Radical Love: Learning the Art of “NO”
Growing up I believed that radical love was being there for everyone. I am the oldest in my family, so I took on every responsibly thrown at me to ease burdens. As the oldest sister, I find myself being motherly (and sometimes way too motherly) and accommodating (like why am I 24 with no kids and doing this?), but I enjoy it. My siblings are the people, I’d drop everything for.
I vividly recall my siblings waking me up in the middle of the night to change their sheets when they’d pee in the bed and I would wash them up, so they wouldn’t get in trouble. *Nostalgia*
As much as I love being the motherly sister, I’ve realized that its transferred to other areas of my life. I’ve made everything and everyone my responsibility (and it’s not) . I’m always the overly reliable employee, the motherly girlfriend, and the nurturing friend.
I never just leave my role at home (although sometimes I know I should), I keep it with me everywhere. I realize it’s apart of my nature to be motherly and dependable, but I’m starting to realize that it’s okay to just say no.
There is this scripture that is quoted quite a bit, ” Love your neighbor as yourself.” Growing up, I heard the “love your neighbor” part of the quote emphasized, but not the second half– “as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)
It’s interesting because mainstream idea is that you can’t love anyone unless you love yourself, but what I see most in the Christian community is that we focus so heavily on loving our neighbors and less on lovingly ourselves. Trust, if you don’t love yourself, you won’t quite love another properly.
I think about our Father, he loves me unconditionally, but he also tells me no every now and again too. He knows what he won’t put up with from me and he calls me to RESPECT him and LOVE him as he commands (John 14: 21). He also shows me what I am responsible for in my relationship with him and vice versa. Y’all our father has set the ground work for how to establish boundaries in relationships.
I’ve only learned this tidbit after starting to read Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No- To Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townshend. (I recommend this book to everyone!)
I’m only on Chapter 3, but this book is teaching me to speak up and let people know my needs because in asserting my needs I am not only loving myself, but I’m teaching people how to love me. I’ve found myself listening to people more so that I can understand how they want to be cared for (No one is exactly the same!). The book is also showing me how much responsibility I’m putting on myself that really isn’t mine at all.
I thought me spreading myself thin doing everything for everybody was real love, but no way. Radical love requires boundaries and communication. Unlearning isn’t easy.Be as compassionate to yourself as you would to someone else. You cannot do it all.Click To Tweet