Monday, August 2, 2010

And This Is Why I Love Donald Miller

And respect his writing. And follow his blog. And his tweets.

It seems that when I'm struggling, God leads me to something or someone that will speak to me about what is going on in my head or heart. Today has been no exception.

Perusing through my Google Reader this morning to catch up on blogs that I follow, the title of Miller's latest post I'd Rather Be Hated Than Loved Conditionally knocked me over. It was exactly how I am feeling, but have been unable to weave into discernible words and sentences. It was how I tried so desperately to explain to my husband last night bawling in the driveway, sitting in the car, after we took a drive to get a coffee. I could not mix the thoughts and feelings into anything that made sense.

And that sentence. That sentiment. That blog title could have rolled right out of my heart in those tears. I just couldn't pinpoint it. So God gave me a little boost.

I have been in a bad place this morning. I was still awake after 3am, slept on the couch, and woke up to realize I hadn't shaken the feelings. Going off on a friend, who even complimented what a good rant it was, didn't do any good. It merely made my feelings razor sharp. (Which is exactly what my son's therapist tells us that ranting does. Perhaps we should listen?)

I love to love. I love to do things for people. I don't do it for the return; in fact, when people thank me or say something nice about what I've done, it makes me feel weird inside. I don't accept it very well for some reason. I have just taken this to be another thing within me that doesn't work quite like it should. I even tell myself, "Just say thank you. That's it. Don't argue."

I do things that I see that need to be done. It's that simple. I can't stand for things to go undone. I want others to be happy. If I do something well, and someone else doesn't, I do not mind using my skill to make it easier on them. I think it's more of an obsessive/compulsive thing. And I'm serious. I just want people to be happy.

The unhappiness often slips into my heart when I can't overcome when someone else doesn't see it my way. Or do it my way. Or think like I think. The thing is, I am so much better about it than I used to be, but I can't seem to kick that last bit of it hanging onto my personality.

I have been cranky and grouchy and generally upset today because I was feeling it from the other side. I was feeling treated badly, loved but only with conditions, made to feel yucky. When I saw the title, I was thinking of myself. And I was so happy that words had been attached to how I was feeling!

Then I read on. And realized that God brought me here for another reason as well.

I will not say that I do not love unconditionally, because I feel I do much of the time; but I am guilty of letting differences irritate me to the point that I'm ruining my own day. I am guilty of not letting these things roll off my back. And I am guilty of becoming frustrated when someone else does this. I believe this is why God led me to Miller's post. A mini coming-to-Jesus meeting, of sorts.

If I want to be loved without strings, then I must must be willing to do it myself. Jesus was not a control freak and, for crying out loud, he certainly had the right to be! But he chose not to be.

If you want to be a control freak, by all means - do it. Control yourself and quit focusing on when those around you aren't doing what you want, when you want, in exactly the way you want and are absolutely sure is the best way to do it.

And we are not talking about parenting here, where you are there to correct and lead. Not this time. What this is about is adult, consenting relationships. Adults do not need to be treated like children by other adults. They do not need to be treated well on the condition that they are doing life your way. 

Relationships are give and take - and that does not mean you give orders and conditions and those in your life take them and go about life so you will be happy. You give love, you take love; you give in sometimes, they give in sometimes; you give leeway, they give leeway; you give a good ribbing, they take it; they give a good ribbing, and you take it.

Laugh, talk, discuss the good and the bad. Let others be able to talk to you about how they feel without fear of ridicule and criticism. Listen. Love. Comfort. You do not have to agree to be supportive. And get this: sometimes your opinion doesn't matter.

I'm sure Jesus wanted to throttle 80% of those he encountered during his ministry on earth. He felt pain. He felt sadness. He was tempted. He was human. However, as God's son he could have called out everyone he had relationships with on how wrong they were about the way they went about so much in their lives. Yes, he cared for their well-being. Yes, he knew there was a better way. Yes, he could see their ways were not lining up with his. But he did not browbeat, did not criticize, did not act condescendingly to make them see things his way. He acted quietly and lovingly. Amazingly, the end does not always justify the means.

I was feeling browbeaten and realized that I was feeling conditionally loved, but ended up with so much more. I am feeling convicted to look inward instead of point fingers.

Thanks, Donald, for being the conduit for God's message to me this morning. It seems he's been trying to reach me without success.

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