The hardest thing in the world is choosing to forgive. Choosing to let go of offense. Feeling betrayed and hurt by people and then choosing to get back up and keep loving on people.
Sometimes I want to give up. I want to give up on relationships.
I feel that way every once in a while. Not just because I’m an introvert and get tired out by too much people time, but because I’m sensitive. I have a tender heart, and when I let people in, I sometimes end up getting really hurt.
Hurt enough that I just want to throw in the towel on friendship and go become a hermit in the woods. I could have lovely conversations in the forest by myself, write novels, cook for myself, explore nature, and never talk to another human being again. I could, right?
But then God reminds me, “Loving is not weakness.”
Even if the person I choose to love doesn’t appreciate my love, God sees it. And He is pleased.
I once heard that the key to joy is feeling appreciated.
Since hearing that, I’ve realized how true it is. I may be the same loving, compassionate, sweet, hilarious person today as I was yesterday, but if no one acknowledges any of those qualities in me today, if no one expresses any sort of appreciation for them (even a simple moment of eye contact can be expression enough), I start to forget that I am that person. I start to feel like being that person is burdensome. I start to wonder what the point of it all is.
I begin to feel in need of something I can’t quite define and feel needy for needing it.
I used to think the solution was independence, deciding to not need other people. But now I realize that the answer isn’t independence, but more complete dependence, full reliance on the One who always sees and always appreciates.
I see what you did for that person. I saw the way you held back when you wanted to say something rude; I saw the way you secretly cleaned up after them; I saw the way you reached out and asked them how they were doing when you really didn’t want to; I saw how you made a point of being kind to that person who was disrespecting you; and I am so proud of you.
That’s when I realize it’s not pointless or burdensome to love. That’s when I realize that choosing to love is not weakness. It’s the way of my Father, and I choose to follow Him.