Today as I listened to the sermon I sat in church pondering the events that have transpired in my life over the past couple of weeks. It is still really hard for me to know what it means to love people where they are, without letting them completely destroy me.
Even though I think we are totally called to love others, no matter what, I do think that we are also called to set boundaries. We are called to not let people walk all over us. We are called to not allow toxic, or just plain mean people to change who we are, and what we are about.
I spend a lot of my days wondering what people think and allowing people to do things even when I don't like them, because I don't want to hurt their feelings, or I think that they will leave me if they know the truth behind who I am and what I'm about. I have spent many days of my life hiding behind this mask, because my sensitive heart gets hurt more easily then some, and I am looked down on because of it.
The past week has shown me that I can love and still have boundaries. I can love, and still give of my heart without it being hardened. I would much rather have a soft, sensitive heart, then be hardened by the world, and evil in it.
I don't always understand choices that people make. I get left out of a lot of things, but at the end of the day all that matters is that I choose love. I will never be the girl that dances with every guy on the dance floor. I will never be the girl that can step up to a table full of people I don't know and have instant connection. That isn't who I am. My acceptance and trust comes with time, conversation, and grace.
I've had to examine myself in the last week, and ask myself if I have made the right choices by putting up the boundaries that I have. In the end I have to know that I did the right thing. In the end I have to live life to its fullest. I may not always love completely and in the right way, but I do love. I put others first, and I try my very best not to judge.
One thing I think that I have learned is that love means no expectations. I wish that I felt differently but the truth is that I think my disappointment comes from expecting too much from people. Expecting them to understand where I am coming from. Expecting them to not leave me out of things. Expecting them to want to love me for who I authentically am, instead of who they would like for me to be.
So, can I love with boundaries but not expectations? I honestly don't know. Weren't we created for expectation? But if we will always fail at those expectations, then what is the point of putting them on each other? Weren't we created for boundaries? Isn't that how we let someone know that they have hurt us? Without boundaries people can't break down the walls that have been created, can they?
In a perfect world we wouldn't need either of these things. We would just treat people with love and respect and there would be no room for hurt or betrayal. We wouldn't choose one person over another just because they have a more beautiful face, or they can satisfy a temporary need. We wouldn't have to give up one friendship in order to gain another.
The world isn't perfect, it is messy and hard. Because of that imperfection we have to figure out how to love with boundaries and expectations...don't we?