I have typed many paragraphs but they could never seem good enough, articulate enough, or even honest enough. So I type this last attempt with a decision that it will be honest, sincere and transparent. I am not sure if I’ve always decorated my emotions, or it’s the stripes I’ve suffered that made me so. But something in me shifted. I’ve guarded my heart with iron walls because bricks chip away and quite frankly, I was not ready to chip away. I closed myself up so much that I think I became an enigma and quandary to those around me, those who’ve never known the parts of me that are as soft as a mother’s breasts for her baby’s head. DISCLAIMER: I heard this word ‘’quandary’’ a few days ago, I will use it unnecessarily sometimes because truly there are simpler words but then, I am a quandary. Bear with me and admit that you do that too whilst at it.
There are certain things I have had to admit to myself, maybe not even admit but accept about myself. Don’t we just all have those times when at the back of your mind you know something about yourself that you are truly not willing to accept but it just has a way of manifesting itself, sometimes with you not even aware. The worst is when it manifests itself and you’re very aware of it and all you can do is beat yourself up for allowing yourself into that which you may consider a pit…
I have recently had to accept that I am quite clingy. When all the walls fell, the iron walls, I looked at myself and realized I am clingy. Upon realising this about myself, in fact accepting it and just coming to terms with it, I realised I needed validation. I needed to know if it was okay to feel this way; if it was okay to be a clingy person. I remember that evening when I exhaled and said “WOW! I am clingy”, I texted one of my friends who has the same personality as me and asked her this very pertinent question, “Are you clingy?”. She responded with a resounding “Yes” and that made me feel validated. I felt it was okay. I guess if I’m honest, it made it a little less of a hamartia to know that I am not ‘clingy clubbing’ alone. Yhu bethunana, wakhe wazijonga es’pilini, ujonge ubu wena? Let’s try it. It is the fastest way to be gracious and patient of other people’s flaws and realising the overwhelming love of God and His unmatched patience with us.
When did my iron walls break? When did I become less callous after building my iron walls? I honestly can never point to the exact time and date. All I know is that there was a time I realized I was making people pay for past hurts. I realised I was missing out on great relationships. And so little by little, my heart of stone and iron began melting into flesh. I had to be intentional about letting people in while remaining true to myself. I learned the art of choosing whom to have in my space and whom not to have, which has been the cause of many heart breaks before; the inability of knowing whose life I needed to be in and who needed to be in mine. I incubated everyone into the corners of my heart that they had no business in. I didn’t understand the need for intentionality in relationship, be it on the receiving end or the dispatching end. It took me a while to realise that, actually, the Word of God teaches us about friendship, about intentionality in friendship.
Amongst many scriptures on friendship, I’ll share this one ““A righteous person is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Proverbs 12:26 WEB), some versions say “The righteous CHOOSE their friends carefully”, Young’s Literal Translation says “The righteous searcheth his companion”. There is intentionality in friendship. And so, as my walls broke, I chose better.
But the downside of this was learning to navigate the intimacy of the friendship. I had this paralysing fear of not letting anyone too close to my psyche. Too close to my emotions, my true emotions. But along the way I learned the security of a friendship so close that straight talk couldn’t break it. I learned to say “No” and to receive a “No” in friendship/ relationship without a nagging fear at the back of my head that I was losing the friendship. I know people walk in and out of our lives (the exception being those who are not seasonal but are meant to stay) and I have always been okay with that regardless of how sweet or sour their exits were. So long as they didn’t walk away feeling like they conquered me because I poured my all into them. Now that was a problem. To be known to that extent by someone walking away, fully knowing just how intensely I love them… No Ma’am Sir, mandiyhazi ndodwa mntanasekhaya. But now I’m learning that love is not given to be reciprocated.
You don’t love because you want love returned. You love because we are commanded by our heavenly Father to love. This then makes null and void all those crutches and excuses to not pour out love to another. It is worldly “love” that makes us think love is conditional, that love is subject to reciprocation. It is worldly “love” that subjects love to emotion. Love is a decision. A decision to pour love whether the same measure of love is returned or not. Luke 6:32 says “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” That is love. Love is God and God is love (1 John 4:8) and the beauty of our God is that He doesn’t change, He is the same yesterday and forever (Number 23:19,James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8). God’s unchanging character tells me that the love I ought to give should remain consistent, unchanging.
Many times in the WORD I recall GOD saying to His people “I have rescued you up from slavery, bondage, I have loved you with an everlasting love but you have rebelled against me”, yet in the same breathe, God says “I will draw you close Israel, I will rescue you yet again, I love you, I keep watch over you, I neither sleep nor slumber but I stay awake to keep you”. That is the LOVE OF GOD.
In pursuit to love better, to practice a love that doesn’t change nor fears rejection, I have decided to be intentional with expressing my love. There are many deleted texts of my expressions of love that I deleted because vulnerability is scary. There were times when I pressed send and my heart shuddered at the thought of my love not being reciprocated. Many texts archived because, wow, a blue tick is a lot bethuna for my hearts’ eyes. These are just seemingly insignificant examples. But I have gotten checked. The model of love that we have is this: Jesus gave His life unto death on a cross for a people who would constantly break His heart by rebelling against Him and by renouncing Him. He pours all His heart to us in one of the greatest love letters ever written, withholding absolutely nothing and yet, we sometimes have the audacity to walk away from this kind of love. Yes, I am sensitive but in my sensitivity, may I not be disobedient to the call of God to love.
In learning to love, I am also learning to receive love. Perfect love casts out fear. So why did I use my long legs with warm socks and feet as a picture for this blog? I’m so glad you want to know: Because this is a day I found myself in a space of unconditional love, a space of comfort, a space of care, a space of belonging and I had to whisper to my heart that has learned to lean on walls, “YOU ARE LOVED. RECEIVE IT, IN ALL ITS ABUNDANCE. THIS LOVE IS TRUE. THIS LOVE IS PERFECT. RELAX”. Complete, unwavering, unchanging, true, deep, transparent, unrelenting, pursuing, everlasting love sent our Saviour to a shameful cross, on our behalf. Love is a risk, even for us but it’s a risk we should be willing to take.
I got a little bit carried away but I cannot talk about love without adding this scripture that ultimately seals the depth of God’s love for us, so I will just end with it.
“For God so loved the world (You and me) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”