Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.
― Richard Rohr
Why is love so scary? Maybe it’s because it asks us to be vulnerable before it delivers.
Addiction destroyed me. It ravaged my entire life and it took out everything that I had left. This would be the last phase of a long list of self-destructive habits that I had adopted; my last stop before I met an untimely death or an on-time life change, and the difference between the two would be my choice to make.
So I crawled away from drugs and alcohol with my life, and a deep seeded desire to experience rest- not knowing if I would make and certainly not believing that I deserved it.
But it was this destruction that opened a new door for me.
It ripped me apart just enough to create slithers of cracks in the shell that I had lived in. The walls that I had built as a child to keep the danger and fear and instability at a safe distance were beginning to weaken. I was raw and vulnerable and cut open.
And Hope crept in.
It was finally time.
I was apprehensive to fully embrace the belief that I was capable of change, and truthfully, I wasn’t sure that I would be strong enough to hack this sober living thing despite desiring freedom so badly I could feel it in my bones.
As I listened as other people who, just like me, had been in the place I was in, I realized that they knew how I was feeling. They had been where I had been.
They made it out to tell about the other side.
And that gave me hope.
Entertaining this new hope, would change things.
My hope turned into love, and I was in for quite a ride, because love is a game changer by nature.
Hate and Love ARE mutually exclusive.
I hated myself. I hated my choices and my past and my childhood and my mistakes.
I hated people who had peaceful lives, who could love, and smile and who looked annoyingly happy.
I hated that I couldn’t get anything right.
I hated who I saw in the mirror.
And I hated that I couldn’t seem to feel anything else but hatred.
Hope and love grow and unfortunately they don’t deliver the instant kind of gratification that I had grown accustom to.
It is actually really hard to transition to the comfort of a life filled with hatred to an unknown world filled with the vulnerability that love requires. It is a process of learning and stretching and shedding and growing. It asks that we choose to have faith and to trust that love will actually change things.
We are asked to set down our old way of seeing the world and the things in it, and walk away.
It asks that we just keep walking.
But over time this love smothers everything and it will cover all of the old things. We will actually start to believe that love is as powerful and life-changing as we had heard. And then, we begin to believe; in ourselves, and in others, and in hope.
We get excited because it is all real and as terrifying as it feels, it is ours.
All because of a hope that led us to leap into faith so that we could experience love.