That’s the truth. But somehow, in my mind, I’ve memorized it differently, opposite almost.
To me, love is terrifying. I am desperate to be loved, yet continuously unwilling to patch up the cracked window of my soul so it can open properly and let love come stay for a visit.
Through talking with a therapist, it is clear that part of the problem is developmental. Emotionally, I never had the chance to develop attachment and trust with others. I’m 24-years-old in most ways, but in this way… I am about 2 or 3 years old.
My initial reaction to this realization was intense shame. I cried out to God, “I just want to be normal.” Had this been biblical times I would have beat my chest and scattered ashes on my pretty blonde hair to express my grief. Thankfully, I think God got the idea just by knowing my sweet little heart….good thing, too…because I really don’t like my hair to get dirty.
God heard my cry and with His tender help, we will reclaim the true meaning of love. No matter how long it takes (since love is patient and all), I am committed to conquer this particular battle.
For me, the first step to being able to receive love is exposing what call my “love lies.”
Currently, I believe love must be earned. I believe love can be stolen. I believe love will eventually hurt me.
In my past, love has been scarce. If you wanted it, you had to fight for it, earn it and even, it could eventually be stolen away if you left it unattended.
Last week as I was processing this, I cried for 20 minutes in my dietitian’s arms. I was shaking and afraid to feel the love she was trying to offer me. “You are safe, she said, “No one is going to hurt you now.”
In my past, love has been terrifying. What I keep forgetting is I’m not in the past anymore. Then I was not loved appropriately, and had every reason to think love was a monster. But now, right this very second, I am deeply loved and that “perfect love drives out fear.” Then, my fears were real. Now, they are not.
It’s going to be a long, long walk toward acceptance of love. I know that. But the alternative is a try-hard, never-good-enough- afraid-to be- loved mentality. And so far, that has only led me to feeling rejected, unwanted, and invisible.
To remind myself that love cannot be stolen away from me, I bought a glass jar, which I have since named my “Love Jar”. Each time I feel loved or someone shows me love in any way, I place a random object in the jar (pebble, paperclip, etc.). The rule is that I can’t take any of the “love” out. It grows, but it can’t be taken away.
Each object I drop in my jar represents an opportunity to see love differently than I have in the past. Each objects contradicts the lies that hurt my heart. Each object seals the crack of that soul window just a little bit tighter. I think soon I will even be able to crack it just a little and feel the breeze.