Our topic for family devotional the other night was love. That at all times God calls us to give love when we’re mad when we’re sad, when people are mean to us and when they are nice – Always Love.
Much of my life I’ve made the mistake of thinking that love meant that I can’t expect anything in return and that I had to always keep my heart open and forgiving time after time no matter how often or how much they hurt me. I’d give people permission to break my heart and then essentially say – it’s ok, you’re forgiven and then allow the pattern to continue. I’ve been so damaged because of that because I didn’t treat my heart like a circuit. I’ve been starting to figure out how to pour out love, yet keep my heart protected from people who don’t pour love back in. So, that’s why it was the topic at the dinner table.
I want my girls to be the light of God walking around and drawing people in. But if their heats are closed off because of pain from others, they won’t be able to do that. As we spoke my daughter opened up about some kids on the playground that she gets frustrated with and how hard it is to make the right choice to be nice, but she always tries to and my step-daughter actually introduced me to the circuit concept – as she tried to understand how love can flow out but the boundary to let hate flow in needs to be set and secure in who God says we are. She says “so, like a circuit right” she’s such a brilliant young lady and I had no clue what she meant.. Had to ask her to explain that one.
Unconditional Love is the acceptance of a person without him or her meeting any conditions. Or, in other words – having affection for someone without establishing limitations. It’s a state of being not a state of doing. If we try to love unconditionally it won’t happen – we’ll automatically put limitations on ourselves or others. But when we live from the heart we are, kind of, automatically walk it out.
Unconditional Love is a State of Being NOT as state of Doing
What would your life look like if you didn’t feel the urge to complain or grumble about another person?
By living within unconditional love we put our selves in a situation where we have total control over our emotions and reaction. “I tell the girls – just because one person sins, doesn’t mean you have to give them the keys to your car and allow them to control you to sin” We are the writers of our own emotions and aren’t a victim to circumstance. We can show love to others without letting them take hold of our emotions and our attitudes. We won’t have many reasons to complain about others if we live with a heart attitude of love.
The times I fall victim to complaining and grumbling about others is when I can’t believe that they don’t abide by the same set of rules – or in my opinion at the time “common sense”. I think, “how can they not know that’s not acceptable”. That’s not unconditional love – as a matter of fact, that very conditional.
I read a book a while back by Brene Brown – she said, as hard as it is to accept this, everyone is doing the best that they know how. The best that they’ve been taught. Each of us comes from a different story and a different set of rules.
Crazy concept right, everyone is doing the best they know how – not our best – but their best.
Choosing Who we open both sides of the Circuit for
Now, let’s get back to that circuit. We can pour out unconditional love to everyone, but allow only certain things to come into our inner circle. That’s where the circuit comes in. One side of our circuit is pouring out the love and the other side is only allowing selective things to come in.
Love unconditionally, but access to our inner circle can be 100% conditional. If someone can’t treat us with love, respect, kindness… we have the right to not hang out with them, not spend time with them and politely decline invites of time spent. Remember, though, these people can be eliminated from your inner circle – but unconditional love says we don’t place any judgment or hard feelings on them – they are doing their best.
Now, in giving access to your heart. The people that belong to your inner circle are the ones that have earned your trust, they treat you with the kindness, love and respect you deserve. They live by the same set of rules and values as you do. Maybe you could put up a scale system from 1 to 10. Friends in the 10s are your dearest friends and as you work back words you determine who and how much access people have to impact your heart and your life.
We watch girl meets world at our house from time to time and one of my favorite lines is “good or bad, people change people”.
We have the ability to limit or completely cut off access to people who don’t treat us right. The hard part is to do that without casting judgment and continuing to pour out unconditional love toward that person. Jesus said, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” We need to take steps to protect our hearts and our worth by setting up our circuits – aka boundaries that limit access to our hearts.
Lord, please give us the wisdom we need to pour out unconditional love while setting boundaries that protect our heart. Give us the courage and strength to set those, especially when it’s people we really love and have been part of our inner circle for many years. Help us learn to love ourselves and see us the way that you do so that we do treat ourselves with the love and protect our hearts. In Jesus Name Amen