You never know when Facebook will change your life. Well…that may be a bit dramatic, but sometimes there are some real gems buried in that newsfeed. I’d like to say that’s the real reason I scroll, but honestly, I’m just slightly addicted. It’s the millennial in me. I’m working on it.
But the other day there was a phrase that caught my eye. It was buried in some story about relationship advice from an older couple or something, but the phrase that stood out was, “Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves more.”
The more I ponder on that, the more wisdom I see. How much of how I interact with people, how many of my relationships are shaped by a fear of just that – being the person who loves more? Because if you are the one who loves more, it means the other person loves less. And no one wants to be in that relationship. It’s scary to be the one who loves. That makes you vulnerable. And to know that you love MORE, that you’re giving more of yourself than the other, that you’re really the main one keeping the friendship or relationship going, that you’re putting more of yourself in…that’s scary. To knowingly be the one who loves more is an act of extreme courage.
How often do I hold myself back because I’m not sure what another person will think? If they’ll push me away or if they’ll think I’m awkward or needy or don’t have a life because I contact them too frequently? How often have I lost touch with friends under the excuse of, “Well, they’re not putting much effort so they obviously don’t really want to be my friend anymore”? It’s all a fear of love imbalance. “You need to make sure you’re on the same page. One can’t be more invested than the other or it won’t work.” It’s such a big fat LIE. You know who loves more? Jesus Christ loves more. God loves more.
He loves in spite of all the times I doubt Him (sometimes it feels hourly). He loves when I’m angry and upset. He loves when I spend all my attention elsewhere. He loves when rejected. He loves when ignored. He loves more. He loves me back to Him. He pursues endlessly. It doesn’t always work for Him, He’s been rejected countless times over the years. But still He loves.
I want to be like that. I want to be a person who’s not afraid to love more. Who’s not afraid of love imbalance. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not advocating remaining in hostile, antagonistic, or abusive relationships or friendships. I’m advocating for the selfless kind of love that Jesus lived out – the love of God. The kind of love described in Romans 5:
Romans 5: 8 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
What does that even look like? The kind of courageous love that is willing to enter into friendships and relationships wholeheartedly, knowing full well it could be hurt or taken advantage of or never really reciprocated? That’s really what love should be – wholehearted and without condition – but I have had to come to terms with the fact that I have a hard time loving that courageously or selflessly. I usually don’t. It won’t take that long for me to abandon a friendship if I feel like the other person isn’t “invested.” And half the time when I meet someone I really enjoy and get along with, I won’t even pursue friendship with them because I assume they have enough friends and won’t have the time for me, and I don’t want to be rejected. Seeing these behaviors now, it seems really obvious that that is a sad way to live. But for a long time, it’s felt logical, like self-preservation. What a trick!
It’s actually been freeing to think about. Freeing to give myself permission to be the one who loves more. It’s such a better attitude to think, “Rejected or not, I’m going to love this person” than “…I don’t know how this will be received, so I’ll just keep it to myself.” How many friendships have I been talked out of by this logic? How many good conversations, even? Well, I’m tired of it. I want to be courageous. I want to be known as someone who loves unreservedly, even if it’s “the crazy girl” who loves unreservedly. I want to live up to Proverbs 3: 27.
Proverbs 3: 27 ESV
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.
What if we all acted this way? What if all Christians went out of their way to out-love each other? To out-love the world? Well, none of us would really have anything to worry about if we were all determined to love more than the other. But…the world is an imperfect place. So for now it takes courage to be that person. For me, I want to be that courageous one. I want to be the one who’s not afraid to love more.