I had been burned…again. It stung. My heart was crushed.
I invested time, emotion, and heart into another only to walk out of the situation with my heart stung – flaring with unreciprocated kindness.
As I sat with my tears, I had to reevaluate my motives behind the investment. I must be doing this thing wrong. Again.
Whether I’m reaching out to a family member, friend, or stranger…Investing in others is a beautiful thing. It is better to give than receive, right? I have absolute conviction over that truth, but that conviction does not make it an easy task. Sometimes it feels that investing in others is about as smart as investing in expensive carpet with toddlers running around! As much as it brings about the urge to shut down, close up, and be selfish, my hurting heart knows those options are not the right options.
So, back to motives.
The word “investment” leaves us with the connotation that there will be a gain on the other end. A personal gain.
That thought leaves us expecting the person in whom we are investing, to act or react in a specific given way that will benefit us. Maybe the benefit is a gratuitous smile and kind words, maybe it’s affection, or maybe it’s a friendship that we thought would be lifelong and true in nature. Expecting any kind of reaction out of another person is a sticky place to rest, though, because there is no one that will ever be able to fill that hope every time. No one. We will set ourselves up for hurt over and over again if we let ourselves rest there.
If it is investment, though, where is the gain? I think the answer is found in keeping the whole investment process outside of ourselves. The investment is in the other person…and so is the gain. I believe God specifically designed it that way and therefore, when we live outside of His design, we find ourselves all mixed up and hurt more than we should.
The gain is in that moment we see a smile that lights up a face, or in the moment someone can turn away and make a change or choice in their lives that will benefit their quality of life. They can forget us, ignore us, even betray us…but if somewhere along their journey a seed was planted through our act of kindness that made a difference in their lives, our investment has come full circle. The benefit is paid out. Funny thing is…there is a good chance we may never even know when or how that seed takes root. But that isn’t of importance to us. Where we can rest, then, is in knowing that God has that one completely covered for us.
I know I’m not going to be cured of that stinging heart for every situation in my future. I know I’m going to get hurt again. But, I’m not going to get hung up in that place of hurt. I will remind myself over and over and over again that it is about God’s design. I will remind myself that counting on God is to count on the only One Who will ever remain consistent in my life. Everything and everyone else will always be unpredictable. Not Him. He remains the same. Always.
For the times I want to run for the hills and shut down? I thought of a funny little acronym I can use! Four things to keep my feelings SAFE:
Search for a moment as small as a smile and let it have significance in my heart.
Assure myself that God has the “how” and “when” completely covered!
Fill the sting-sized hole in my heart with His consistent and unfailing kindness and love.
Etch across my mind and my heart that He is the only One Who remains the same. Always.
I’ll keep investing. I’ll keep putting my heart out there, knowing that times will come where I will get hurt and the benefit may never be seen until I get to the other side of the cross. But I know God will fill that messy stinging heart back up with the unexplainable joy that only He is capable of giving.
I’ll rest in that moment and hold it dear to my heart.
Dear Jesus, I thank You for being the One I can rest in because You have promised to remain the same forever. You will always receive my investment with a kindness I cannot even imagine. Loving others is an investment that means so much more than anything I can envision from my perspective here in the world. You know how far the investment will go. You know all that it may or may not become. And You alone will make it have value. Help me to see who and where those investments need to be and then to keep me focused on You instead of myself. And, Lord, when I am faced with unkindness or rejection, I ask you to be my mental and emotional strength and that You keep my heart intact and able to continue to love others on the other side of the hurt. In Your Holy Name I pray. Amen.
More Words of Truth to hold tight to:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Psalm 143:8
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. Psalm 138:2
Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High… Luke 6:35
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11
Blessings and smiles,