I just wrapped up Beth Moore's Loving Well series.
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgement Day--our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life--fear of death, fear of judgement--is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love--love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
1 John 4:16-19 The Message
Beth talked about God's love for us and our love for others...and God's love for others THROUGH us. Most of the women in the group (there were 13 of us) were always reluctant to share. I couldn't figure it out. I mean, we're all listening to the same fabulous woman sharing her heart and God's heart and she's HILARIOUS in this series and then...silence. No sharing. Questions...no answers. I couldn't figure it out. Or--if there were answers, they were what I call preaching answers (which I used to give all the time). It's the "Well, I think sometimes we...". I'm telling you, I basically sliced myself open and exposed all of my insides to these women in an effort to get them to open up.
Then something occurred to me. I wondered if these women haven't yet grasped the depth of God's love for them and therefore cannot love themselves so deeply. And so they are living in fear of being judged, exposed, etc. I don't know, I really don't, that's just a thought that occurred to me yesterday. And as my friend, Adrienne, says--when you have a thought that's smarter than you are, it's probably God. I really have never thought much about self-love.
We're called to be selfless, sure. But that certainly doesn't mean becoming a doormat. Now I'm talking about myself, not the women from my bible study. Have I been a doormat? In my marriage, I do believe I have. Even when I tried to stand up for myself, I still didn't set true boundaries that show self-respect. And actually it's not just in my marriage. In my quest to control how people feel about me, I made decisions about what I said and what I did based upon how I thought it would make someone feel about me. WEIRD, SAD, PATHETIC.
It took just one circumstance for me to realize this about myself. I won't go into the details, because it would take too long, but I basically knew on Tuesday that I was going to have set a boundary and stick to it NO MATTER WHAT. I was terrified. And it was SO hard. Ridiculously hard, actually. And it didn't feel good until about 24 hours later. Do you know why it took so long? Because I was wondering all that time what the person on the other side of my boundary was thinking about me. I have a long, hard road ahead of me but I'm ready for it.
I'm waiting for my copy of Boundaries by those really smart guys, Cloud and Townsend, to come in the mail. I also ordered Safe People...to help me learn to look for certain characteristics in people to both gravitate to and stay away from.
So...back to loving well. I'm thinking that we really cannot love others well until we've embraced God's love for us and mirror His love for us. Until then, we'll always look to others for love and acceptance. And others' love for us just cannot match God's love for us. It can come close, but it can't match it because only God is God. And God IS perfect love.
Okay, now for an update. In 2 weeks I will be back in COLORADO!! I feel like I'm going home. God so generously gave me an opportunity to sell real estate AND have income stability while I'm getting back in touch with my past clients. This means I can work from home a lot and NOT put my kids in full time daycare. I will be living temporarily in my friends' finished basement. I'll be looking for either a house-sitting position or someone's mother-in-law apartment until I know what I can truly afford monthly.
Jackson is excited to see his old friends. He's disappointed that we're not going to be living in our old house. I'm sure it will be hard for both of us to drive by our house but not get to live there. Oh well, it's only a house!
More updates to come!