How to Keep on Loving When Love Runs Out
Are you exhausted from always giving and never receiving? I know what that feels like. In my youth, I felt like I had a lot to give. Love seemed clearer and less costly. But I’ve been in over my head for awhile now. I’ve faced many situations where I don’t know how to love, or the needs outweigh my emotional energy. (Hello, parenthood!) Where do you go to fill up? The world talks a lot about loving ourselves, but sometimes I can’t get there. I need a renewable source of love – one that is greater than myself. That’s the only way to keep on loving when my love runs out.
Real Love Has no Strings
It’s easy to love when someone loves me back. I can maintain that kind of love with my own energy and resources. But when my love goes unreturned, its quality is revealed. Recently, I heard a woman speak from her many years of experience in ministry with people struggling with addictions and homelessness. In the beginning years of ministry, she was full of passion to change people’s lives. But it didn’t take long for her love to run out. Her passion to help people morphed into disillusionment and hopelessness when she didn’t see any results for her efforts. Wanting to change lives is a good thing. But it’s not the same as love. Real love doesn’t have strings attached.
People or Projects?
Let’s face it, it’s hard to watch someone you love make choices that will cause pain – especially if it’s preventable. Every parent knows this. I have to admit – sometimes I want the best for someone else for my own sake – so I don’t have to hurt so much! And like the woman in my story, I have been guilty of putting expectations on people to change rather than accepting them for who they are. Pride is an ugly thing – it can turn people into projects. But I want to learn to love people with God’s love.
How to love when my love runs out
It’s humbling to realize that I can’t really love anyone without something hidden in it for me. And I can’t face this truth unless I believe in a greater love. Thankfully, I do believe that there is a greater love – the unconditional love of God. Only God’s love is a renewable resource. If I’m willing to lay down my ego and my own ways of loving and learn to receive God’s love, unlimited love can flow through me. The more love I receive, the more I can give away. It sounds simple, but it’s hard to do. I don’t have it all figured out. I’m learning that loving with God’s love is an act of faith. It’s not about me and how I feel. Jesus said: “I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love.” (John 15:9) It’s an ongoing process of being filled and pouring out. As long as I stay connected to Love, I can keep on loving when my love runs out.