It's SO easy to let life happen around us. It's also super easy to just let life happen TO us. We're going to unpack this a bit and talk about how to live the way you were designed to live!
Man, it really makes me sad when people seem to float through life unconsciously agreeing to the false idea that life is something you're just meant to survive.
We are not meant to just survive! We are designed to create, enjoy, explore, discover, mourn, be happy, grow, experience dynamic things - all from a position of understanding that we are worthy.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIVING WITH OPEN HANDS (part 3)
LETTING GO OF CONTROL (part 4)
Learning to Live on Purpose
Is Giving Intentional?
If you've ever read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you know that that we naturally communicate love to another person in various ways.
Why do we give what we have, in whatever capacity, to others?
What can YOU do for ME?
When I was in my twenties I discovered how I could use giving to my advantage. I don't think I did so intentionally. I just had a goal to make something of myself. I discovered that encouraging others, doing things for them and feigning a desire for their improved welfare could also benefit me.
It was a win-win. I scratch your back, you scratch mine.
It just made sense.
There were things that I wanted to accomplish and I needed the investment of others to do so. It wasn't later in life when I began to look back on the quality of relationships and the fragility of what I accepted as my value that I began to see this for what it really was: manipulation.
But man oh man, you couldn't tell 20-something Tim that's what he was doing. A lot of his thought-life revolved around what he lacked: friendship, confidence, self-worth, hope. Because he couldn't see beyond himself, he couldn't see that viewing others simply as a means to an end was an incredibly short-sighted and icky endeavor.
Because I didn't think I was worth friendship, I felt like it had to be bought either by doing something for someone or by having a resource of value that someone needed. Obviously, Tim's inherent value wasn't worth someone's time just-because.
...right? :thinking emoji:
What a thought. But it's honestly what I thought.
"If I don't have something to offer them, I'm not even going to bother."
Love: Earning Vs. Learning
In the previous blog post (which can be found here) I talked about finding a foundation in our value.
To quickly sum it up:
We engage in empty pursuits of acquisition or fabrication of circumstances that we believe will make us feel good about ourselves
When we realize that it's up to us to maintain the condition of the value assets that satisfy our desire to feel valuable, we begin to work harder to stretch our resources as the demand to sustain these assets begins to exceed what we're actually capable of maintaining (we start striving when we realize we're starving :P)
We (hopefully) begin to realize that our value comes from the fact that God loves us unconditionally - beyond anything culture would convince us of otherwise - and that no effort or circumstance can change this truth
We learn by comparison:
right : wrong
truth : untruth
good : bad
Whether it's foods we like/dislike or jobs we love/hate, we always compare what has worked or has been good in the past to the options in front of us.
Love is no different.
The thing about love, however, is that it's not something we always necessarily feel. Instead, it's something we have to choose. It's something we have to engage because in most cases loving people is tough!
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
'If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
You can't earn something if someone chooses to give it to you freely. You can not earn the choice of another person to love you. It's a currency they give out of abundance.
Those of us who think we have to earn love feel as though it's a limited currency. But those of us who understand that our value understand that God loves us before ALL circumstance infinitely.
The Relationship Between Love and Giving
Loving people just for the sake of loving them really messes with people's heads.
Why we don't give
-do they deserve it
-can I afford it
How we give
Choosing their value over how we see our limitations