find myself wanting to keep in contact despite knowing better. This next month, the goal is to fully and truly honor the decision of the rejection, continually choosing to respect space that was desired.

Love is the coming to terms with what love looks like now — have you ever wondered how much suffering you’re able to take on simply because you love someone else? It’s astounding how much bandwidth I have for “punishment” and “pain” because of how much “love equity” I possess with someone. I think the breakup process is the gradual exhausting of that love tank, so that you’re able to actually objectively observe the condition of the relationship, and make better decisions about your own health. I absolutely hate having to “demote” someone who no longer wants my heart from the position of “significant other” to “just-as-significant-as-the-rest-of-my-friends.” As someone who has committed the past three years of his life to voraciously communicating edifying, uplifting words to others, to actually say beautiful things that I have in my heart to tell them that I see in them, it really really sucks that the relationship is no longer in a place where they can receive it in the way I want to express it. But that’s where it is now – they have chosen to lower their level of significance in my life and therefore it’s no longer appropriate to affirm who they are to me at that level. The only encouragement for me is knowing that God can actually take over and surround that person with even better words and encouragement and life that I could only dream of saying. In fact, I know that’s the conversation God has always been having, and knowing that, I am glad and more able to step away.

Love is a truth-teller that is not concerned with making you feel better — A breakup is when you decide someone isn’t worth your time anymore. That they are no longer worth fighting for. That the value of your life increases when they are removed from it. That you believe in a future where you are happier without them than you are with them, and you want to invest in that future. That’s the subtext behind the action. That’s why it hurts – it’s a rejection that has evidence. They tried you out and decided that in the long term you were not for them. But love is always revealing truth, and that truth does provide the necessary perspective to focus on health and wisdom. And the truth is that I will never know what is in her heart, and it will never be shared or made known to me. That evidence is clear. The wisdom, however, I am gaining from this process become the guideposts that will help position me better for when love for someone else arouses in me again eventually.

Loving ourselves.

“We humans find our highest intention when we are moved by love.” – Erwin Raphael McManus

It’s so true – there’s a positive correlation between the things I love and the time I find myself having to pursue it. When I’m inspired to write a song, or even a blog, I don’t care whether it’s 3AM and I have work the next day; I will keep on doing it because I am motivated and I have such a great love for it.

I find that this is also true with my love for people and individuals, too.

Sometimes, I get hurt when people don’t have time for me. After all, the thought I have is that if they truly love me, then time would be made, right? And I go back and forth with feeling so selfish about it. I start to think, who am I to demand time or demand attention? What makes me worthy? Friendships aren’t supposed to keep score. I should be grateful with any time spent at all! Right? …But it makes me feel like I’m not worth the intention. Then my brain goes deeper: it starts to make me feel like I’m not worth their intention and their love that intention represents.

I have a tendency to over-give, well past my reserves. It happens especially when I start loving people. But I realize that when I do, it’s because the force of love motivating me to do so far outpaces the actual resources I have. I often realize too late that I’m empty, and I’m left with a sadness and desperation that, sometimes, I have no idea how to deal with. That’s when I start shutting down, feel sorry for myself, and close myself off to the world and friends around me. No one cares about me, I think. They don’t care about you, they probably never did, and you were stupid for even trying to help. I know it’s a lie, absolutely. But my world gets so twisted up inside and I feel like I don’t deserve to get recharged. I start feeling like a hypocrite and a fraud, touting to others to “know your worth” and “embrace the way God made you,” only to be so far away from believing that stuff about myself. I realized that those are dangerous thoughts, and a precarious place to be.

So I’m slowly learning to never give love beyond the love you have for yourself.

See, a thought occurred to me. If to show love is to show intention, why didn’t I have the intention to love myself? Then it hit me: when we truly start to love ourselves, we will start moving with intention toward finding the healing we need. It starts with us – a love for ourselves. That’s where we find the capacity to love others. That’s where we get recharged. That’s when we start gaining self-respect and self-confidence. That’s when we say no and cut ties from the caustic relationships that bring us down. That’s when we start honoring our bodies. That’s when we start making our lives matter. See, when we embrace the way God made us, and truly thank Him for the life that He gave us, and when we start to live in the limitless love God has for us… we get filled. And the outflow of that space becomes our intention and expression of love and quality time toward others.

If we are to have any healthy relationship with others, we need to be intentional about fixing the relationship we have with ourselves first. That only comes from us first declaring the truth that we are worthy of love. So when we are hurt, we need to move with intention toward healing. That move can only be motivated by a love for our self. Guard your heart, so you can consistently be the person you need to be for the hurting people you are trying to reach. Learning to love beyond ourselves is impossible, unless our source of love comes from God. But God fills us up first, and uses our hands, mouth, words, and feet to move on His behalf and pour out those blessings onto others. If we are to be good and useful buckets of God’s favor and grace, we need to make sure we’re clean and free of holes.

So love yourself. It’s so important, and the first step toward healing.

Joseph Pecson

Also, please check out MosaicLA’s podcast on having Intention, spoken by Erwin McManus:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/life-in-color-intentional/id142417894?i=169758300&mt=2