It can be tempting to give up on love. The potential harm to yourself that might be caused by someone close to you feels risky. Yet something inside of you screams that somewhere there is someone who will love you unconditionally, someone who will love even with your scars.
Your wounds can cause you to give up on love.
You may have experienced rejection, abandonment, betrayal, fear, or shame in a prior relationship. It can make you want to give up on love.
Rejection. Is there anything worse than unreturned affection? To open your heart and to have it returned as if it had no value? Rejection feels personal because it is.
Abandonment. You spend every moment possible with someone. You talk about the future. And then suddenly, that individual disappears. You fear that something horrible may have happened to them. Only to discover they are just ignoring you.
Betrayal. You were vulnerable and trusted someone. This person did not keep the promises that they made to you. The experience left you wondering if anyone is trustworthy.
Fear. You are afraid of being alone, of missing out on what everyone else seems to have. But you are equally fearful of being hurt again by someone else.
Shame. You may feel partially responsible for the harm or trauma you have experienced (even when you know that is not true). You may think that you are too damaged to be loved. Shame causes you to withdraw and doubt your self-worth.
And for some, the hard work it takes to find, nurture, and maintain love and relationships may not seem worth the effort.
If we know the risk of being hurt, why do we not give up on love?
It is hard-wired into our DNA to pursue relationships. With few exceptions, most of us thrive in community and wither in isolation.
We enjoy interacting with others. Knowing that someone values us and that we appreciate them in return is intoxicating.
The ability to share our hearts and to be ourselves with someone else is a gift beyond measure.
Sometimes our focus on romantic love and sexual attraction can blind us to what is right in front of us.
At our first meeting, I did not view my wife as a romantic partner. I was dating someone else and had just started college. We became close friends over the next few years. We eventually started going out as friends after we had given up on our prior dating partners. Love caught us by surprise. Romantic love and sexual attraction blossomed into marriage with my best friend.
I learned that relationships could be a part of the healing process.
But not all healing relationships are romantic.
I have had deep friendships forged by shared experiences and traumas—people who understood the hurts I had experienced created a safe place to express my anger and grief.
These people do exist. Hold out hope for them. Look for them. Do not give up on love or people in general.
You will find them in the unlikeliest of places.
As I dealt with old wounds, hidden traumas, and triggers, my wife was not afraid of my scars and drew me closer when I felt like pushing away.
What motivated her to love me despite my scars and flaws? It was her deep and abiding faith in God.
We both have experienced the unconditional love of a God that pursues us for a relationship despite our failings,
That same God is pursuing you.
God will not give up on love. He will not give up on you.
He is a God who has not rejected you and will not abandon you.
He is worthy of your trust and will keep his promises.
He is a God whose perfect love casts out all fear.
He is not ashamed of you: in fact, he has a place of honor reserved for you.
He has done the hard work to restore your relationship with him through the death and resurrection of his son.
He is a God who longs for a loving relationship with you.
Call to action
Don’t give up on love. It is worth the risk. You can find healing in a relationship with God who loves you.
Don’t give up on love. You can love others and become lovable in the process.