We 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.