I don’t love people.

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I don’t love people.

I mean, I know Jesus tells me to love my neighbor and I DO. I mean my neighbor on the one side is a guy who keeps his lawn mowed and even helps shovel my driveway in the winter. The other side, is a church and most of the time its empty. So, that was easy.

What? My neighbor means EVERYONE? Uh, that’s a little ridiculous. I mean, there are a lot of idiots out there. And you’re telling me I have to love them?

I prefer to love people who treat me well. Or in the very least, can be titled a “good person”. It’s easy to love people who we deem lovable.

But then there’s the not so lovable people.

Like the guy who rejected me because I wasn’t a size 6 (Or because I had opinions. Possibly a mix of both). Or the person who has corrected my grammar on FB about 5 different times now (Seriously, I’m not writing a novel, people). Or the person who’s been nasty to my bestie (don’t mess with my BFF). Or the person who sped up in the slow lane so I couldn’t pass them on the highway (HELLLLLOOOOO! I’m trying to pass you!) Or the person who looked at me sideways in the grocery story (Do I have something on my FACE?!).

By now, you must think I’m just a miserable, nasty person. Maybe that’s true, or maybe I’m just being honest.

I want to love people. I’m just honest about the struggle. Most days I don’t love people. I’ve spent most of my life hand selecting those I’ll love and those I won’t. It’s an arduous process for sure, but it seemed necessary. In doing so, I put a ticket booth at the gate of my heart.

“Got a ticket?”

“Nope.” Hands showing empty pockets.

“Sorry, Charlie. Move along.”

The issue then becomes, not that I’m not loving certain people, but that I’ve taken on the job as ticket collector. I’m the one calling the shots. There’s a better way. And, dare I say, MORE fun.

When I let Jesus run the ticket booth, I’ve got more time for the Merry-Go-Round and the fried Oreos (Try them once before you die). I’m no longer deciding who gets in, but enjoying those who get to join me on the adventure. Sure, there’ll be an idiot along the way, yelling and holding a sign that reads “God hates fags”. But maybe, just MAYBE, Jesus let him in too so he could see there’s more to life than hate and sign waving. Maybe it’ll take me loving him that will convince him to put his sign down. Probably not, but what if that’s all it took.

Love invites. It’s not saying I approve of your actions, but I love you despite them. That’s what’s so striking about Jesus. He loves flawed, ignorant, selfish people and it’s that kind of love that changes hearts. You’ll never overcome hate with more hate.

“The way we love each other is still the best proof that Jesus is alive. Who we are says a lot about who He is.” Bob Goff

 

Are you for real?

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Social media has a bad reputation. It gets accused of being shallow and showing the world only the best and most exciting parts of a person’s life. That it breeds narcissism, selfishness and egotism. You can after all, at any moment, show the world your OOTD*, what you ate for breakfast and give your critique of the movie you watched all while sitting on the toilet taking a dump.

These types of bed head pics don’t usually make the cut, unless of course you’re ok with people seeing morning eye crusties:

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Usually, we post the perfectly filtered profile picture ready ones like these:

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As much as I’d love to peg Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media site as the scapegoat I know the real problem isn’t the media being used, but the person using it.

I don’t think social media is the problem. As much as my dad may disagree. I think the issue of shallow relationships, selective sharing and spotlighting achievements has been happening since before the Internet was even invented. Before electricity even. You see, from the beginning, humanity has been trying to cover up the undesirable parts. (If you want an explanation on that, check out my post “Showering Naked & Other Fears”.)

I assure you, I agree there is a problem. I guess I’m just more frustrated with people who ask, “How are you doing?” and then look at you like you just rained on their parade when you give them an honest response. I understand there are certain social norms that dictate that the “appropriate” response is “fine” or “good”, but I can’t bring myself to lie if that isn’t how I’m feeling. I’ve found my honesty is unwarranted most of the time, but I figure they’ll think twice before asking me again.

I also understand that not everyone is meant to be in the “inner circle” of your life. That some people are strangers, others are acquaintances, others are going to get ice cream friends and others still are sitting by your hospital bed companions. There’s this relationship hierarchy and with each level comes higher responsibility, deeper commitment and vulnerability. There’s wisdom in boundaries, to a certain extent.

Here’s the thing: Genuine relationship is rooted in honest dialogue.

And sometimes honest dialogue comes when someone finds out, “Hey! I do that too” or “I’ve felt like that”. So even though I might not want people to know certain things, sharing those things can make a connection. And I believe, ultimately it will bring freedom and relief to know I’m not alone, but someone can relate.

It’s not easy and everything inside is screaming: DON’T SHARE THAT! THEY WON’T ACCEPT YOU ANYMORE! THEY WON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE. THEY’LL LOOK AT YOU DIFFERENTLY! But that’s just the enemy trying to keep you isolated. Some people may look at you differently, but for others you may just be the breath of fresh air they’ve been gasping for.

That’s one of the reasons why I write this blog. If someone, even ONE person can connect with my struggle, my story, and find some kind of freedom, some kind of Life for their weary bones than its all worth it to me.

*For those of you who don’t know what this acronym stands for, let me help you out. Outfit Of The Day. Yup. It’s a thing. I promise.

I’m done with you.

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Have you ever been hurt by someone? Yes, of course, you have a pulse. I think that comes with the territory.

In the midst of that pain, frustration, disappointment have you have said within their earshot (or under your breath): “I’m done with you!” Their failures now outweighing any good they had brought to your life. You comfort yourself that its the best choice. Better to cut ties than get hurt later on AGAIN. No one is going to call me a fool. I’m getting out while I can.

I’m done.

I’ve said that about a few people in my life. Some just a faint memory, others fresher wounds. Just this week, I uttered those words again. I’d had enough. “See ya later!” my heart declared. And that, was that.

A few days later, I’m in a worship service minding my own business. Just trying to focus on Jesus, but struggling to do so. I feel Jesus nudge my heart.

“Hey Holls.”

“Uh, ya? What’s up, Jesus?”

“Remember how ______ hurt you this week? How you decided you were done with them? Remember that?”

“Uh, ya…”

“Ya, I never do that.”

Huh….

I began to remember the stupid things I had done. The times I had grieved the heart of Jesus. Some, maybe even most, of the time doing it knowing full well that I was hurting Him, but not caring cause I was gonna do what I wanted. Each time, though, He’d still be there.

I’m sure I’ll continue to hurt him from time to time. And He’ll remain the same. His steadfast love being…well….steadfast.

Today, let’s take some time to thank God that His love is nothing like mine. That His love won’t give up on you no matter how many failures, slip-ups, tantrums you throw. His love will never run out, but is continually “on tap” and accessible.

His love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:8)