I’ve been deep in thought lately, giving intentional contemplation to the idea of “loving without limits” and what that looks like from God’s perspective. And when I say I have been thinking about it, I’ve REALLY been chewing on it because I know it’s a key in my life. And it might be in yours, too.
I am still on my journey of healing and growth and I know there continue to be areas in my heart that are bruised and closed off. Every morning when I wake up and ask, “God, what are we working on today?” I am reminded of a couple chambers in my heart that could use some work. Okay, maybe more than two…
It is SO important that we assess on this level because our hearts are the places where love for others is cultivated and/or withheld. And I know from experience that our hearts can look like a commercial boiler room with valves that are completely open, and others that are completely shut off. We know how to let the love flow, or cut it off in an instant. Welcome to being human!
And that’s why I’ve been batting around this idea of loving without limits. I’ve come to the conclusion that only God can perform this kind of miracle in our lives. I believe that loving in this way (or more accurately “doing our best to love this way”) is a miracle from God because our own human nature would tell us to hold back at some level to protect our hearts.
Jesus’ last commandment to his disciples at the end of the last supper was for them to “love one another.” He goes on to say that this is how others will know that they are followers of Christ. I love that he spells that out so clearly, right there, in red ink.
It’s easy to love those we deem lovable. I can rattle off a quick and lengthy list of people that I love and adore, but I can just as rapidly spew out several names on my “bless their hearts” list. These are folks that have offended me, used me, or done me wrong. Even if they didn’t mean to hurt my heart, they are the ones who have inspired this post because I know I need to learn to love them better. And by better I mean without limits.
When we love people with a human love, we set boundaries which I think is very healthy. Different relationships require different safeguards to keep those relationships in a good place. For example, God has restored in me a deep love and respect for my former sister-in-law but because she is now married to my former husband (FH), there are huge boundaries in place there. And there should be! That doesn’t mean we can’t grow within those boundaries.
But there are others that I still REALLY struggle with and that’s where this idea of love without limits comes into play. The word limit represents a stopping point where something cannot extend beyond or move past. We don’t have to love everyone in a generic, robotic or blanketed way. If we go around saying we love all of humanity, no one is going to buy that because we are HUMANS. We hurt, we put up boundaries and we protect our hearts. But the concept of loving without limits gives us the freedom to establish a starting point with every person we come in contact with and GROW. FROM. THERE. We can grow within appropriate boundaries and relationship guardrails, and we can grow at a fast pace or slowly and with caution. But the key is that we do grow.
We can even grow from relationships that have (because of circumstances) morphed into something completely different than they once were. I was exchanging an email thread with my FH the other day and I had an opportunity to thank him for all the years he gave me spousal support. I also expressed my appreciation that we are at a place where we can navigate together peacefully when it comes to issues relating to our boys. This happened over eight long and painful years, and only because we didn’t set limits (however, we did set boundaries, and they were HUGE). It required hard work and a willingness to trade pain for progress but we did grow, even if it was a teeny, tiny bit!
I love how God works. As I’ve been coming to Him asking Him to reveal his heart to me, He of course offers me ways to practice. And as usual, they are NOT the easy road I would have picked if it were up to me. This past week was no exception.
The chilly weather here put me in a cooking mood last weekend and I made a few meals for us and some to share. Sometimes I know who I’m cooking for and other times I just pop a couple meals in the fridge or freezer and wait for God’s nudging. He spoke to my heart loud and clear who was to get them and for a brief moment, my thoughts jumped back to a place of insecurity and heartache as this triggered some old junk in my life. I took immediate and full responsibility for this and because I did, I was able to realign my response with my reality. My reality today is that I have done a ton of hard work, processed a lot of pain, and grown to a healthy place where I am able to give myself a platform to love without limits. I had to literally remind myself of those things as my heart calmed down and I took a deep breath and recognized that I was fortunate to be in this beautiful place in life.
I am realizing that our sweetest days are not always the ones where we are surrounded by love, but some are opportunities for us to learn to love deeper. And as we understand this, we give someone else an opportunity to feel God’s love in a real and tangible way. The reward? We both get to savor one of those sweet days…and we get to do it together.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.