You can’t give what you don’t have.
The first step in loving those who don’t love you is to first be filled with love yourself. If you don’t have love in you, you can’t give it to others. It’s impossible. The question is how can you be filled with love when you don’t receive love from that person. The answer is in the word love itself. God is love so we must go straight to God to receive the love we need for this seemingly impossible mission.
I once heard that receiving God’s love is like breathing. If your lungs are empty, you become weak and cannot live for long. We cannot live or love fully without God’s love. When you inhale it’s like receiving his love. Your lungs fill with his love and you receive life. You are filled, satisfied, and can delight and treasure his love. But you can’t keep your lungs full constantly and you have to exhale and let the air out. This releasing part is what happens when God’s love overtakes you – there is so much that you cannot contain it inside and must share it with those around you. When God fills you with love, he gives you more than you need so that you can then be his love to those around you.
God desires to fill each one of us with his love, not just to make us feel loved, but to fill us so full of love that we can’t contain that love and want to love others like he does. This is his greatest desire and makes him so happy.
In every moment he is longing for us to surrender to him and to let him love us. He wants us to open up ourselves to him to receive this love. To do this we have to be willing to completely surrender. He can’t force his love on us, so we can only receive it when we are open to it. When we do let him love us it is life giving and life changing.
This love I have received from God has filled me so fully in ways I never knew were possible. It has opened my eyes and completely changed my thoughts on love. It has given me everything I need and more to love those in my life even when I don’t “feel” like it or when I don’t feel loved by them. In the moments in my marriage where I feel unloved or hurt, God’s love has sustained me, reminded me of my immense worth as a daughter of God, and given me so much love to pour out on my husband.
In my moments of frustration and hurt when I wonder how I can love someone who I don’t feel like loving or someone who isn’t showing me love, I breathe slowly. Each time I inhale I ask God to fill me with his love. I hold my breath for a second, just thinking about his love for me. Then I exhale and imagine the air I exhale as being the love I want to give and respond with that love that God had placed on my heart.
Just as God can’t force his love on us, we can’t force others to receive our love, but we can choose to love them anyway. God is the source of love and he fills us with the love we need to love others when we don’t feel loved by them. When we let him fill us we receive love and can then give to others what we have received.
For me it’s a simple reminder to always breathe love.