I have been in serious reflection mode the past few weeks. It is Christmas time after all, and a lot of emphasis of the people around me has been on the topic of “love”. Which I am completely okay with! If everyone truly loved their neighbor as themself how could hate survive?
Now, I have by no means mastered this concept. In fact, in all reality, I am still steamy over an argument I had with a neighbor about a parking space a few weeks ago! Instead of driving by her house and saying a blessing, other choice words tend to come to the top of my head. I am working on it.
I have discovered during my self reflection, the concept of love goes two ways. Of course, there is the phrase “it takes two to tango”, but think about that for a moment. Without someone being on the receiving end of your love, there would be no purpose of love to begin with. This is my hang up.
I have to think Jesus knew this would be a problem for some when he set the example of washing his disciples’ feet. How awkward must it have been for them to let their Messiah touch their nasty, dusty feet. But Jesus loved them and was demonstrating the very ideology of a servant king.
I think a lot of us have the serving and loving part ingrained in us. Which, as I said, is super important! However, how hard it is to be the one on the receiving end of someone’s kind gesture of love!
I have struggled deeply with letting go and allowing myself to open up and be vulnerable to people. I have been hurt so severely in my lifetime by friends and family alike, that trust is nearly emotionally impossible for me. How easy it is for me to be on the giving end of the love where if I expect nothing in return, there is zero chance of getting hurt. But oh man, flip the table and it sends me running! I have no problem giving until there is nothing left to be given to others. But to have the same dished out to me by someone else and it feels like my heart is exposed and I am just waiting for them to trample on it.
Recently, we have been undergoing a rather high priority home improvement project. My husband and I are not by any means handy people. Yet, this project has to get done. I was explaining to some friends what we were doing and they volunteered to assist us right away. Immediately, alarm bells went off in my head and I quickly dismissed the idea. But after I left, I gave it some thought. The idea of opening up and admitting the fact I needed help was hard enough. Anyone who knows me knows how OCD I am about everything, and I would just rather do things myself most of the time, but this project is a little out of my pay grade. But the thing that was my biggest hang up was opening up to accept friendship from these people, who let’s be honest, in the whole scheme of things, I have only known for a short time. How do I know they have my best interest at heart? How do I know that if I allow myself to get close to them, the second the friendship gets hard they won’t bail on me? How do I know that if we start to become the kind of friends who sends their husbands to rescue my home project they won’t hold it over my head, or skip town the second I can’t repay them for their kindness?
Truth is, I don’t. I don’t have any idea where the next chapter will go with any one! But I do know one thing, living with a guarded heart gets lonely sometimes, and I refuse to live my life void of friendships.
So, my friends are coming to the plate to bail me out, and I am going to try my hardest to be a gracious receiver of their gesture love. As silly as this sounds, it will be a challenge for me.
But I am thankful for love, both the kind that is given and the kind that receives the gift. And I am grateful for the opportunity to open my heart and take a chance on friendship.