The unlovable’s attempts at love

blythepic1We have a saying in our bungalow: You are so lovable!! Meaning, easy to love, meaning, loving you is effortless. It’s more a commentary on the lover than the lovee; when I say this to my husband or one of my babies, I am really saying, I know how to love you well.

Which is easy to say when your babies are one and two.

I was recently asked how I have personally built intimate friendships and strong community for our family. My answer: Pursue, pursue, pursue, and be ready for rejection 99% of the time.

The face of the woman who asked me the question fell. But I already have suffered so much rejection, she said.

I frowned. Me, too. I can’t even tell you how much rejection I have experienced and do experience on a regular basis. Man, loving people is hard, and I am not good at it. I brainstorm for every person I decide to pursue: how I can I love her? What would make sense to her? How can I show her that I have noticed her and I want to know her? How can I convince her that I want to be friends?

It makes me miss second grade when all it took was a shy smile across the classroom to pair up as buddies, when holding hands showed the world your delight in each other.

As a little girl watching my Mamma, I thought that at some point I would know exactly how to love others, what to say in difficult situations, how to make women feel safe. Instead, I am clumsy and say awkward things. I struggle to make eye contact and rely way too much on texting. I forget women’s names and don’t know how to relate to their children. When someone accepts my pursuit and decides to be my friend, it is truly a miracle.

I would say this is a confession, but I think it’s pretty obvious: I am not lovable. I am not easy to love. I am selfish and controlling and spend way too much time thinking about stupid things that don’t matter in the end. Yet for some reason, God has decided to love me and he does so passionately and perfectly. Thanks to the certainty I have in that love, I can continue to take risks and reach out to others knowing I’ll likely be rejected.

Rejection stings. But the safety of God’s arms around me overwhelms.

10 thoughts on “The unlovable’s attempts at love

  1. Beth

    This really made me think. I am constantly trying to build community and intimacy in friendships and your advice is so needed. You’re so right about the rejection, it’s ever-present. Thinking about these things a lot with regards to where big baby goes when little baby gets born, and I just don’t feel like we have the kind of community who asks those kinds of big favors from each other. Everyone’s way too pulled together or has family around. It’s humbling to ask for help.

    1. blytheleanne Post author

      Oh, how I know how hard it is to ask for help!! Especially when you have no family in town. That is really hard and humbling and it can be so defeating if you are rejected in that kind of situation. There are no two ways about it–it’s tough. I continue to pray for you as you navigate these waters. Community is worth the pain it takes to get there, but without the guarantee that you will get there, it’s difficult to take those risks. :(

  2. sara

    I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!
    and I’m messy in friendship as well.
    Most of the time I’m unlovable and grumpy and selfish. I sometimes even when I have not been rejected, I want to be the one to reject because I’m tired or it’s inconvenient or this wasn’t what I thought it would be. We’re all a hot mess. I’m so thankful that Jesus in us helps us to love outside of our comfort zone. I’m so thankful that if anyone sees any good in me . . . it’s HIM.

    p.s. I LOVE YOU.

    1. blytheleanne Post author

      LOL!! You always make me laugh, and you always make me feel loved. Thank you. <3
      Isn’t it true–without the Holy Spirit in me, I wouldn’t love anyone well. I’m too self-centered. So grateful for his love in us!!

  3. Polly

    Firstly I love the sister pic from Marmee’s backyard, right?
    I am very inconsistent in pursuing even here in my family. I get tired. I get hurt. My expectations drive me more than love for others. How selfish is that! Even the desire for pursuit must come from God.
    But I have felt very loved by you and I am thankful for that.

    1. blytheleanne Post author

      Actually, this is in Montgomery!
      Consistency is tough, isn’t it? And yet without it, it’s difficult to communicate that we mean it! But do we?? These are big, deep issues, and I’m glad for your friendship to wrestle through them with me. <3

    1. blytheleanne Post author

      Oh, Katie. You are one of those people that I liked right away. RIGHT away! And I want to shout to the world, “Do you know how likeable this woman is?! Do you get how smart and funny and fun she is? And what a good listener and humble sharer and gentle speaker?!” I wish the whole world knew about you. We need more time together. Seriously.

  4. Terri

    I have stumbled across your blog, and this article has really resonated with me. I am starving for real friendships–real community. This gives me hope! Wish we could talk more about this in person.

    1. blytheleanne Post author

      Terri, I am glad I was able to encourage you. Making those real friendships is surprisingly difficult, but it does happen!! I will pray for you today and hope you are able to connect with the kind of community your heart longs for.

Comments are closed.