Has a song ever played in your head for no reason? I awoke this morning with "Love Never Fails" rolling around my sleepy crown. If you haven't heard it, it's ballad of sorts based on Corinthians 13:4-8. I've always liked the song, but hadn't heard it in years. I'm not sure why it presented itself, but I started to sing along...
Love is not proud
Love does not boast
Love after all
Matters the most
Love does not run
Love does not hide
Love does not keep
Love will protect
Love always hopes
Love still believes
When you don't
When I tried to think of the rest of the words the only thing that came to mind was...bullshit, love fails all the time! Whoa...I thought, someone clearly needs an attitude adjustment!
I stepped back and tried to reflect on my own life - why did I react this way? After much thought, I concluded that for me, there were two common elements in failed love; ego and/or expectation. I had been giver and receiver of both, realized and unrealized.
Expectation, we all know this exciting and yet difficult emotion. I, like many was a child who felt they would never meet their parent's expectations. I always knew they loved me but for many years I believed their level of love was dependent upon my performance: grades, talents, manners....how I presented to the outside world. Although the perception may have been more my truth than theirs, love often felt overwhelmingly conditional and impossible to win.
In my early adult years when I was new to romantic love, I believe I placed my own hopes and dreams, (expectations) in relationships or people. What a burden it must be to feel you are responsible not only for your own happiness, but the happiness of another. I think this is a normal part of learning to love, but inevitably it leads to disappointment and hurt by all.
There are so many other ways we love with expectation, failing ourselves and others. And, while many can be worked through by way of open and honest dialog and by grace; to me, the most hurtful love with expectation is in loving people who pull their love when you 'disappoint' them? You will never meet the expectations of a love-puller. I've learned to stop trying with these people and just love them for all the other wonderful reasons.
As to the ego; well, it fails love because it puts self above all else. When our actions are centered around our own benefit, we miss the mark on love...and others feel it. I can't help but wonder how many arguments I took part in determined to prove my point of view while never truly hearing the other person. How many times have I selfishly put my wants above those I love? And, I'm not proud to say, but I've built walls that lock others out and thrown stones that tear people down. Wayne Dyer defined "EGO" as Edging God Out. I think he was right. Pride and arrogance live in ego, humility does not. A humble heart has no room for ego, pride or arrogance because it recognizes that this side of heaven, we all fail and we own nothing that God has not provided.
If we can step outside of ourselves and accept people for who they are, l believe love will fail less. In fact, when we remove ego and expectation, we can even love others who do not love us. I believe God is love and perhaps it's not really love that fails us, but our humanity that fails love.
Click here to listen to Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath