Tag Archives: Love

Tough Love

Listen up.

You’re not ready to hold a heart at all, let alone mine.

I am a “one and only” kind of woman, and you’re an “as much as you can get” kind of guy. And as long as you’re out there, trying to fill yourself (or numb yourself) with any number of women, you do not have what it takes to be with me. In fact, if you’re out there trying to fill or numb yourself with any number of things, you’re not ready for a woman like me.

Because you’re out there looking for something, anything to make it all better, and you’re looking in all of the wrong places. And don’t look at me, because I don’t exist to make you better. I’m not here to inspire you to change. You are responsible for your own journey – to decide whether the way you’re doing things is enough for you, and, if it’s not, to make changes until you look at you and you’re happy.

It’s on you, because there is already a man out there ready to make me his one and only. He already knows no woman (not even me), no amount of money, no amount of success, no amount of material possessions can fill him, and he’s brave enough to go through difficult things without having to numb himself. Already.

So whether you change to be a “one and only” kind of man is of no consequence to me. But since you are attracted to me, since you want to be around me and get to know me better, and since you seem to think I should spend my time and energy and heart on you, I just want to be clear: you’re not ready for my time, energy, and heart. Where you are right now, you literally can’t handle it.

And if you ever hope to have the time, energy, and heart of a woman like me in the future, boy, you’re going to have to change.

Tough love,

Lydia

 

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Jesus Is God!

“I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ” (Mahatma Gandhi).

Gandhi started a thing.  (Actually, he started many things).  He started a very popular trend among non-Christians of pointing out how un-Christ-like professing Christians can be.  I’m not actually going to disagree with that point, because I think there is validity to it.  I disagree with the sentiment fueling this trend:  that in his humanity, Jesus was this chill, hippie-like figure who was all compassion and basically a judgment-free zone.  I also strongly dislike the fact that Christians have begun to allow the world’s view of Jesus to dictate Christ-likeness.  Since Jesus was compassionate and non-judgmental, we must also be as well.

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here:  Jesus was compassionate.  Throughout his earthly life and ministry,  Jesus spent his time among the lowest of the low in His society, looking after them.  It seems he protected them from the religious leaders of His day who were all judgment and basically a compassion-free zone.  He gave up His rights as the Son of God in order to die an excruciatingly humiliating death for all sin, to make a way for people to know Him and His Father.  BUT I don’t want you to think His compassion and sacrifice were a matter of weakness or softness; on the contrary, He was the Only One strong enough to live life and die the way He did.

Because Jesus is God.  He possesses ALL of God’s authority and power and He always has.  Whether you identify with Christ or not, you cannot tell me that I must live a life filled with compassion and void of absolutes because that’s what your version of Jesus did.  Your version of Jesus might have lived that way; the Jesus of the Bible did not.

Consider Jesus’ authority and power during His earthly ministry with me:

  • “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and money changers doing business.  When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned their tables.  And He said to those who sold doves, ‘Take those things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!'” (John 2:13-16 NKJV).
  • “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said … ‘Whoever receives one little child like this in my name receives Me.  But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea'” (Matthew 18:2,5-6 NKJV).
  • “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17-18 NKJV).
  • “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'” (Matthew 27:18 NKJV).

Dear people,  He is coming back again to earth, and if your version of Jesus is soft, I am afraid you will be caught off-balance by this: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns.  He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.  And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.  He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16 NKJV).

I am not here to give you a watered-down version of Jesus, a Jesus who makes you comfortable and complacent.  I am here to show you the Jesus of the Bible, and to represent HIM, not your version of Him.  I will point you to His compassion and love and grace, but I will also point you to His truth and authority.  You cannot have the Jesus of the Bible and only take one or the other.  Take all of Him, and endeavor to be like all of Him!!!

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Celebrate With Me

Some people call it a birthday, but I think of it more as an anniversary, because it’s more than just a new life, it’s a growing relationship. This week, I’m celebrating five years with Him!

He spent a long time pursuing and wooing me, but honestly, I mostly ignored Him.  I felt unlovable and unworthy of His pursuit. As another man and other pursuits entered my life and I focused on them, He wasn’t even a blip on my radar. Eventually, that man and my other ambitions fell through, and miraculously, He was still there, insisting: I love you, you are Mine. And finally, five years ago, I believed Him.

Like any other relationship, it has had its ups and downs. I’ve been through fire and flood, though never alone: He has faithfully held my hand through it all. Even on nights when I’ve fallen asleep crying over very grievous situations, He draws me into Himself.

My heart yearns for the grand gestures of an extravagant love, and these desires have been met in my relationship with Jesus.

The first gesture was of course that He bore the punishment for my rebellion against God, and paved the way for restoration of the relationship that rebellion had destroyed.

The second gesture has been unveiling my identity in Him. I have always struggled with issues of self-worth, but Christ has been showing me through the Bible who I am in Him and how God really sees me. I have also learned not to give certain people stage time in my life anymore; people who have trampled my heart through consistently unkind words and actions.

The third gesture has been loving me through my less than lovable times. I am so thankful that God (unlike many humans) does not love me based on my lovability. He just loves me.

The fourth gesture is how He has orchestrated my life in good ways. Sure, there have been really hard times, but every single one of them has worked to my benefit. (And I’m not just saying that). If my life had gone according to my plan and what I thought was good at the time, I would have missed out on meeting so many people, doing so many things. For example, if I had gone to school five years ago as I had planned, I would have graduated before I had met Hope, Emily, Allyson, Whitney, and a whole host of other people. The past five years are FULL of examples like this.

And the fifth gesture I want to mention is His delight in me and my using my gifts and talents. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and producing lately, and most of it is not church- or ministry-oriented, but I feel that God is glorified in it because I am enjoying what He has given me.

Will you celebrate with me what God has done in my life over the past five years ? He has truly done great things!

 

Dear Jesus, thank You so much for Your faithful love for me. Thank You for giving Yourself so I can know You. Thank You for Your thoughts toward me, and that how You see me is so much different from how others see me, and how I sometimes see myself. Thank You for pursuing and loving me at my darkest, most hateful. Thank You for Your good plans for my life, even when I’m being stubborn or I just can’t see. And thank You for giving me the freedom to enjoy what You’ve given me.

I know a lot of people will think this is completely cheesy, and honestly, I don’t care. Your love is worth celebrating, and five years is a milestone. I don’t have the words to express my full gratitude, my full depth of feeling toward you. I can only say You are loving and good and faithful. 

I am so excited to see what You do in the next five years!

I love You, Jesus!

 

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In Love With a Feeling

Dear Baby Sister,

Do you know I write a lot of this for you? Sure, I address it to all women in so if somebody needs a real-world talking-to, she can find it here. I hate seeing anyone make the same mistakes I’ve made, especially in matters of the heart. But I care most about you, because watching you trample your heart is slowly killing mine. And I know that you’re going to be mad that I address you specifically here, but I read your blog today, and it’s time for a reality check.

Let’s talk about love, Baby Sister. Let’s talk about what love is, and what love isn’t. I tried talking to you about this in March, when I told you about how a friend and I got into a mild debate about whether or not love was a feeling. In both the debate and my conversation with you, I expressed that love was not a feeling, although feelings often accompany love. You asked me what I knew about it, since I’d never been in an “official”, dad-approved relationship.

Although I was too hurt to respond then, I’ll tell you now. I know about love, because as you stated in your post, love is a choice. I know about love because even without the “official”, dad-approved relationship, I am loved deeply. First John 3:16 says, “This is how we know love: Christ laid down His life for us. And we also should lay down our lives for the brethren.” True love is a setting aside of ourselves for the true benefit of another, following the example of Christ. So while my relationship resume is virtually nonexistent, I have experienced Christ’s love and Christ-like love, and I can spot a counterfeit.

Although you will doubtless experience feelings for those you love, my dear Baby Sister, love is NOT a mere feeling. It is so much higher and holier than a feeling. In talking about love only in terms of the feelings, you exchange love for something cheap and far less superior. And you don’t even know you’ve done it, because those feelings make you feel so good, don’t they? I know I like that feeling, when I’m just getting to know a guy, and anything can happen. (Heck, we could even get married). Every little thing he does is just so sweet, so considerate, so Christ-like. I’ll even go a little crazy, wearing make-up and dressing up a little bit every time I see him.  I like the nervous butterflies in my stomach when I’m around him. It’s all just so exciting. And sometimes even I think silly things like, “I might be falling for him.” But sooner or later, I come down from that feelings-induced high when I realize he’s a player and he’s just using me, he doesn’t even like me, he’s kind of a jerk, we don’t value the same things, we’re going different directions, or he’s just too short. And I usually realize that I didn’t really even like the guy, let alone love him.

Another thing, Baby Sister. Love is not being willing to do anything the other person asks you to do, even if they tell you that’s what love is to them. Even when you truly love people, you are not their doormat. Yes, love requires sacrifice, but more often than not, that sacrifice involves surrendering them to God’s will and what is God’s best for them, rather than insisting on your way for them or your way with them.  It doesn’t involve flying to the moon and collecting moon dust for them.

So your two great loves, Baby Sister? Based on how you described them, you didn’t love them. Not really. You loved how they made you feel and you thought you should express that love by doing whatever they asked. And if you really believe that’s love, I’m sorry, but you’ve been robbed of the Real Deal and left with a fake in its place.

You said, “One of the cruelest things a person can do is to awaken someone’s love without the intention of truly loving them.” (Which is a paraphrase/misquote of a Bob Marley quote: “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.”) In Song of Songs, the Shulamite woman admonishes other women “not to awaken love until the time is right.” Solomon was a wise man; in Proverbs 4:23, he says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” YOU are responsible for diligently keeping your heart in regard to these matters. I’m not saying guys can’t and don’t lead girls on, because sometimes they do, but you were not lead on in either of these instances. You awoke your own heart, your own love, without any consideration of whether the time was right or not. I know your heart hurts, Baby Sister, and I am sorry about that. I know when it hurts its easiest to blame someone else. But I also know that GREAT healing comes when we take responsibility for our own actions.

I want to tell you about one of my greatest loves.

She came into my life when I was five years old. Growing up, we shared a bedroom, and she was always taking my stuff and making messes that I had to clean up. She would also occasionally pummel me, but I could never tell on her because that was tattling, and I could never pummel her back because that would have been wrong. (And also I was nowhere near as strong). But she was so sensitive, she would get really emotional if somebody pretend died, or if our older sister threatened to suck my brains out through my nose with a vacuum cleaner. As we got older, we got our own bedrooms (which did wonders for our relationship), and she would come to my room and talk and I would go to her room and talk. She always knew when and if I liked a guy (even though she blabbed one time), and typically, I knew who she liked. There was this one time when I had just had my wisdom teeth out and I was out from all the painkillers. I woke up and she was giving me a manicure and reading me this random story she was writing. We went through all of life’s ups and downs together.

Then, what felt like out of nowhere, there was distance. Backhanded remarks. Lashing out. She started saying mean things to other people about me. Things that made me insecure and sad. I tried to spend time with her, but I was constantly being accused of minding her business. And one day, she broke my heart all together, I think probably more than anyone else ever had.

But you know something? I still love her. I’m sitting here, bawling because of her, but I still love her. Why? It’s not because she makes me feel good about myself. It’s not because she’s this wonderful person who has her life together. It’s not because she’s easy to love. It’s not even because she’s my sister. I don’t know if there even is a because. I just love her.

Would I do anything for her? Absolutely not. I try to maintain a relationship with her, to give of my time and energy, but I don’t do everything she wants. Sometimes, in recent months, my love for her has meant sitting back and letting God pursue her, rather than trying to intervene myself. It means watching her do things I would never desire for her, knowing that God can redeem them.

I know, Baby Sister, that God loves you so much more fully than I ever can. It is my greatest prayer, the one I breathe every instant, that you will wake up one morning and realize how deeply loved you are and that will inspire you to deeply (and truly) love others.

I love you!

Your Next Oldest Sister

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