Have you ever looked for a person who:
- Can see your sheer self, beyond the opinions of others and the masks you wear, understanding your every need?
- Listens to everything you have to say without getting distracted?
- Does kind things for you without expecting anything in return?
- Desires what is best for you and will challenge you to reach your full potential?
- Will never turn a back toward you in resentment over how (s)he's been mistreated?
- Wants to be with you at every moment, but won't be clingy about it?
- Remains devoted to you just the same in every circumstance, with a love that no deed could augment or undermine?
- Encourages you to treat others with the same courtesies?
- Is breathtakingly wonderful in every way possible, yet never is too busy for you?
- Is so filled with wisdom and goodness that it rubs off on you, making you better, helping you to understand everything even more?
Are you nodding because you relate to some of this? Are you also shaking your head because this clearly isn’t reality? Is there a part of you that wishes you were wrong? Have you hoped your loved ones and friends could be this for you but been constantly let down? Do you still, deep down, long for a person to value you this way?
I have been there too, feeling this deep-seated need to give myself, my time, my words, to someone who will cherish my care and the entirety of my heart. Yet, so often I have found these offerings of myself neglected. Untouched. Overlooked like a carefully wrapped package, that a person I hold dear has been too preoccupied to pick up off their doorstep. And as I have endured these various occasions in which I pine for the recognition that others cannot give me, I have taken it personally. I have let disappointment consume me. I have crumbled in the weight of their disinterest.
And I could not seem to fathom the explanations I heard for why this so troubled me:
I have to be self-reliant and whole on my own.
I cannot depend on anyone else to provide me with a sense of my worth.
What did "whole on my own" even mean? As hard as I tried, I could not quiet the need I felt for someone to know me completely and love me wholeheartedly, in spite of the mess that I am. I could not deny the need I felt for someone to count on.
And eventually, I found him. The person that I been looking for had been there all along ... waiting for me, as I waited for him. He fulfilled everything I had mentioned in that list above. Every single thing. I had been empty for so long because I had been looking in the wrong direction ... God wanted to be all of those things for me.
And He wants to be them for you, too.
Contrary to popular misconception, God does not approach relationships like we do. His love is not defined by our qualifications, nor is it earned. He does not expect us to be or look or act a certain way in order to be deemed "worthy" of a moment of His time.
He tells us,
"I have loved you with an everlasting love, and I will continue to extend my faithful love to you." - Jeremiah 31:3
This revelation was life-changing. Not only did it give me something to hope for and someone to always believe in, but it meant something else as well. We do not have to count on each other in these ways. God wants to be all of this for you, and He is the only one who possibly can without ever letting you down.
Nonetheless, we are human, so it easy to forget this every so often. Just the other day, I caught myself angry at someone for not living up to my expectations as a friend. I found myself analyzing how he fell short in comparison to God. But instead of rejoicing and praising God for His faithfulness, I became bitter with my friend for letting me down in these ways. Then I got a wake up call during a sermon at Church, “If you claim you love God, but you withhold your forgiveness from a neighbor, then you’re a liar.” I felt myself gulp at my own failure.
In times like these, don’t allow yourself to wallow in your disappointment with others. This is truly a gift. Because it is an opportunity to grow in your unconditional love for others, so it may endure even in the most difficult of circumstances. It is an opportunity to turn to God and more greatly honor the First and Greatest Commandments, bask in His splendor, praise Him for His devotion, fall more deeply in your love for Him.
For He has already given us everything, in spite of how we have countlessly failed Him:
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8
So when others' concerns for you are fleeting, glorify Him — the only one who can constantly, wholeheartedly say to to all of us the impassioned words of this refrain and mean them literally.