For a second time it has hit me that love makes one feel beautiful. I wrote about realizing this for the first time in Hopelessness Turned to Hope shortly after my trip to Peru last summer. At that time it was more of an intellectual realization but now it’s a heart realization. I feel what I first saw to be true because some days lately I haven’t felt very beautiful. Of course, I should always feel beautiful because I am a daughter of the King but honestly, sometimes I don’t. It’s at those times I am not as loving as I could and should be.
To be and feel beautiful there’s a circular pattern. People with beautiful spirits are likeable, so in turn, to be loved by people around us our first step is to love them; I don’t think this should be the point to our love but it is a reward. It’s when others love us we feel beautiful but it’s when we love others we truly are beautiful. What I so often have to fight for is to keep my spirit beautiful when I’m depressed.
I have days when I would like to creep under a rug and disappear. All the wrong and stupid things I’ve done and said just run through my head and drive me crazy with regret. Homeward Bound is my song in those moments (or days). Every day I feel depressed I think of the words “all my words come back to me, in shades of mediocrity, like emptiness in harmony. I need someone to comfort me”.
Is it wrong to feel like I need people, their love and comfort? I used to think it was. I thought I should be content alone because I didn’t have a need.
I have often thought I’m being purely selfish when I think I need people or like my focus is completely wrong when I enjoy and gain so much from a friendship but the truth is, I don’t have a heart completely like God’s. While I am made in his image, my heart is not the same. There are two kinds of love: Need-love and Gift-love. When it comes to the way God and I love it is through divine opposition that I am able to draw near to him in a complimentary way. He is complete, lacking in nothing, and completely able to give everything without needing anything in return; I am empty and nothing without Christ and need to be filled and made. I love God because he first loved me. He said “It is not good for man to be alone” so while I don’t have to be married, I do need others around me. C. S. Lewis says “We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves” and I wholeheartedly agree with him.
I don’t mean to imply we cannot, as humans, give. Gift-love is the very mark of authentic Christian life because in it we are like God, we can love in some measure the way God loves us—patiently, selflessly, and forgivingly. 1st John 4:9-11 says “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” When we do love like this we become more like God but not nearer to him in the sense I wrote about above. But from what I understand, giving is often a kind of Need-love as well (so is not always like God’s love). This happens when we give and share what we have with others because without giving we end up feeling worse—so in this way it turns into a Need-love.
Using Need-love disguised as Gift-love is dangerous. It sucks the life out of those I want to love simply because I want their love in return. I have taken so much while calling it “a gift.” Love had become my god, and in that it became a demon. C. S. Lewis also wrote “The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift. We feed children in order that they may soon be able to feed themselves; we teach them in order that they may soon not need our teaching. Thus a heavy task is laid upon this Gift-love. It must work towards is own abdication . . . the hour when we can say ‘They need me no longer’ should be our reward.”
I have had this humongous wrong idea almost all my life that I don’t need anyone. I’ve thought I didn’t need God, I didn’t need help, and now I realize I thought I didn’t even need friendships even though I greatly enjoy them. How foolish I have been! I am helpless and I am given each and every breath that I breathe. I need.