Sunday, May 2, 2010

Opening My Heart and Figuring Out What Love is

One of the things on my list was to open my heart to someone and I can honestly say I have and it wasn't pretty.

Last Sunday I was a pathetic mess. I had texted witty guy late the night before and asked him how he could do this to me. We started a text conversation early Sunday morning but I finally just called him.

I was seriously a mess. I cried. I begged. I showed him every scared, insecure piece of me that I had kept hidden deep in my heart. I told him how much he meant to me. It was like a 3 hour pathetic miserable conversation and in the end it wasn't enough. He wanted to see where it was going to go with this teenage waitress. (I already know what that is all about. I'm sure she is just inflating his ego. She probably thinks he is the bees knees. You know how teenagers are. And that constant ego stroking is a very strong drug. So I get it.)

Anyway, I showed him my heart. He kept saying he never knew how strongly I felt about him and I can see that. I keep my heart and feelings on lock down. Relationship pain can be the worst kind. I had my heart broken before so I try to keep myself at a distance until I feel safe. Until I feel loved.

And I never felt that way with him. I didn't feel like he accepted and loved me. So I kept him at a distance, tried to hide my feelings, but they were there- just waiting until I felt like he wouldn't hurt me and we could really love each other.

But that didn't happen. In the end I got hurt, despite trying to keep my heart secure. When I finally did open my heart to him it was too little, too late.

Over the last week I kept thinking about if I should do it differently the next time. If I should just open my heart from the begining despite how the other person makes me feel. At first I thought I totally would. I would be mushy and gushy and make them feel so loved despite how they make me feel. But now I don't know. I think I should feel loved, accepted, and secure in a relationship before I open my heart.

Love isn't an emotion, it is an action. It is the act of loving that will make me feel confident in a relationship. I know I want a lot out of someone, but I am willing to give the same as what I am asking for, so it can't be too much.

So what is love? What is it going to take for me to feel loved? Well, I truly believe the Bible has a road map and is an instruction book for making it through this life. The whole Gospel story to me is the ultimate example of love and teaches me so much about how I should love and how much I am loved. But also Corinthians 13 is the ultimate passage on love:

1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The first couple verses make the argument that if you do all these good things, but don't do them out of love than they mean nothing. In relationships it is easy to do things selfishly. You may get him an extravagant birthday gift, not because how much you love him but to prove how awesome of a girlfriend YOU are. You make use of physical love hoping to make him love YOU more or just because it feels good to YOU, not to show him your love for him. So I am always going to ask myself why am I doing this nice thing? Am I doing it out of love for him or to get something for myself?

You've probably heard that next passage before if you have ever been to a wedding, but what does that look like in real life?

Love is patient- Are you patient with him? Is he patient with you?

Love is kind- Are you kind to each other? Do you treat each other respectfully?

Love does not envy- Are you envious of your partner? Do you feel like you are constantly in a competition with him?

Love does not boast- Are you boastful and constantly pointing out how you are better than your partner?

Love is not proud- Do you humble yourself before your partner? Does he humble himself before you?

Love is not rude- Are you rude to your partner? Are they rude to you?

Love is not self-seeking- Are you only seeking your own interests in the relationship? Does your partner do things that may not benefit him, but benefit you?

Love is not easily angered- Are you constantly angry at him? Do you feel like he is always angry with you?

Love does not keep a record of wrongs- Do you forgive each other or are you always bringing up "that time you did this..."

Love does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in the truth- Are you honest with your partner? Do you hide things from him? Do you feel like he is hiding things from you?

Love always protects- I love feeling protected. Maybe it is a girl thing. But do I protect him? Do I protect him from not just physical harm but emotional pain- not by hiding things from him, but by having nothing to hide?

Love always trusts- Do I trust him? Do I act in a way that makes it easy for him to trust me?

Love always hopes- Am I always hoping for the best in this relationship or always expecting the worst?

Love always perseveres- Do I always persevere in this relationship? Am I constantly pursuing him and him me?

This seems certainly impossible to do all the time in a relationship right? Well the next paragraph in the passage addresses that. When he talks about putting childish ways behind him, I think he means he doesn't act in that way that is natural to us. Children are great, but you must admit their world revolves around them. When you put away childish ways you realize it is about more than you. It won't be easy. You have to think about more than just yourself. And I don't think in this world we will ever perfect loving each other constantly. People will get on our nerves. We will get tired. We will be selfish sometimes. They will be selfish sometimes.

But there will come a time when Love is perfect. That is what Jesus is to me. Love. He is the perfect example of love and when we come face to face with that we will know love like we have never known before. Just imagine it. We know how great it can be here when we get little glimpses of perfect love. Imagine what it will be like when all the imperfection disappears and we fully see and experience LOVE!

I know I didn't love witty guy and I know he didn't love me. We may have had the feelings and the attachment to each other, but we did not actively love each other each and every day. Both of us are to blame for the failure of the relationship. And it hurts. But I just hope one day I will find myself in a relationship where we do try to actively love each other every day. A relationship where I don't have to keep my heart locked up for fear of getting hurt. I know it won't be perfect, but I want that relationship where we never give up. We love each other and show it and act it out (or at least try to) every. single. day.


Aisha said...

Thank you! I needed this today :)

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

What a great post!!! I also needed this today... Always a great reminder.

Aritza, Goddess of .. said...

You're right about all of this .. and maybe you didn't find love but you certainly found out what it is and what it means.

Cheers to crossing it off your list !

Although I'm sorry it didn't work out with witty guy :( you'll find something that will work better..

heidi said...

Wow, powerful thoughts, Suz. Sometimes these experiences teach us some major, yet painful, things.

BTW, have you read The Five Love Languages? A great, great read!

Jen said...

When you find the right one, it will be scarier to not open your heart. I promise! God will lead you in the right direction when you are least expecting it.

woodlandsblonde said...

You can't go wrong by strengthening your relationship with God.

I think when you meet the right person - you will not be afraid to open up. These things take time- it sounds like this guy wasn't patient with you. Maybe you had fun together, etc. and enjoyed eachother's company - but I think if he really wanted to make things work he would have made you feel safe enough to tell him your feelings. It sounds like you felt too vulnerable - but he moved on.

Patience is a virtue! It really is - And if you have a strong faith, you know that God will take care of you :)

Maureen said...

Nice post! I've been there too, afraid to open myself up to someone and then a crushed mess when it didn't work out. But I just wanted to comment and say that when I found the right guy, all those fronts I used to put up just weren't there. I wasn't ever afraid to be completely open with him. You can't force it, but when you find the right one for you, you won't just open your heart at the end of the relationship, but at the very beginning. I know it sucks getting relationship advice from old (almost) married people like me, but just be patient, just continue to work on your relationship with yourself, and whatever is supposed to happen in your life ultimately will.

AuntBT said...

Congrats on opening your heart, because it's one of the things I feel like I need to do as well. Just remember, when someone comes along who is worthy of your heart, he will wait. Love will be patient with you, he will be patient with you. He will see how wonderful it will be with you, and wait. You'll want to open your heart to him. Keep your head up :)