I had every intention of blogging for Blogtember again today as I love a good creative writing prompt, but then life got in the way and work ate me for lunch and dinner and so I sat frustrated last night in city group. I arrived in a huff after a hellacious day, a horrible trip to the store and a half done breakfast pizza in hand. Flustered is an understatement.
I shleffed through conversation as we sat and ate and caught up on everyone's week. I laughed and giggled a little with our host's son, who just brings joy to a room, but I just was not right. I found myself jealous at the growing pregnant belly on one of the girls and knowing there was another one soon to be popping and just tried to smile. I was disgruntled with the smiles of the faces around me and just was not very inspired by the sermon last week, so all in all I just felt like it would have been better for me to sit at home and rest.
Urg....As we begin to talk about the sermon and delve into Mark, I felt myself come around a little. The topic: scandalous grace and one-way love. One-way love... this is so hard for me to give and receive.
It is hard for me to think that people just love me for me and except nothing in return. I often turn down things from people because I do not want to feel obligated to them or I constantly feel like I cannot say or do anything to upset them after because I "owe" them something.
On the flip side, I expect other people to love me or care for me a certain way. I excpect my mother to love me like a "mother" should. You know, you feel entitled to be cared for the way you think that should look like. We expect our spouses, friends, significant others to love us how we need to be loved. We feel entitled.
When Jenny said that I was dumbfounded. Entitled... Ouch, it stung in my soul. That was it. That was what got to me. I feel entitled. Not that I should be given certain things for praise for a job well done, but entitled to be loved a certain way.
I feel like my mother, brother, family should love me like a "family" should (you know conjure up the Walton's or the Brady Bunch). I feel like my friends should know when things are wrong and include me in things to show they care for me and love me. Even as I walked into my CG last night I felt entitled for them to see how frustrated and down I was and love me.
I listened more to what Jenny was saying and thought about it. Does Jesus expect me to do, act or be a certain way to earn His love and Grace? No... that is the whole meaning of scandalous grace. Its meant for those who are dirty, broken and seemingly unworthy of love, forgiveness--grace. Does Jesus feel entitled to my love? For me to love Him a certain way? Of course not. He gives me this love and grace and steadfast support no matter what I do or so in return. I can forsake Him any number of times and He is still there, every present and ready to continue to love me.
So why do I feel entitled? What about our society has made us so selfish that we feel that we are owed anything by anyone? Why is one-way love so hard for us? No one can love and care for anyone perfectly, except Him.
We cannot love our family, friends, spouses exactly how they need. Sure we can try and we accommodate that, its part of compromise and a healthy relationship, but its not the giving of this love we struggle with, its accepting it. Its saying this is the love this person has to give me, just as He provides and I need to accept it for what it is and be thankful I have it.
Shedding that sense of entitlement is no easy task and I don't think you can truly escape it. It creeps in so easily much like greed and envy.
As I got in the car last night and drove I began to cry. Part of it was pure exhaustion and stress and part of release of emotion. The tears fell and I prayed. I asked for forgiveness and thanked Him for continuing to love me perfectly--perfectly scandalous.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9.