It's that feeling we all long for. We want to believe that it's easy for others to love us. That we are liked for who we are, and we don't have to change a thing.
How many love songs have been written about all the loveable people?
Think of all the loveable quotes that have been shared on Pinterest. Plus, every magazine ever written for women has a least one article in it outlining how to be more likable.
But what if being loveable has nothing to do with how much other people like you?
What if, instead, we focused on the fact that we are already 100% loveable.
Now, this is important, God made us for love. He is capable of loving us because from His perspective; there's nothing wrong with us.
It all boils down to this, If we accept that truth of God for what it is, we can focus on our ability to love and be loved. We can practice our love ability, not as something we try to gain, but instead as a skill we can intentionally improve and offer to the world.
Your ability to love is the greatest indicator of your awareness of the power and mercy of Jesus Christ in your life. Our assignment as believers is to love others.
This becomes very challenging when we think that loving others means doing things for them. I have seen so many wonderful women burn themselves out, trying to act Christ-like without learning how to think like Christ and practice self-love.
It's a painfully common experience, especially in the church.
Single women are encouraged to serve selflessly and give until there's nothing left. I'm sure you've noticed that there's an unspoken rule that says, married women have to go home with their families and serve them, single women have to stay late and help out, because if you do, God will see your work and bless you with a husband.
As a result, a wave of single women who think that it's God's desire for them to be exhausted and lonely. That it's normal to sacrifice everything and expect nothing in return except for what God will supernaturally deliver to she who waits upon the Lord.
I'm not sure where this idea came from.
In the Bible, it's pretty clear that serving one another was meant to be a mutual thing and a two-way street.
There's supposed to be a benefit to serving others.
Deep down, we know that, and it's why there's so much resentment when you give and give and give without getting anything in return.
We quickly go from feeling useful to used.
But guess what I realized...
The problem is, we are LIARS.
The church is now full of people who are stuck in their victim mentality. They feel abused and taken advantage of, sometimes with good reason, but there's just one issue with that; they give away all their power.
The truth will set us free.
As Christians, we are called to be honest and develop our integrity.
In the most practical sense...
STOP DOING THINGS YOU DON'T WANT TO DO!
Every time you say yes when you'd rather say no, you're lying.
Let's stop and let that sink in for a minute.
Would you mind baking 200 cupcakes for the bake sale this weekend?
Could you stay late after service and help vacuum the Sunday school room?
Can you give another $50 to support the ministry?
Yeah, sure, no problem...
Listen, let's be honest because the truth will set you free.
You don't want to stay late and vacuum. You were saving that $50 for something important, and you do not have time to bake 200 cupcakes.
But you said yes anyway.
Not because you love serving God through the ministry (although you keep telling yourself that), but because you're scared of how THEY will react if you say NO.
What will they think of me?
It's the question that is keeping you from learning to love others unconditionally.
It's a hard truth to digest.
But let's sit with it for a minute.
First of all, there's a big difference between loving people and trying to make everyone happy. When you love people, you tell them the truth. First, tell yourself the truth and admit that you don't want to do stuff. Second, go tell them the truth.
The truth is, people will expect you to do all kinds of things in the name of love.
But love is not an action; it's a feeling. It's a feeling that produces beautiful actions.
God's love ability is 100% because he can love us no matter what, unconditionally and completely.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Love is an emotion that God experienced that caused Him to Give us His son.
Giving is an action that we take from a place of love.
But, when we do things from a place of fear, it's not giving; it's manipulation.
We are trying to control others with our good works. Instead, we are trying to make them like and trust us. We are not serving them; we are attempting to control and manage their opinion of us.
I'm not saying this to shame anyone, but to point out that there is a better way.
Trust me, I'm speaking from experience here.
Let me give you an example from my own life. My husband and I serve 24/7 in ministry for several years. We thought it was our job to help everybody with their problems all the time.
The problem was, we thought we were supposed to stop whatever we were doing and give the members of our church our undivided attention, no matter what.
Listen, we did this at the expense of ourselves, our finances, and our family.
I can't count the number of times I emptied my bank account to do something for the church.
At first, I did this with excitement and anticipation of what God would do in our lives if we were faithful and obedient. Here's the main issue with that, faithfulness without love, is useless.
I began to feel like it was something I had to do after a while. After all, I didn't want to disappoint anyone. Not only that, but I also wanted people to I could do it all, be super generous and praise me for being so selfless. They would all say thank you and appreciate all that we had done for them.
That did not work my friend, all it did was build up bitterness and resentment inside of me.
My husband and I told ourselves that we were doing what we had to do. But that was a lie. We didn't HAVE to do any of that. And so, we stopped.
Now, we get to do what we want to do.
That means we serve with love, give generously, and take care of our God-given responsibilities. Instead of managing others, we manage ourselves, which is good for us and brings a lot more glory and honor to God's kingdom.
First, if you would like to improve your ability to love others with genuine Christ-like and unconditional love truly, you're going to have to forgive them for being who they are and let go of your expectations.
This is challenging because we all have our standards, and we're very attached to them. But, they're getting in the way of us loving people.
Instead, I suggest that you focus solely on managing your own thoughts, emotions, and actions. These are the only things you actually have any control over anyway, so let's stop wasting our time trying to manage other people's feelings and behaviors and focus on telling the truth and managing our own.
Secondly, the fact is, adults get to do whatever they want.
God gave us free will, and we do ourselves and others a disservice when we try to control others. Threats, martyrdom, begging, pleading, hinting, and all the other passive-aggressive, ways in which we try to get others to do what we want, are a waste of time.
They're terribly ineffective as well.
Sure, you might be able to convince everyone that you're cool, generous, friendly (fill in the blank with whatever you want people to think of you), but eventually, they're going to see you the way they want to see you.
Some people are going to love you, and others won't.
It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with THEIR ability to love. Their loveability.
So let's try this instead...
What if you try just being yourself and choosing to love others no matter what they think of you?
If they think you're awesome, great! If they think you're dumb as a rock, you don't have to agree with them, AND you can love them anyway.
Then, focus on your ability to love yourself.
I always tell people: the path to true love is self-love.
You can't control other people's opinions of you, so you might as well save yourself all that trouble and just be yourself. That way, when people do love you, they love the real you. Not some facade you've been trying to pull off for the last 15 years.
It's really, very simple.
I love you and No.
No, I won't bake the cupcakes.
I love the church, and No, I don't want to give $50.00
No, I'm going home after church.
That's not selfish. That's honest.
Do not let your fear of being considered selfish, rude, or ungrateful keep you in a place of lies and deceit.
Speak the truth, and when they get mad, love them anyway.
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means constantly replacing lies with the truth and improving our love ability. You are 100% loveable. Not only that, but you are created in the image and likeness of God, and within you is the capacity to love anyone. You can love your enemies, the people who judge and hate you, and even those who have used and abused you.
Take back all your power, and choose to love them no matter what.
That doesn't mean you do whatever they want. It means you tell the truth, take care of yourself, practice self-love when they are upset, and do the will of the Father. Not the will of man.
Ultimately it comes down to this my friend, we are here on this planet to be God's good and faithful servant. Of course, you will serve others but you are not their servant. You're God's.
It's a subtle difference but getting clarity on who we serve and why allows us to do our work in truth and in spirit.
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My goal is to help Christian women like you enjoy a healthily, thriving relationship with God so that you can pursue your God-given desire for marriage with grace and confidence. If you have any questions, thoughts, or opinions, I would love to connect with you in the comments below.
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