Welcome to Part Four in my Four-Part series on Love! Be sure to go back to the first three parts if you haven’t read them yet! First, we talked about how Love is Commitment, next, we talked on how love is Continuous, last week we talked about how love is Comforting. Finally, we have arrived at our final installment in this series- Love is Compromising. We’ve been tackling this discussion on love with a focus on three facets: How do we love others? How do we love ourselves? How do we love God? Hannah Keeley demonstrated in one of her training videos a 3 legged stool, when one leg is missing or broken the whole stool falls over. It’s important to keep all of the legs of the stool in place.
Before I tackle the three legs of the stool I want to reiterate the idea that love is a verb. Love is something we do, not so much something we feel. We can feel loved, but when we love others, it is an action. I’m speaking mostly on the action of loving.
When we love others, love can be compromising. It is a difficult truth. To love someone means that you do not always get your way. I almost could paste the Amplified Bible version of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 here and be done with the post….
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5 It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
If you are loving others with patience and serenity, you will need to compromise. You need to be willing to see things from their perspective. But, loving others can also mean compromising your need for comfort when you need to tell them some hard truths. A true friend doesn’t look the other way when they know you are not honoring your core values. A true friend calls out your plumb line and reminds you where you come from. Loving others can be compromising when we are in marriage too. (*Let me be clear, I do not mean when one spouse is physically or emotionally abusive to the other. That is NEVER ok for any reason**). What I mean, is, in marriage we have to do what is good for the whole, not what is good for the self sometimes. Maybe one spouse compromises their career because that is what is best for the family. I know in my marriage, I sacrifice time doing things that I want to do regularly. My husband works evening shift, which means we only get to have dinner with him 2 nights a week. Time with him is so precious. I make it a point not to plan too many things on the weekends when he is home that take time away from him. But, it is a balance, too. Sometimes I need to take that time when he is home to get a moment away from the demands of my children. He compromises his Saturday sleep in opportunity so I can go to Weight Watchers and take some time to myself. He sacrifices time out with the guys for time with us. He works extra jobs so that I can stay home with the kids. And, with hurt children, this is SO important. But, I miss him, and often get lonely being the only parent home. I compromise my comfort to be available for the kids too.
However, compromise can be good, and it can be bad. It’s so important to guard your heart and your soul when you let people have a compromising affect on your life. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Do you believe this to be true? Who are you surrounding yourself with? Are you surrounding yourself with people who are going after their goals, or who are trying to find the easy way out of life? Are you surrounded by people who love God, and look to Him in their trials, or people who complain about their circumstances? Who you spend time with, who you love, will compromise you. If you are spending time with people who speak life into you, encouraging you to face your fears, and improve yourself, you will compromise your own doubts about yourself. If you are surrounding yourself with people who say negative things about people around you, you will begin to believe those negative things. A lie said enough times seems like a truth. When we are loving ourselves, we need to really be on guard against how we compromise in love. Loving myself means aligning myself with people who are better than myself and compromising my shortcomings. It’s why I joined MMU. I am surrounded by people there who are intent on living their lives to 100% of God’s calling and the potential He put inside of them, not what they can see here. It’s why I have learned that having a mentor (or several) in my life is so important. Some of what I compromise to love myself, is money. I invest in myself. I want to be the best version of myself I can for the people I love. Nothing grows if it isn’t watered. I also need to be on guard against the places I give my time to. What relationships do I invest in? Are they relationships in which I feel valued? Do I value others? For me, personally, one of my core values is to be an encourager to others. Sometimes that will mean that I need to excuse myself from certain relationships because either they don’t value me, or I do not treat them with value. When I am operating outside of my core values, compromise is bad.
A lie said enough times seems like a truth.
When we love God, it can be compromising. When I decided to homeschool my kids, I did it with much compromise. God and I had many conversations about how I didn’t feel worthy to teach my children. I also wanted my me time while they were at school. I compromised, because He was very clear with me. By the end of our “discussions”, I knew that He was definitely calling me to homeschool. The only thing left for him to take care of was my severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was at a point of being debilitating. I had been told by my doctor that I would be in a wheelchair within a few months, and I was very weak. The arthritis would exhaust me with acute waves of exhaustion when least convenient. I had very limited use of my hands. I really didn’t know how it was going to work. God Healed me. I am now free of all autoimmune markers in my blood and not on any medication! I have full use of my hands and feet again and I have even run a couple of half marathons!
When we decided to adopt our kids, each time it was a compromise of our way of life. We sacrifice our quiet, for a very loud house. We compromise our desire to be free to do as we wish, for our desire to love God through loving these children who have been hurt. It is not an easy life. We compromise our own wants, needs and desires to make sure they all have the therapies they need, the space they need, the equipment they need, the school environment they need etc. We plan our lives not around our desires, but on what will build them up. And our older boys have compromised too. They gave up a whole lot of attention from us so that we could be available to these kids. They accept them and love them even though they are sometimes hard to be around. They compromise their time investing in their younger siblings, trying to build them up too. They compromise their desires to give us a break by taking the kids sometimes.
And, our adoptive kids compromise their desire to not be adopted and love us. They compromise their fears about us by loving us, too. I have always been in awe of how my hurt children love. I know the depth of their pain. It comes out in difficult ways sometimes, but their capacity to love when they want to also has great depth. My oldest daughter has a special knack for seeing when I’m at my breaking point and finding ways to connect with me. My 14 year old son has shown us how he watches from a distance and tries to fill needs that way. He also accepted his new life with us with enthusiasm. He is more resilient that people realize. My 9 year old daughter, as wild as she is, has an uncanny ability to empathize with other’s pain. Her ability to empathize is above anyone I’ve ever known. My 8 year old son has such a tender heart. He is fragile. He needs so much love. But, when he’s with you, you know he’s watching everything, taking it all in, and storing it up. He also loves us with a dependence that is both difficult and amazing. To be trusted by these four is a great honor. One I rarely feel worthy of. If I had not compromised my desire for an easy life with what God wanted for us, I would have never experienced this. I would never have been able to be part of their healing story.
It’s a painful story. It’s full of compromise. But it is a beautiful story. It is an important story.
I’ve been reading a book that just came out called, Confessions of an Adoptive Parent: Hope and Help from the Trenches of Foster Care and Adoption. I’m about half way through it. And, though it is an easy read in some ways, it is also a tough read in a lot of ways. The author goes through many difficult things they have had to endure with their kids and the feelings that have come along with those things. I can relate in so many ways. The point of the first section of the book is to create a “Me too” atmosphere, to wipe away the thoughts we often have as adopted parents of being so alone in our own pain. I appreciate this, but it also solidifies what I’ve been feeling and that is a lot to process as well. I appreciate the honesty, though. This is something people don’t often allow. I can not recommend this book enough. I will write more on it as I finish it, but if you are in any way affected by adoption- do you have friends who have fostered/ or adopted? If you are considering foster or adoption…. If you teach children who are in foster care or adoption…… if you go to church with children who are in foster care or adopted….. if you are a family member of a foster or adopted kid…. Make this required reading. Read it now.
“ Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].” (1 Corinthians 13:7)
Well, that wraps up my series on Love. I hope it has blessed you in some way. Please, please, please comment below and tell me what you think! I love feedback!
Next week in our Sisterhood I will be doing a 7 day Stress Cure for Moms. Be sure to join our group and participate!