Is love linear?

I’ve been seeing a spiritual director for a few months now.   The main benefit to me is it helps me ask the right questions.  I have much to learn, and unlearn.   In our last session I was talking with her about the difficulty I often have loving and giving myself away to those I claim to love, that it feels so draining and often thankless, with nothing coming back to me.   She said, “It sounds as though you see love as linear.  What if it isn’t?  What if love is actually circular?”   My response was a very blank stare, followed by   “….. What?!”    It sounded too good to be true.  She continued, “And you never give love without it coming back to you in some way, maybe not from the same source, but it will come, if you wait and watch, expect and hope.”  Wow.    Sounded so revolutionary and amazing, it made me weep. 

I wanted badly to believe it, and faith God for it.  So I decided to try it on.   To sit with it and pray for it, and pray for eyes to see love when it shows up.  I thought about scripture that might support it, like “Give and it will be given to you, in full measure, pressed down and overflowing.”  If you think about that gift being love, wow.   I think I need to sit with this for a year, or maybe the rest of my life, and let God peel off layers and reveal the truth about love.  I have so much to learn.

I have questions too.  I give love away, but frequently with expectations attached.  I get that’s what she meant by linear.  So is it ok to expect that I will receive love somewhere along the way somehow?   Should we pretend we don’t care a whit about being loved ourselves?  What do we do with our all too human feelings?  Jesus asked, “What do you want?  What do you most desire?”  I believe He cares about the deepest desires of our heart, and wants to meet them.   And He IS love.  The source.   Love doesn’t begin with me.   That’s a pretty shallow well.  Right now I’m just believing God will meet me today.  And in that awareness, I will be loved.

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5 Responses to Is love linear?

  1. Jennifer Trocquet says:

    I am resonating with what you have presented here, Leslie. I am thankful that I have read this because it is completely reinforcing one of the major themes I have been dealing with lately. In fact, the “theme” has become a question I frequently ask myself. WHO is my Source for peace, for joy, for fulfillment, for stability, security & for satisfaction? I tell myself that I regard Jesus as my ONLY source, yet, when I analyze at my relationships, I see that I often am NOT relying on Him alone as my only Source. I know this because I find that I do catch myself becoming frustrated & disappointed at times when relationships with humans do not “worK’ in the way that I had selfishly expected them to. I do believe that we should be concerned about being loved, after all, the second greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves. Given that, there is a Biblically healthy & well-balanced way of loving ourselves. Humans are vessels (containers), we can only give to others the love that has been poured into us. No doubt that at times, we find ourselves “empty”, “dry” & “lacking” and unable to give. It is at those times that we search for a source to fill us & to satisfy us. The question is, during those times, who do we seek after to “fill” us? After all, Jesus’ message to the woman at the well (and us) was that He desired to be her Source if only she would come to Him & that ONLY He is able to meet all her needs in a lasting way (John 4:13 & Philippians 4:19).


    • holywholly says:

      I love so much of what you wrote, Jen. I agree that being and staying centered in Christ has to be my foundation. Otherwise I tend to have unrealistic expectations of others being the ones to fulfill my needs & I become frustrated when that doesn’t happen. I heard at an Alanon meeting once that “expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” Powerful. If I’m centered in God & accepting the love he has for me, it seems to flow outward so much more freely.

      As a follow to that, I’m glad you pointed out that it’s important to love ourselves, as part of the second commandment. True. I think that tends to get overlooked. We move right into the command to love others. But we can’t love others with healthy, unattached motives if we don’t love and accept ourselves as fully as God does. For some of us, that’s a real challenge. But it’s so worth exploring.

      Thanks so much for your insightful comments!


  2. Jennifer Trocquet says:

    Meant to say “when I analyze all of my relationships” in the 5th sentence. Sincere & heartfelt apologies.


  3. Jennifer Trocquet says:

    Fabulous, Leslea! I am so thankful for that elegant, yet powerful take home message. I will not soon forget that. Thanks so much for that! We are only truly free when we no longer expect anyone else to “fill” our emotional “cups/buckets” for us, knowing that no human is capable of doing that in any lasting way for us in the first place. We are in bondage (codependent, i.e. maintaining unhealthy relationships) when we unfairly expect others to BE & DO what we think is BEST (and more often than NOT, our expectations are WRONG). Only Jesus is fully capable of meeting all of our emotional needs more than sufficiently. We should never expect other humans to do what is clearly impossible for them. “Expectation” is the spiritual equivalent of taking our emotional buckets/cup to humans to fill them.


  4. holywholly says:

    Yes, and how freeing it is, for us and for them, when we’ve let them off the hook. We can do that if we’re centered and secure in God’s love. It frees us to love others as they are. It’s clearly an act of God when it happens in me!


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