Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Letting go of a person you love is worse than death because they're still alive, but the situation qualifies them as dead socially and emotionally. I recently heard a sermon from Pastor Keion Henderson, where he stated something that stood out to me. "You must learn the difference between your advocates and your audiences." In this sermon, he talks about recognizing the relationships that you've been loyal to in a losing situation. I recently had several situations where I suddenly woke up and realized I was being used.
Here I am, thinking I'm showing love by being loyal to the folks who weren't returning the same energy, effort, time, compassion, or genuine concern for me. People who don't know themselves can't provide support from an anchorless existence. Imagine a ship with a broken anchor adrift with nowhere to replenish itself. Loyalty will cause your anchors to break if you aren't connected to the right person. If a person always NEEDS something from you and never offers anything in return, you're in a losing situation. You can't settle with a person that doesn't add strength to your life as opposed to weakening your supply.
Another element that destroys us if we are in a depleted state as a result of giving more than we take is this. Sometimes we don't even know we're being taken for granted because our love blinds us. I spoke to a client today about her health. She told me she'd gone to the doctor for a check-up, and she'd had a stroke. She didn't feel sick, but she'd damaged her heart silently without being aware. If we push past the pain others cause us without checking on ourselves, we can destroy our peace without knowing it. Matthew 7:1 says, only God knows our hearts, and only He knows whether this person has sincerely put his faith in Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Jesus warned, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." If only God knows our hearts, daily check-in with Him will counter the stress of not knowing who is genuinely for you and who isn't. God is a necessary daily connection to gauge our hearts. We must feed the spirit of prayer to hear God in all things for a perfecting perception clearly. And if the greatest commandment is love, we can't truly love ourselves or others without that connection. God has the insight necessary to identify the areas that contribute to pain. Here I am, loyal and unwavering, while the folks I'm devoted to are spitting in my face behind my back.
I am a strong communicator; therefore, when I raise a concern with loved ones, I attempt to understand them in love. Confrontation is the best thing one can practice in relationships that are worthy of investment. And here's the thing, in our culture today, no one likes confrontation. Folks are quick to get into their feelings while making efforts to understand them, but not quick to listen. Everyone you ever meet will inevitably hurt you in some way, shape, or form because God is the ONLY purest love we'll experience. There must be a balance between acceptance and accountability. I've finally realized that there is a difference in love and need. Some people will need you for a season, but they may never genuinely love you. You can speak highly of a person for hours if you admire them. But love is different from admiration. Jealousy is often the product of affection with love. Love is a phenomenon because it is defined fluidly due to our experiences. Love can be an abundant source of descriptive words without evidence that it genuinely exists if there is no action. Love is defined in the way people treat us and not by the intensity of our love and devotion to them.
Now that we're more aware of the expense of loyalty without love, how do you let go of people whom you have imbalanced affections for? In my experience, be honest and aware of the way a person treats you. What fruit is the relationship baring? Often, I would measure the significance of a relationship based on my feelings and perceptions of a person. It's a lot of work to be aware of a person you genuinely love. You don't expect them to hurt you. You don't expect them to mistreat you, but it happens. In my experience, I don't care how much a person tells you they love you; love from a jealous person does not exist. Love is an action. When a person is jealous of you, they secretly (emotionally) sabotage your atmosphere with the negativity they feel for you because they think you have something they do not. I would often wonder with this type of person what's wrong with me. No matter how loyal or devoted I was, they couldn't love me because they on fixated on a comparison that doesn't exist. Here's how you can measure it. When you're down, they're there to sulk with you and validate you because that's where they exist. A jealous person can only relate to your misery because they are miserable themselves. If the same person disappears when you win, that is not loving. If a person mocks your victories with negative remarks, that does not value its jealousy. If a person finds pleasure in reminding you of the things taken from you in comparison to what you have now, that's not loving.
It's easier to accept what you see in a person instead of hoping that they one day will see that their feelings of jealousy towards you have absolutely nothing to do with you. And jealousy can happen quickly with people who need to demean others to feel some semblance of confidence. I believe I am a conqueror with God. I will NOT lose at anything. Jealous people will watch you and encourage you while emitting energy that hopes for your demise to avoid their insecurities. When this type of person gets to a place where they think they've arrived (actually to the place they were most envious of), you are no longer needed. Basically, be aware of people who aren't genuinely supportive of you. You can't care about a person and be jealous of them at the same time. A jealous person doesn't honestly wish you well, and love ALWAYS hopes for the best always. This type of person is only around until they have acquired what you have. Then, they disappear or treat you as if you're dispensable.
Whenever you remain loyal to a person who can't care about you, you commit the total opposite infraction. You're dedicated to proving that you love them when loving them should be good enough. You forgive, you get through it, you press and are unconditional. Well, a car without gas goes nowhere, so do you truly love them, or do you love acceptance? Being loved and accepted are equals, but totally different. A stranger will receive you faster than a family member will. A stranger will support your business before those close to you will. So, continuing to be loyal in a non-reciprocal relationship is a plan to feed your ego. It was then that I thought about all the time I'd wasted trying to prove that my love was dedicated to a person who didn't even want it in the first place. They only wanted what they thought I had. There is a series I loved on the History channel, Vikings. The storyline is injected with two brothers: one a King (Ragnar) and one who wanted to be King (Rolo). One day Rolo went to a prophet in the village drunk and in despair because he thought his brother was more favored by the gods (ODEN) than he was. The prophet then said… "Oh, big bear, if you only knew what was waiting for you in your near future, you would dance naked in the rain with joy."
Earlier in the show, when the Ragnar "died," Rolo sat beside his brother's casket and confessed to hating his brother with jealousy. Again, love cannot exist amid jealousy. Later on, in the show, Rolo married the princess of France, had many children, and lived a royal life. Jealousy is THE most wasted experience because time quantifies the favor of God. If Rolo had just enjoyed the journey as opposed to continually comparing his life against his brothers, he might have been a happier person. It was amazing to see the story unfold and the prophecy fulfilled. Rolo turned out to live a better life than his brother but wasted so much time being angry and jealous for nothing.
But what does it mean if I stay loyal to a person who is only waiting for me to reveal my secrets in efforts to match what I am or what I have? I believe we are all supposed to be different because we all represent a piece of God as His children. No one is supposed to write like me, and I'm not supposed to paint like any other artist. Our individuality is God's love language to humanity. We are all gifted, and I think there's no valid reason to be jealous because we all have the same Father. We all have the same BLOOD! All we need to do is ask, and if we don't receive what we ask for, God will reveal.
The thing about social media is that it provides access to your life. Where you are, what you're doing…everything. Once I realize that a person isn't an advocate, their access gets cut off, and I become invisible. I don't want a person who feels inferior around only to use me to get what they think they want. I silence myself, my life, and their connection to me. More importantly, you have to acknowledge the hate in others that is experienced in your audiences. If you notice it, hear of it, feel it or even dream about it, RUN. People will drain everything from you only to treat you how they've always felt about you once they get what they need. This is where a person dies, in my opinion. Once I become aware, I don't sit around and wait for folks to show me differently. I've paid that price too often. You are responsible for your environment and the resources (people, books, knowledge) necessary to sustain your peace.
I'd rather be alone with no one around me than to be surrounded by people who occasionally show interest when they need something. And more importantly, how a person feels about me has nothing to do with me. Again, this was when I learned that love is about loving, with all your might, and not about the love you receive.
I woke up when I allowed myself to sit and experience, in its entirety, the pain of a person treating me how they've always felt about me once they got where they needed to go. It was severe and still is at times. But God gave me a word that lifted my spirit from such a dark space. He said… "Michelle, why are you upset? I've freed you. I just reduced the weight I couldn't allow you to carry onboard towards the next dimension of truth I'm calling you to. That person wouldn't have been able to handle seeing you in this next place, so I spared you pain and that person's struggle. All they see in you is what they don't have, not your heart. But they're not supposed to be you, but they'll learn. I've got to work on that person as I am working on you with so many things too, but I don't need your help. I need you to collect content along the way, so that when you get to the people I haven't reached, you'll have something to talk about, and folks will be free because you are. That's why you never lose. You're my investment, and I protect my assets indefinitely."
God gave me peace. There was nothing I could say to overcome this grief. But then, I remember this is only a test. Learning to respond to testing as opposed to turbulence also helps with the right perspective. Because I am free, I no longer have to wonder why a person doesn't have real compassion for me. I don't have to wonder if something was wrong with me because of the inequality of love and friendship. I don't even have to forgive the person again for something similar or work through its anxiety ever again. When God releases you from a toxic connection, say thank you. Adversely, the ego is the only reason anxiety would exist in a situation that results in rejection. So what if they don't like you. Find people that do. It's ok if you're deserted once that person gets where they need to go. We never know why God puts people in our circle but, it's all in His plan.
Now I have (pure)joy because I've been through enough heartbreak to know that once I am broken in, God uses me on a deeper level. I am even able to love harder but in a healthy direction. After tribulation comes hope, and hope maketh not ashamed (Romans 5:3)!!! Can you see it? God takes the shame caused by rejection produced from hardship and replaces it with Pride (NO SHAME)!!!!! The unique thing about this space is, if there is no hurt or shame, there can only be love. And love for yourself, the one who survived this gut punch, will provide an impenetrable love for God who saved you once again. When you love God, it doesn't matter what people do or say to you; you can always love them back with appropriate emotional distancing!! Letting go was the best thing I could've done!