“Don’t save up love like you’re trying to retire on it. Give it away like you’re made of the stuff,” Bob Goff.
Have you ever been in a room of people and felt alone? You look around and your heart longs for someone to see you. Not because you’re selfish or prideful, but because you’re human.
God created humans to thrive when they have love, connection, and community. Without love, you might be in a community and have connections with people, but you feel like you’re in a desert, longing for the water of life and love to pour over you, refreshing your soul, making your grow and flourish.
With the holidays approaching, there will be gatherings of family and friends and opportunities to share authentic love, the kind that pours life into others. But we often pull back from sharing it. Why do we do that?
Let’s look at the things that prevent us from loving others with the kind of richness God intends for love.
A critical spirit. Criticism is a killer of love. Though you may love someone, a critical spirit doesn’t convey that love. Instead, it says, “If you’d be different or do what I want you to do, then I’d love you or be happy with you.” A critical spirit negatively affects both parties.
Jealousy is similar to stealing. If you can’t have something someone else has, then jealously steals the joy of the other person and also steals the joy from your relationship. It ruins the love of celebrating with a friend or family member for their accomplishments or wanting the best for them.
Self. When you can’t give away love like Bob Goff refers too, there’s something inside you preventing you from giving love. There might be wounds causing you to protect yourself. You might not know how to love well because you didn’t receive it or see it modeled very often. Or, you might be insecure and so you don’t want to give out love because you might not get it in return. There are a lot of reasons inside of ourselves that make it hard to give away love. But it isn’t an excuse—it probably means that healing needs to happen so you can live in freedom and richness of love.
Stingy-ness. A person is stingy when he or she has resources and is not willing to share it, especially when there is no threat of running out. Love is free to all, so the choice to not share it is pure stingy-ness.
False affection. Love is a word that’s thrown around with inauthentic affection. When done so, it loses its meaning. But pure, kind, and true love causes both the giver and receiver to thrive. False love falls flat, reinforcing fake connection and community for both parties.
Sharing love with one another can be as simple as sharing authentic words of encouragement, a kind word, or genuine joy when another person has something happen to them. God says we are to love as He loves us.
That’s a love that never runs out. In this season, let’s give liberally the resource we all have—authentic love, helping all around us grow and thrive. Including ourselves.
Which one of these categories do you struggle with?