[So it’s been a while. Writing again feels like stepping back into to a relationship after a break. Except I didn’t fall out of love with writing, I just didn’t really have any words to say. Which is not necessarily true, but I was busy with school stuff and kept putting it off. But today is the day. The words are back.]
For the last few weeks, over and over again, one specific phrase keeps popping in my mind: Let others love you.
Which didn’t make a lot of sense the first couple times I heard it. But Jesus, I do let others love me. I have really great friends who love me really well. What are you talking about?
And still the phrase kept coming, whispering to my heart in quiet moments of my day. Let. Others. Love. You.
And I think I get it now.
I’m a pretty “lovey” person. I love a lot of people. I love a lot of things. But do I really love myself? Do I really believe I am valuable enough to be loved?
When I was in middle school (good times, right everybody?) I bought into the lie that for guys to tell you you were pretty, you first had to remind them how pretty you weren’t. I bought into the lie that tearing yourself down was a successful tool to get others to love you.
And somewhere along the way I started believing the things I was declaring over myself were more true than what my friends were saying to encourage me. And it messed me up for a really long time.
And while now, at my wise old age of nineteen, I see that was a terrible mistake, praise Jesus that those so call “truths” I believed for so long aren’t the same truths I align myself with today. I’m a new person, free, joyful, actually learning to love exactly who I am a little more every day. Those old chains don’t hold me any longer. And while I know we all come to terms a little more with who we are after we escape the perils of middle and high school, Jesus deserves all the credit for redeeming my life, for redeeming me. He’s just too good and sweet not to turn the attention back to Him.
Let’s swing back to this whole new “let others love you” revelation. Stephen Chobsky, in his novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Read it; it’s a good one) says, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” And how true that is!
When we believe we lack the value others see in us, we push back against the truths they are trying to speak into our lives. And that’s not what either party deserves.
Because here’s the truth: You are worthy of being loved.
Yes, you. You are worthy.
You deserve the love others are trying to give you. And it’s okay to accept their love. Because surprise, they probably actually mean the words they say (especially if it’s someone you dearly value and trust).
And it doesn’t matter if you think you have your life together or everything around you is falling apart. In every season of life, in sin and success, you are worthy of being loved.
I’m saying this because I’m learning it. I spent years and years pushing back. As if wax was in my ears and surrounding my heart when others were encouraging me. I might have heard the words they said, but I wouldn’t allow them to truly penetrate my heart.
I’m also saying this because I’m tired of being afraid of love. Lately, I’ve caught myself saying “Relationships are so hard.” and “Wow, love is so painful.” And while, yes, sometimes relationships (and I mean all relationships, not just dating ones) are painful and, yes, they can be hard, that is not the entirety of what relationships are. More than painful and hard, they are rich. Live-giving, enjoyable, full-of-learning, rich relationships. And it’s okay for people to love you. It’s not always going to hurt so bad. Especially when relationships are founded on Jesus and both parties are finding the bulk of their identity and security in Him instead of desperately clinging to the other person to provide all their self-esteem and encouragement.
And please hear me out, I’m not suggesting we fill ourselves with fluffy feel-good stuff to boost our egos. I’m not saying we should just try and make ourselves feel better or push back hard feelings so we can pretend that we are happy with who we are. I think that’s kind of silly and definitely not long lasting.
What I’m after (and hopefully you are to) is the head and heart knowledge of our value (our identity in Christ) rooted deep within us, secured deeply in the pit of our stomach, reverberating in our bones and in our soul. It’s the anchoring of our identity in who the Bible says we are, it’s finding out what makes us come alive and doing a lot of that. We need the truth of who we are to be called out of us and we need to hold tightly to the promises of who we are.
So let’s be people who love people really well, but let’s also joyfully and gratefully accept the love others try to give us. Let’s look to Jesus for the truth of who we are and let Him speak to us through the kind and true words of others. Let’s boldly accept the love we do deserve. Because, even in the midst of our unbearable humanness, we are WORTHY of love. No matter who you are and what you’ve done, Jesus came to die because he loved you. He saw your messiness, He saw your sin, He saw every failure and short coming and guess what? He died anyways. Because He. Loves. YOU.
So if you were questioning whether or not I was talking to you, I am. I’m also talking to myself. I’m tired of living in fear of letting others love me. It’s not worth the pain and the energy to push back any longer. Because I am worthy of love. I do have value. And if people choose to call out the value within me, they probably mean it. And they deserve to be heard and loved right back.
And from here on out, I’m letting others love me. I’m letting people speak into my life, I’m actually hearing encouragement, I’m even letting people give me physical affection (and you’re probably laughing if you really know me because this is a huge deal). Because it’s worth it. Relationships are worth it. Loving and celebrating who God made me and others to be is worth it.
Hear me in this: You are so deserving of love. People are willing to love you. So willing. And Jesus is even more willing. So let’s be fearless people. Let’s be people who rejoice in the love of God and the love others have to give. And let’s give it back too. Because when we really know what it feels like to be loved, we can really love other people too.
Last time I’m going to say it: Let others love you. You’re worth it. Always. Every single day.
Blessings my friends.
(Just a few moments of snowy, cold glory I’ve experienced in the last month. 1. More snow than I’ve seen in a while in Boone, NC 2. The sky seriously takes me breath away every night 3. My new friends 4. Classic snow selfie: fearlessly and joyfully learning to let others love me)