Heart Battles

They aren't for the weak! Because just when you think you've got it conquered, another spot rears its head.

I have a particular situation in my life. It affects an area of my heart that I've known was a struggle, but not until more recent times did I understand to what degree I'm fighting. Because it's a battle, my friend! No easy way around it or over it, I can only go through. (Much as I might wish otherwise.)

It's a battle that I've won actually. I've won and yet it comes back again. It doesn't give up. (Or should I say, he doesn't give up. Our adversary is very determined to get us back, isn't he?) My heart is still fearful. And just when I thought I could handle things, a mini skirmish happened and I came through with my fingertips barely holding on. I won, but it was a grit your teeth kind of win. A win that didn't really feel like a win.

Ever had that happen?

I just want to taste victory for more than a few days or a few weeks! Is that so much to ask?

And yet...

I read this post recently and here is my favorite part of it:
"The person in our lives most challenging to love...is the instrument for bringing us to the end of that plastic kind of love and the beginning of our own personal revelation of the cross as a doorway, not just a destination."
So even though my (our) heart turns again and again to fear, yet God can still use that "thing" in our lives, that battle, to teach us (me) how to love more fully. I hadn't actually made that connection with my situation until I read that post, but now I'm pondering if that isn't what God is trying to teach me. (Or at least it may be one of His lessons? I'm sure I have many lessons awaiting me! :) Loving well.

It's such a vast subject, love. And I am far from figuring it all out and definitely far from putting into proper application in my life! But I think that's it right there. Loving people in spite of anything. Here's another portion of the post that hit me:
"...he or she...is only my greatest challenge if I believe that my eighty-something years on earth were intended for me only to know safe love--the world's version of love. If I am to receive and live a love that has known a shape and form that doesn't bend or break or bleed, then these ones are a real problem. A hindrance. But His love isn't plastic. And He said about me what He is saying to me about them. Go again."
Love is hard, people. Love isn't the happy rainbows we imagine as a child. Loving someone, truly loving someone, is one of the most difficult things that God asks us to do. Why? Because it's worth it.

Because it wouldn't mean half so much if our hearts didn't bleed.

Take this example: I have a dear friend. We've known each other for most of our lives, although we didn't truly become friends until our teens. But once we did, we just understood each other. And loved each other. But then something happened. I could make all kinds of excuses for myself, but all that really matters is that I hurt her. And I shouldn't have. We worked through it, praise the Lord! And now? Now. I count her as one of my closest friends. Our friendship is so much deeper and full of understanding that we never had before. And love we never had before. We walked through a fire and came out the other side slightly crisp but forged strong.

And that? That's what love does. That's what love is. Loving in spite of all else. In spite of the hurt. In spite of the pain. In spite of the frustration. In spite of the fear. Loving again and again and again. And even when we're hurt (again and again and again), going back and loving anyway. Loving hard!

That's real, my friends.

That's Jesus.

So in my battle, my fearful heart needs to remember that. Love anyway, dear old heart. I'm going to hurt, no doubt about it. There's bound to be pain (and possibly a great deal of it). But if I love anyway, if I love well......just imagine what glorious things may be in store!

Whether God is using this battle for purposes which include the people I'm loving, whether it's for a future purpose only He knows, or whether it's simply a battle to be fought so that Heaven will feel a lot more real to me, I don't know. But any which way it can go, this one thing I am clear on....

Love isn't meant for just one person.