Our teaching pastors put this quote up during the sermon a couple of weeks ago:
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
— C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
This was convicting to me. I want to be vulnerable so that I am more loving. Too often, I am fearful of being vulnerable because I do not want to experience rejection. I am like this with people who have knowingly or unknowingly hurt me with their words or actions in the past. It is a defense mechanism that wells up immediately, unfortunately. I do not want this to happen. It is just a habit that is now hard to break.
Sometimes I am not vulnerable because I am too prideful. I do not want to appear needy. Pride and fear--the two emotions that usually go hand in hand and keep us from experiencing Jesus and others fully. I pray daily that these two emotions would lessen in me and be replaced by a spirit of humility and faith.
Real love is messy. Real love experiences conflicts but does not sweep the conflict under the rug and ignore it. Real love talks things through and doesn't punish you if you don't see eye to eye. Real love is not surfacy--it is willing to go deep and discuss real issues of the heart. Real love chooses to love those that are different. Real love doesn't show favoritism. Real love pursues a relationship with you and makes you feel special. Real love encourages and spurs on. Real love shows up even when it is inconvenient. Real love chooses to forgive. Real love spends time with you just because. Real love doesn't hold grudges. Real love admits its weaknesses. Real love confronts but does so gently. Real love doesn't lie. If it sees sin, it calls it sin. Real love doesn't always feel good because there is pain in growth. If it 'feels happy and good' all the time, than it is not real love.
Real love always puts others before self. Real love doesn't boast in achievements or accomplishments. It is unconditional. Real love doesn't shrink back in fear. It is courageous. Real love is not stagnant or dull--it is changing, moving and growing--it is exciting.
Real love goes the distance. Real love transforms. Real love was experienced fully through the Cross. It was costly. It was painful. It was unselfish.
Real love is raw.
Real love is real.
Real love is vulnerable.
Real love is worth it.