I sometimes, like many (maybe most) others, find myself having to learn the same lessons over and over and over again. This morning proved that statement true.
One of those solid lessons that I perpetually must allow myself to marinate in, is the lesson of receiving love. I am a person who, by the grace of God, thoroughly enjoys the look of delight on others’ faces when they hear a heartfelt compliment, gladly takes the opportunities to listen to the heart cries of my despairing friends, has more delight in giving than in receiving. But somehow, all-too-often, I forget how vitally important it is for my own soul and emotional well-being to be on the receiving end of that love-flow just as often as I am on the giving end.
And it’s toxic when I don’t.
Honestly, when I neglect to receive love, I begin to disbelieve in it. I begin to be reactive and grumpy with those I’m closest with. My family suffers. I suffer. And the longer this goes on, the worse it gets, because when you stop receiving love, you run out of love to give. And when you stop believing love, then everything else gets filtered through that disbelief and you begin to question others when they speak love, because somewhere along the way, you stopped up your ears and your heart.
This afternoon, I heard a whole lot of kind and thoughtful words about myself, because that’s what folks do on your birthday, right? They praise you. And all of these words have fallen on a dry river bed. But the best birthday gift I’ve received this year was the realization that this is what I’ve been doing (rejecting love) and with that realization, these words from friends have been very healing to me, because they have forced me to pause and welcome the grace of those compliments.
I know that all of this, all of these compliments, are because of Christ in me. That He is the good one. But I also know that He has poured His lavish love upon me. And if I ever doubt His magnificent love, all I need to is look to those compassionate eyes of a Lord and Lover hanging on a cross. He loves the best and the fiercest. And He makes us well, and a blessing to the world surrounding.
So here I stand again, arms open wide to receive. Because giving love first requires receiving it. And I hope to always be someone who is capable of perpetually channeling that Love that was first given to me.
June 14th, 2016 (Flag Day! And my 37th Birthday!)