“Mommy, Why Don’t People Love Us the Same?”

Standing with big eyes and a sad face, I could tell he was struggling. I could see he was trying to be thankful for the ways he had chosen to love others, but he was struggling. I could see he wanted to be happy for his decision to give, but I knew he was struggling. I could see he wanted to be “okay,” but I knew he was not.

With his head toward the ground, I could tell he had something to say.

“Buddy, what’s going on?”

“Mommy, why don’t other people love us the same?” 

Hoping he wasn’t asking what I thought he might be asking, I responded, “What do you mean, buddy?”

“Why don’t people do the kinds of things for us that we do for them?”

My heart winced.

I could tell he didn’t even want to ask the question.

Our boy was struggling with wanting a return on love. 

And I didn’t need him to do any more explaining. Why?  Because I’ve been there, too. Actually, a lot. I’ve been there a lot–a lot more than I want to admit.

I’ve been there. 

Wanting others to reciprocate and ask the intentional questions I ask of them…

I’ve been there. 

Wanting others to surprise me in the ways that I try to surprise them…

I’ve been there. 

Wanting others to reach out in the thoughtful ways that I sometimes reach out…

I’ve been there. 

Wanting others to return offers of hospitality. in the ways I strive to…

I’ve been there. 

Wanting others to remember in some of the ways I remember…

I’ve been there. 

Wanting others to follow up and follow through in ways that I might…

I’ve been there. 

Wanting others to use their words to affirm and build up in the ways I use my words…

I’ve been there. 

I, too, have had my fair-share of moments, standing in the living room of life and asking the very same question, “Why don’t they love me the same?”

With his cheeks resting in my hands, I empathized with his struggle, and I shared a “me-to-moment” with our almost six year-old.

The following is the essence of what I told our boy that sunny morning that didn’t feel so sunny:

Buddy, I get it; I’ve been there too. 

I’ve struggled wanting a return on love. 

I’ve grappled with wanting others to love me like I love them. 

I’ve battled with my expectations of others. 

I’ve wrestled with realizing the end-goal of love MUST be love. If not, it’s not really love. 

I’ve warred with the ways God has created me and gifted me. 

I’ve fought my flesh, raged war on my pride, and acknowledged the ugly realities of my broken love. 

I get it, buddy; I really, really do. 

I know it doesn’t always feel good, and I know it isn’t always fair.

But when I love without expectation, I’m showing selfless love–love that doesn’t have to be returned, reciprocated, or repaid by the recipient. 

And when I love others with that kind of love, with no demands to be “loved the same,” I get the chance to follow Jesus and become more like Him. 

Friends, he hung on every. single. word.

Like he stood still and actually looked at my eyes and listened to the words coming out of my mouth…like without karate chopping something or eating his boogers. He did. He really, really did.

Nodding his cow-licked head of hair, I wrapped my arms around his little body. And though I didn’t utter the words out loud, I found myself begging God to help the both of us through this struggle of love.

I don’t know if you struggle like me and my boy do, but I pray you will find comfort in knowing you are not alone. I pray you will beg the Lord to help you love with His love. I pray you will resist your urge to be “loved the same” and love anyway. I pray you’ll face your expectations, wrestle with your heart, and ask the Lord to fill you in the way others don’t. And I pray that as you love in the ways that He has called and gifted you to love, you’ll lay down yourself, pick up your cross, and follow in His love.

 

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