I’m not one to talk about love often. In fact, for many years I was even uncomfortable with the word “love”. This wasn’t part of my vocabulary and I was utterly perplexed by those who integrated it into their daily lives and vocabularies with such ease. For the longest time, I thought I didn’t even have a love language because I don’t like being touched, praised, or given gifts.
“You don’t feel loved because you don’t let others love you.”
This is the phrase I felt God speak to me in the middle of a church service. Just before he dropped this truth bomb on me, I had been eating a quick bite before service started, when someone came up and tried to clear the table. I felt so awkward and uncomfortable letting this person serve me. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to inconvenience him, after all, I’m the one that’s used to cleaning up after others. I did allow him to take my trash (talk about making personal progress) even though I was in the midst of an internal struggle. Then, after worship, God whispered that phrase to me. It’s great when God throat-punches you out of nowhere, right?
The truth is that I’m not good at receiving love. Some people are great at it and will happily soak up love like a sponge, but I will run and hide from it as fast as I possibly can. At some point, I bought into this lie that I don’t need love. Because if I don’t need love and I don’t get love, I don’t have to deal with rejection. If I believe I can exist apart from love then I don’t have to worry about receiving love and can instead choose to opt out of the whole thing.
This way of living can work for a while until you encounter perfect Love.
God is pure, unfiltered, unadulterated Love and we were created to be loved by him and to love him and others in return. Over the years, God has been breaking down the hard exterior that I put up to protect myself from others. He’s been dismantling the lies that I’ve told myself that I can exist outside of love and he is drawing me nearer to him daily. Some days I refuse, thinking that my old loveless way of life is more appropriate for me, but other days I submit and experience yet another layer of his goodness.
Learning to receive love is hard. I often feel like it shouldn’t be all that difficult but, for me, it really has been. It’s required trust and vulnerability, the lowering of my defenses, and a shattering of my view of myself.
I’m still not good at receiving love by any means, but I’m learning to accept love in little ways from him and those around me.
And, in case you were wondering, I do have a love language and it’s acts of service. I’m learning that I feel loved when someone does something to lighten my load (that I don’t have to fix later) without my asking. One of the many great things about God is that he is the ultimate servant who selflessly served us and continues to serve us as our Great High Priest. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
Do you struggle to receive love? Why do you think that is?
What’s your top love language?