I Suck At Loving People


Photo by Chris Ouzounis on Unsplash

Loving people is hard.

I've been thinking a lot about seasons. I'm in a really cool season right now. But there's a lot changing and a lot of advice, a lot of opinions about who I should be and what my life should look like - and they're not necessarily all helpful or kind. Being a student, trying to plan a wedding (by the way - I'm getting married?!), juggling different responsibilities and ministries and still having the time to be the image of something that people expect me to be - is really hard. And I've learned a lot of ugly things about myself.

One of them is that I really suck at loving people.

When I'm drowning in fabrics and thinking about that paper due next week and stationary samples and guest lists and final dates and events and personal health and a long distance relationship and bills and activism and ministry and how I haven't even written in weeks, I get really angry when someone asks me to do something else. Or I get really angry when someone comes to me and complains about the two things they have to do that day. And I know it's awful. That's why I mask it with a sweet smile and a head nod and a, "Yeah, wow, that must be tough. I'll be thinking of you." And then I call my fiance and complain, or I roll my eyes once they leave the room, until I get fed up with myself and I feel that ouch in my belly that lets me know I'm on the verge of becoming numb. I'm on the verge of not really giving a crap about what other people are going through, and wallowing in my own self pity. I have to remember that sometimes, living in this world can be really hard.

People are complicated. Being complicated is really hard.

Battling cynicism after every disappointment, every little hurt, every failure, is really hard.
Hoping and believing the best of someone, over and over (no matter what they do), is really - really really really - hard.
Seeing good people - godly people - miss the point of it all is really hard.
Feeling the weight of responsibility, looking at your innermost failings, and battling other people's perceptions of you is really hard.
Making unpopular choices - even about things that you know are right - is really hard.
Stepping back after giving something everything is really hard.

And all of these hard things are very, very human things. I've been through these things. People I know and love deeply are going through these things.

If you're feeling any of these right now, I'm with you. Breathe deep, little beans. These past few months I've realized that sometimes it's really easy to forget my purpose. I forget why I'm even doing what I'm doing. I get angry at myself when I don't see results right away. I get angry that people don't see my problems, my anxieties, and then I treat them badly because I don't actually want to see theirs, either.

My selfish little heart is going to get broken a lot. I want it to keep breaking. I don't want that tough outer shell of cynicism or self-pity or arrogance to keep people out. I want to love people. I want to let them in. Part of that is loving even when I don't feel like it. Part of that is practicing a consistent change in my attitude. And this is really important - it doesn't mean I shove my own feelings down. It means I do my best to genuinely care - with whatever strength I have at the time. It means I find people to lean on, it means I lift others up even when I don't have the answers.

Remember to take care of yourself. Take steps back to breathe and rest and reevaluate and make a plan. Give yourself space if you have too. But once you're ready - you have to come back. We don't empty ourselves to stay empty forever. We empty ourselves to get filled back up again. It's a rhythm of rest that I don't have down and perfected yet. But as I work at it, as I grow, as I become better, as I open up - it's going to become a part of who I am. If you're constantly pouring out, make sure you have loving people pouring in. If you feel yourself getting bitter, ask yourself why. Don't use it as a shield so you don't have to get hurt again. Use it to love other people better, no matter what, for where you're at.

xoxo, Beth

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