It's wild isn't it? It's wild to think that our lives can be filled with innumerable beautiful things, good things, but if we miss one thing, we've missed it all. That in all of our doing and going and being for other people, if we've forgotten this one point of reference for it all, we've completely missed the mark. Not that it isn't commendable or honorable that we want to serve our families, our kids, our friends; but if it's not coming from the right place...this one place...it isn't nearly as valuable as we think it is. Sure, we make sacrifices, but for what goal? What purpose? And from what place does that ability come from?
As women, as mothers, as spouses, as friends; it's instinctive to give of ourselves sometimes. And it feels good. Until it doesn't. Until we're exhausting ourselves and depleting our internal resources from which our generous behaviors flow. One minute we are thriving and checking all of our lists off, and then somehow we look around and find ourselves here. The lists just kept growing and our pace got slower and our patience thinned into a paper thin shred. Then it became obligatory. We continued to give but we became acutely aware that we didn't receive the same energy and effort in return. Maybe we made excuses for people, until those excuses weren't enough. Maybe we kept going thinking that it would change or it's just a season. Until one day, we find that friendships are strained and tensions are heavy. We look into the proverbial mirror of our lives and see our own emotional monsters that lurk somewhere deep in the basements of our personalities come out in ways we're ashamed of. Seemingly all of a sudden, we find ourselves in a place we never wanted to be- a place with ugly relational fall outs, harsh realities of our own all too familiar flaws, and a tsunami of memories that we would call "bad mom" moments.
How did it happen so quickly? How did we land ourselves here, in this metaphorical hamster wheel of burn out and disappointment? Seemingly, the tired ache consumed us overnight. However, if we're not careful, it'll become so familiar to us that it's just furniture in the room of our lives. Exhaustion will become our state of being, a state we are so well acquainted with, we've forgotten what it feels like to rest. Have you? Forgotten what it feels like to rest? Do you remember what it was like to feel fulfilled and purposed in your day to day? Or have you forgotten that you were made for more than this? Has it slipped your mind that you were offered a well that can't be depleted? Or maybe you never knew that sweet place to begin with...but it's real.
1 John 4:19 tells us that "We love because He first loved us". So if His love is the reference point for our capacity to love, then our love can't run dry or weary, because His love knowns no limits. That is, if our love is being drawn from the right source, of course. So we know that our God is an inextinguishable source of perfect love, but how do we know if we're resting in that love? Are we striving for approval and affection, or are we serving the people we love from a place of expecting nothing in return? Are we quick to close doors on friendship because our hearts were hurt, or are we choosing to labor and sweat to build bridges where we'd rather burn them? Are we tucking ourselves in at night with exhaustion laying heavy on our eyes, or are we opening our eyes to His new mercies every morning? In all of our good acts and kind gestures, if we don't pull our ability to love others from first being loved by a perfect love, then we won't be able to keep this up for long. How well can we love if we don't first sit at the feet of the one who is love and let it soften us, strengthen us, and build us from the internal to the external?
We love because He first loved us. We can only extend what we've allowed ourselves to receive, and we can only give what we've allowed ourselves to be give. To be able to love, we must first allow ourselves to be loved, even in our ugliest days when we can barely stand to look in the mirror of mistakes. Be loved so you can love well, without running dry.