Give Yourself PERMISSION: To Love Unconditionally
I have a younger brother. We were both adopted, separately.
Being adopted has some real benefits. But when it comes to siblings, it poses some challenges too.
My brother and I are 4 years apart. Those four years started to mean something when I was about 11 years old and my mom took off. That left me with my brokenhearted dad and my 7 year old brother, who was just entering the second grade.
Instead of continuing down a path of sibling love and rivalry, I jumped onto a new path of protection, care and mothering. I was a little girl trying to do a big job. A job I wasn’t cut out to do. A job I never should have had.
When I went to high school my brother was still in elementary school. More changes happened, our parents both got remarried, and while I learned to survive in the jungle of life by cutting off my emotions and muscling through, my little brother was having trouble adapting. He’s much more sensitive than I am, he has a soft heart and thrives on different energy that I do. Unfortunately, there was no one around to figure that out with him when he really needed it.
These days, my brother and I live about 10 minutes apart. Our lives, however, are worlds apart. We cross paths regularly and currently we are excitedly awaiting the birth of his first son. But at the heart of our relationship is an interesting and sometimes messy ball of string.
We are completely different. We view life from very different perspectives. We approach problems and challenges with different gusto. Often times we butt heads. After a few decades of being siblings, we are still learning how to be friends.
I am the first to admit that I sometimes do a horrible job at being a sister. I am strong willed, I am determined, I debate and argue and manipulate with the best of them.
And because He does, I am learning to love like my Savior. To love unconditionally.
I have several things working against me. One is my personality. The second is my impassivity. The third is my humanity. These things on their own are bearable. But together they are a recipe for disaster. I freely concede that I AM a walking disaster. Left to my own devices I would implode in less time than you can say, “Well, there goes a bundle of sunshine. Said no one, ever!”
But here’s where it gets good. I am not left to my own devices. I have thrown myself on the alter of grace, grasping the horns of mercy and the Creator of the Universe has heard my prayer.
For reasons I cannot fathom God sent His son into the world, just for me. And while He was here, Jesus gave up His life, just for me. It is with this in mind that I am continually learning and practicing the art of loving unconditionally.
Just as Christ has no expectations of me and does not keep a list of my wrongs, a very long list I might add, I am learning and giving myself PERMISSION to love, not according to my will, but unconditionally.
You probably have someone in your life like me. Someone who is messed up, damaged, a walking disaster. I hope, oh THINKING GIRL how I hope, that you will give yourself PERMISSION to love that person unconditionally.
I mean really love, without expectations or requirements, without keeping a checklist of wrongs, without counting the cost. I hope you will do this because someone did it for you.
Trust me, it won’t happen overnight, especially if you have been burned. But I believe that is why the Good Lord gives us so many years here on earth – to practice. In time, you will learn to love more, love harder, love unconditionally.
Recently, my brother and I had a big sit down. We talked some stuff out. We dialogued. It was good, very good. At the heart of our discussion was an understanding that we love one another without condition. We will continue to respect one another and work at building our friendship bonds. I’ll probably mess it up at some point, but we are so much farther down the road than we have ever been. I am learning to be a sister, not a mother. I am growing and maturing in how I handle our relationship. By grace, I am loving because Christ first loved me. And that is a beautiful thing.
Who do you need to give yourself PERMISSION to love unconditionally?