March 8, 2019
I’m learning how the original purpose for most pure things are quickly perverted the opposite direction in this world. Love—at it’s root—is intended to always be given. If everyone always gave, then everyone would receive. However, the process has been reversed. There are not many people willing to give so there are a lot of people taking instead of receiving. But you must have love before you can give it. You must—or else what you are giving is not love at all.
I realized that I had manipulated in the name of love—covering my own pursuit of validation and acceptance with service and flattery. Everyone loves to be taken care of and praised—it doesn’t seem like a bad thing at all. What most people never saw is my heart behind it though. While I’m pouring them water, my subconscious would speculate whether they will think better of me for it. When I had a conversation with a stranger, I would ask them questions and I seemed engaged, though half the time I did not actually care about them or what they would say. I just wanted to do the socially acceptable thing, be viewed as a good friend, win their approval and affection. I found that I reserved my “real love” for the ones I felt would be able to love me back to the capacity I desired. But is it really love if you’re controlling it?
The root in my heart was decayed and while the fruit that came forward to the world seemed perfectly ripe, upon biting down selfishness and pride revealed a fake Styrofoam within. It’s nice—a pretty tree with fake apples decorating the branches. It looks nice in the corner of a home, but other than looking nice, it’s actually quite literally useless. A fake tree does not purify the air surrounding it, it does not produce life giving fruit, it does not grow, it does not smell or feel real—only creates the illusion that it is.
I have resolved to no longer be a fake tree. I no longer want to simply look pretty. I want to produce life that actually impacts the people around me. I want to be a love tree. Not a selfish, fake tree.
Awareness is always the first step, but where to begin? As I mentioned, you must have love to be able to give it. We are searching for love. We fool ourselves into thinking other people will sustain us. Even if we don’t say it, we act that way. I believe the most obvious manifestation of this deep desire to love and be loved is in our romantic relationships.
We search for someone who will love us no matter what, will communicate with us, will accept us despite our mistakes, and the list goes on and on. The unfortunate thing is that no person in this world can accept us and love us completely and unconditionally. But there is real love—sustaining love. Religion is not love. Jesus is though. Separate the two words before reading on because the man I’m about to talk about is a living and breathing man. Religion is a dead, ritualistic game. Just like the two trees—religion is fake; Jesus is alive and active.
He met me where I was—when I finally acknowledged him. I did not have to chase him down—he was right there. He’d been pursuing me in every moment—waiting for an opportunity to speak to my open heart. He is the perfect partner and best friend. He smiles when I am joyful and he holds me when I am sad. He cares about the intimate details of my life and the big picture—that really only he can see—though he shares snapshots with me to bring excitement for what is coming.
It’s in the moments I let him hold me where he deposits true love in my heart. It’s in these magical moments I humble myself to his incredible beauty and strength. A powerful exchange happens. He takes my rejection, the twisted root, my brokenness—he takes it all when I hand it to him and he gives me joy—a new tree with new real fruit.
He is living water. When I plant my roots in his river, wonderful things happen. Flowers bloom and life bursts from within me. No longer do I have to fake love, to scrap the bottom of my dry barrel to give. Instead my heart is so full that I don’t even need to be loved back, to be affirmed, because Jesus has already done it. I don’t have to ration or choose the recipients of my love because my mind has shifted from thinking of people as takers from me or sources to me. Instead, they are barrels that need to be filled and I have what they need—I have Jesus and I GET to share him.
This is a slice of my walk with him—he continues to transform me, day by day as I let him. I hope you’ll let him. He loves you just how you are, and too much to leave you that way.