Imperfect Love.

I am a failure at love.

I’m not talking about romantic love (although I am…pretty much a failure at that too).

I’m talking about people love.

My love is shallow. My love is conditional. My love is self-seeking. My love is prideful.

My love is basically the opposite of everything that it should be.

I’m made aware of this every single day when I go to work.

I have this problem. I seem to only be able to get hired in customer service jobs. Customer service is so far from “my thing”, but, if you look at my, rather lacking, resume, it’s customer service as far as the eye can see.

I’m this weird mix of extreme introvert yet very friendly with large teeth, so, I’m often confused with a people loving person. I also have a degree in MUSICAL THEATRE. I have a diploma in over exaggerated facial expressions and tap dancing. But, the truth of the matter is, people exhaust me, drive me crazy, and my dream job would be working alone in a corner cubicle all day long.

I’m so weird. I know. No need to remind me. I have to live with my weird self every. single .day.

People are in my face all day long at work. And, if they’re not in my face, they’re in my ear on a telephone.

I’ve been cussed out, yelled at, treated like every four letter in the book,…and, basically, have served as many people’s verbal and cruddy attitude punching bag.

I’m also sensitive. So, yes, I work in the wrong field.

Every day I am reminded of the total depravity of man. Whoever thinks people are inherently good have never worked behind the front desk of a hotel…or have ever had a conversation with an actual person…and are probably more of a hermit introvert than I am.

Every day my love is tested. The choice to love the unlovely, the unworthy, and the downright cruel.

And, believe me, I am a failure.

I might act in love. I might act in patience. I might act, for the sake of not being fired, in a kind manner, but, believe me, more often times than not, I want nothing more than to punch that jerk in the face.

Or what about when they walk away and I make a snide, exasperated comment to my coworker? Is that love? No.

Or when I complain and complain and complain…even after placing a sticker with “Phil 2:14” on my terminal.

Slander. Jokes. Thoughts. Words.

I’m guilty of it all.

I know the Lord places us in every situation for our sanctification, but, I was pretty convinced last week that my sanctification process was in reverse and I was actually becoming more and more like Satan every day, ha.

My love is imperfect.

My love fails.

Last week, I had two of the toughest work days yet. I wanted nothing more than to rip off my name tag and chug it at a rude guest and yell, “I QUIT!!!” (and…of course, be as dramatic as humanly possible while doing so). I cried myself to sleep Saturday night, and wasn’t sure how I’d face work again on Monday.

But, the Lord is gracious. He is always gracious.

The worship pastor at my church taught on Sunday. He taught partly on Christ’s perfect love. As he taught, I received a healthy dose of a vital reminder.

So often I fall into the legalistic trap. I know in my head that I am saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. I know in my head that there is nothing I can do to earn God’s love or God’s grace. I know in my head that there is nothing than can bridge the gap between me and God because of my sin. I know in my head that I cannot save myself. I know in my head that it is only through the substitutionary death of Christ and His resurrection that I have hope in this life and the next. I know all of that and more in my head.

But, sometimes it has a hard time translating into my heart.

So often I live as though I was saved by grace, but, now living for Christ is up to me. It’s on my strength. It’s all on me to love God and to love people; to die daily; to live a life worthy of the calling that I have received.

Saved by the Gospel…but, then you move on. And, now it’s up to you. Be perfect. Or God won’t love you anymore.

And, although I would never admit to believing that, and would preach from the rooftops to the contrary…I live it sometimes. I live it a lot of times.

I know I am called to love people, so, I try on my own strength to do so. And, I fail. And, when I fail, I despair because I have failed God, and I am not who I wish I was (for often sinful reasons).

My love is imperfect. And, I have failed.

But, here’s the good news.

Christ’s love is perfect. And, as a believer and a follower of Him, when God looks at me, because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, although my love is imperfect, CHRIST’S perfect love is accredited to me. God sees Jesus’ love when He looks at me. This is completely mind blowing.

No, I’ll never be perfect. By God’s GRACE alone, He will work in me and through me to glorify Him by loving people at work and in every other aspect of my life. Will I always love them perfectly? No. But, I believe in the power of God to transform, to mold, and to shine through me to the praise of His glorious grace. I must stop relying on my strength and confess my desperate need for Him every moment of every day. Until the day I die, I will stand firmly next to the cross, seek after righteousness, and continue to live and be sustained by the Gospel.

And, to rest in the beautiful truth of my favorite verse:

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself.”

2 Timothy 2:13

God’s faithfulness to me has zero correlation with my faithfulness to him. Praise God. There is nothing more comforting than the immutability of God. God does not love me more some days than He does other days. I only hope I can love like that one day…to love as I have been loved by the God of the universe.

May I stop despairing and start living in constant thankfulness, praise, adoration, and awe of the Gospel.

Saved by grace. Live by grace. Sustained by grace. Empowered by grace. Strengthened by grace. Kept by grace.

Imperfect love. Perfect Savior.

Thank You, Jesus, for the Cross. Help me to fall on my knees beside it…and never get back up.

“If we cannot claim to live sinless lives, then the only thing that can keep us from despairing before a holy God is that we have an Advocate in heaven and He pleads our case not on the basis of our perfection but of His propitiation.”

John Piper
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2 thoughts on “Imperfect Love.

  1. Hi Shara! I literally stumbled across your blog tonight. One woman’s blog post linked to another and to another, which then linked to heartfelt words here in your corner of the interwebz. I’ve only made it through the last 4 posts or so but your thoughts spelled out on my computer screen were like reading from a script written on my own heart. Last night, I poured over 1 John 4 in a desperate plea to God that I would miraculously turn into a reflection of his love overnight. Such perfect timing to come across this post because your words are so, so encouraging. I can’t wait to read back through the archives and read more. (On that note, do I sound creepy yet? Probably, but thank you for your honesty and sharing your thoughts here.) I’m thrilled to have come across somebody seemingly in a similar place in heart.
    -Amy

    • Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, Amy! I’m so glad my words could be an encouragement to you. Keep seeking the Lord. He will be faithful to make you more like Christ. It’ll be messy and imperfect..and probably painful at times, but, that’s sanctification 🙂

      I found this quote in one of my old journals last night. It’s a good reminder.

      “The idea [many Christians] have a grace is this: that their conversion and pardon are God’s work, but that now, in gratitude to God, it is their work to live as Christians and follow Jesus…No, wandering one, as it was Jesus who drew thee when He spake “Come,” so it is Jesus who keeps thee when He says “Abide.” The [past] grace to come and the [future] grace to abide are alike from Him alone.”

      Seek to love like Jesus. But don’t kill yourself when you fail. Because you will. Often. But, preach the Gospel to yourself over and over, and live in that grace…a lesson it’ll probably take a lifetime for me to learn 🙂

      Thanks, again, Amy! And, I don’t think you’re creepy! I’m actually really flattered that you’re reading my blog, haha.

      Take care.

      -Shara

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