I love quotes. If you flip through any of my notebooks you are bound to find quotes scrawled across the pages, or scribbled on loose pieces of paper, which are then folded and tucked away in some journal or folder. I store quotes in my head and nine times out of ten, if you are talking to me I will whip out some paraphrase of some quote I read somewhere. I love quotes because they often give words to the state of my heart, which makes me feel less alone, because someone, somewhere out there in this vast world, has felt the very thing I am feeling.
Lately, I have had words floating around my head and in my heart. These words have been pointing me to what I feel I need to write–maybe for you to read but things I know God wants me to hear as well. I have found that a few words have been continually popping up: courage, dare, love and freedom. All of these words have been laid upon my heart recently and all the quotes I have been writing down seem to deal with these words in some sense.
I have been existing in a frozen state of fear. I have let, and still seem to let, fear control my life and the decisions I make. Fear controls my mind and warps God into a deity that is nothing more than a grumpy, judgmental, cruel and unforgiving idol. Fear causes me to push God away, which leads me to push love away. A few weeks ago, I realized the true hold fear has upon my heart, when I was confronted with feeling the feels. I realized that I had a wall put up, blocking God and love from the inner bits of my heart; the inner bits that are ragged, a bit shredded and so very raw. Hurt, rejection, and betrayal caused those wounds and when my heart is abused I retreat into myself and build walls. Yes, a terrible habit, but one that has become far to familiar.
I have written many posts about my revelations, that Love is the one thing that can truly bring about proper healing. But the issue is, that Love asks me to be vulnerable, to lay my heart out on the line meaning that no walls are there to “protect me” from the hurt. However, those walls that I build block real Love out, so I am incapable of really giving my heart to anyone and am only capable of “loving,” if you can call it that, in halves.*
Fear builds walls–love does not. 1 John 4:18
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”
There is something I desperately want to experience, and I know I am not the only one. I want to experience true freedom. Freedom to be fully myself, freedom from society’s unreasonable standards, freedom from fear, freedom to be brave enough to keep my heart open, freedom to really love. Someone very special to me, shared with me a quote from Mother Teresa, that reads:
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until in hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
If only I could have the courage to keep my heart exposed, despite the nasty wounds, and let Love heal my heart rather than letting the wounds fester behind cold and damp walls. However, the nature of Love is, as described so eloquently in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
“Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endure all things.”
(Sidenote: I did not know where the Spirit was going to lead with this post, and WOW, I am in awe of what God is trying to get through to me.)
Love is patient with me, Love does not insist on its own way, Love bears all things–Love will not abandon me, no matter how many times I shut Love out. Love continues to pursue my heart and to seep in through those cold stone walls and gently, and sometimes aggressively, nudge my heart to open up.
Love is so much stronger than fear. It may take a bit of time, but I have experienced the healing power of Love too many times to count. I fully believe Love is always going to win, just as I know it is winning in my heart now. I think Maya Angelou hits the nail on the head, as she usually does, in the following quote,
“In the flush of love’s light we dare be brave and suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet, it is only love which sets us free.”
I think about what this quote speaks to in my own life, which is, to properly love I have to let down the walls and let people see who I really am. I also am reminded of what it means in the context of my Savior. Love cost Jesus all he was, it cost his life, which set us all free.
Love is some incredibly powerful stuff. One of my favorite artists is Ed Sheeran and on his most recent album he has a song written in honor of his grandmother entitled, Supermarket Flowers. Two of my favorite lines from this song are: “A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved” and “A life with love is a life that’s been lived.” I think these two lines speak to what happens when we truly open up our hearts to Love.
Love is the key to true freedom and true healing. I want to dare to love, to be courageous and open up my heart to Love and ultimately open myself up to the true freedom that is only found in Love.
Friends, let us choose Love, choose to open up our hearts–despite the nasty wounds and as we step into Love’s enduring embrace may we trust that we are stepping into freedom.
May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Peace, Joy, Blessings and All My Love,
*Love is capitalized here because I am using it as another name for God while also using it as the active noun love. 1 John 4.8: “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love”