Sunday, March 21, 2010

Letting Go

It's never easy letting go of something you love.
I've been thinking about this quite a bit this last month. After looking up the definition for love in the dictionary, I found that although it had numerous definitions, none really defined the word. Maybe that is because love is sort of undefinable. Listed below are a few definitions from the good old Merriam dictionary.
1. strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.
2. affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests
3. an attraction based on sexual desire
4. warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion or an object of attachment,
devotion, or admiration.
5. an unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another

Pretty shallow definitions for an emotion that makes your heart ache with such longing and the pit of your stomach feel sick when you are separated from that special someone. This longing that is so strong that it creates a constant desire to hold on to the object of your affection so tightly that you never have to be separated from it.
We humans have the tendency to cling on to the people and things we love. We are quite selfish by we hold on tightly, fearing and dreading their loss because, in truth, it is painful to love. It is my experience that love will eventually lead you down the path of hurt, pain, loss or a broken and wounded heart. I'm speaking now in terms of the physical realm. People move, die, or no longer have attachment, devotion or enthusiasm for us anymore.
And so we cling or worse yet, we refuse to open up and love in order to protect ourselves. We will withhold love to avoid being hurt. It seems we fear the risk of that hurt..or maybe it is too emotionally draining or damaging to our own heart.
As I researched bible verses, I discovered that God's definition of love is a little more revealing and worth some exploration.
In 1 John 4:16 I learned that God IS love.
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God is in him."
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment." 1 John 4:18
As I pondered the idea of God BEING love, it struck me that being created in God's image, His heart must also feel some of the hurt and pain at the rejection of affection He receives from all of us. He chooses to love us without a return. There is no guarantee that He will get anything back from us for His love for us. Still, He chooses to love strings...nothing in it for Him....His undeserved gift to us with no expectations on us..a gift He provided for both receivers and rejectors alike. He loved us...then let us go.
But there is a key to God's love that we in turn need to discover. Letting go. His love has no fear of letting go of us. He doesn't cling to us...He doesn't withhold His love for us or from us. He just IS. Even though loving us has the potential to hurt Him...and even though He desires to have us with Him forever....And even though it sometimes hurts His heart and He longs to be with us....He sets us free. He doesn't try to coerce us into loving Him...He doesn't try to manipulate us...His love is free to us,
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."~Romans 5:8.
Love is an amazing thing, but I believe that to experience love the way it was meant to involves opening up and loving for all your worth with no promise of return and the potential of rejection and pain. You shouldn't enter a love relationship with the thought of what is in it for me. Love is NEVER wasted.
I guess that is what I mean by letting go. I guess in actuality it is about letting go of self. "love is not self-seeking.."~I Corinthians 13:5.
Learning to let go is scary. It involves sacrifice on our part. It's not always getting what we want. It's risky. But if we really want to experience the kind of love that God is...the only clinging we should be doing is clinging to the cross of Christ.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:38
Are you clinging to things you love too tightly? Are you afraid to love because you don't want to get hurt?
Let go of self...let go of your fears....let go of your past....let go of everything except the One thing.
"Jesus....lover of my soul.....Jesus I'll NEVER let you go."

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