I’ve been walking through a tough season relationally with those that I love and adore. Perhaps you have been too. Perhaps you have lost the adoration and are clinging to love…or maybe not. Sometimes people are super hard to love…and honestly, sometimes so am I.
In an attempt to remind myself to live out Colossians 3:14 I will share 5 tips I have found that will help “…put on love, which binds us all together in perfect unity.” I have yet to master them all, but occasionally I do get it right.
- Let’s pretend someone said something or did something that made you angry! The type of anger that consumes your thoughts and makes you call your most empathetic friend to spew all over them. This is the moment to grab your own arm and throw yourself into time-out! It is imperative that you cool down otherwise you will not draw from the well of love. What’s the well of love? It’s the place where you run to God to heal your hurt and pain. That person who just hurt you is actually someone you love and adore, right? Stop, walk away, and remind yourself of LOVE. Sing praises at the well, give thanksgiving, and fight it out in prayer. Return and respond only AFTER you have found your happy place of love. It’s not easy, but it is doable. I have failed more times than I have succeeded, but the times I can respond to hurt from the well of love I experience victory. When you offer love instead of what you think they deserve you will experience the peace of God flood your heart. However, the other person may not choose your love, which takes us to the next point.
- Have you ever been hurt by someone’s words or actions? This is typically the result from rejection. Rejection HURTS and hurt people, hurt people. What if hurt people break the cycle (which is personal responsibility) and take their hurt to the well of love? The TRUTH is that God accepts you. You are loved completely by Him. When you are able to truly grasp that God is for you the other person’s acceptance or rejection of you does not have power to harm. What if you allow them to reject you? What if you don’t force them to accept you? What if hearing their heart becomes the relational purpose, not protecting your own heart from their rejection? Victory is experienced when you no longer need to prove your point.
- How about when someone is intimidating you? I have had lots of intimidators in my life. When I look at the intimidation as fear it changes everything. What drives out fear? Love drives out fear. I am learning to draw boundaries with intimidators, which typically they do not like. This is the place where I soak myself in the well of love and realize submission to intimidation is not love at all. I have had to say hard things like, “I do not appreciate being spoken to that way.” “That feels like manipulation and control.” “I can’t do what you want me to do.” I love the other person as well as myself to speak truth, however, I will not succumb to their pressure. At the well, I learn to listen to the quiet voice of God. There I can regroup and choose God’s way instead of pleasing the voice of intimidation.
- What if someone is believing and doing things that are radically different than your beliefs and values? This is difficult to navigate, however victory is summed up in two words – Unconditional Love! Unconditional love is easier said than done, especially if you do life regularly with this person. Points 1, 2 and 3 above are key in living this out. Lots of time spent in the well of love, boundaries and speaking truth in love are the way through. I have heard a lot about “Just believe the best in someone – that will change everything.” But when I know what I know that I know what the other person is doing and it is not for their good, it’s hard to make my mind think the best of that person. However, the Lord switched things up on me recently. He said, “Anne, I know you can’t think the best about what that person is doing right now, because you know exactly what is going on, but you can pray the best for that person.” Whoa! One word from the Lord can change everything! Sure enough, I ran to the well of Scripture and started praying awesome things for this person. Although I haven’t seen a shift in their focus yet, everything has shifted in me! I found the well of love where my heart is FOR the person again!
- Ever have someone’s pain bump up against your pain? OUCH! What I have found is that as uncomfortable as someone else’s junk is I need to go to the well of love and search for reasons why their pain brings up my junk! Typically God is using them to refine me. My heavenly Dad loves to bring beauty to my spirit and sometimes he uses painful people to polish my brass (take that however you choose). I’m a cracked vessel in need of healing too. Without your pain I may never have inspected my pain. I can’t own your pain and I cannot fix your pain. But I do want my pain healed. I do choose to walk through this life seeking wholeness. I want to love myself well and with His help I choose to love you the best I can.
As my heart aspires to live a life in the well of love I have found that I am not perfect. However, God says I am beautiful! He says the same about you. He is not looking for perfection; instead He delights in beautiful hearts set on a pilgrimage where love binds us together in perfect unity. He is perfect. He is love. We are invited to the well and that is enough!