Does a casual conversation ever surprise you as it takes a left turn, diving into something deep? I remember one time commenting to a friend about not always feeling motivated to read my Bible. When I asked her if she had ever felt that way, she answered honestly . . . “no.” This conversation wasn't long, but it has stuck with me for about two years. She ended the conversation by simply saying, “My relationship with Jesus is the only relationship in which I am completely loved, safe, and known. Why wouldn't I want to talk to Him every day?”
From what I know about my friend's story, she has been through many difficult trials—heartache after heartache. She's been through things that you would ask, “God why?” And yet she really has grown closer to Him through the events of her life. What she had longed for was unconditional love. Much like the rest of us.
Love that is unconditional loves without conditions. That's the beauty of the Gospel. God says, "No more lists of things you have to do to measure up. I sent my Son to take away the conditions. Now all you have to do is accept my unconditional love" (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
My friend realized that the only person who could love her unconditionally was Christ. But what happens when we try to put others in a space that only God can fill? What happens when we try to fill the giant God-sized void in our hearts with the love of man? Expectations build when we expect others to love us in the way that only God can, and unmet expectations lead to unmet needs, disappointments, and resentments. Only God can satisfy our needs 100% of the time.
I have an amazing family, but I feel so disappointed when they don't meet my expectations. It wasn't until I started to act on two things that I started to really grow into a deeper relationship with my family:
I can only control myself and how I communicate when I am hurt. I cannot control the actions or reactions of others. This allows me to communicate how I am feeling in a more loving way because I don't feel responsible for the other person's emotions or choices.
Even when I don’t feel like it, I try to give more grace. This can only be done when we truly understand in our hearts that everyone is broken and God is the only relationship that is unconditional. Because we've received grace from God, it is easier and more natural for us to give grace (Ephesians 2:8; Colossians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:8).
Mother's Day is coming up. If you feel that your mom has not loved you well, have you communicated that hurt in a loving way? She isn't perfect. Even if your mom is everything a mom “should” be, she will never love you as Christ does. That might be saying a lot. Maybe you haven't met your mom or your mom isn't with us anymore— try spending some time with God this week. He loves you unconditionally and you can be completely loved, safe, and known in the comfort of His arms.
Hannah Lynn hosts Moody Radio’s That’s Real and is an engineer for Karl and Crew mornings. She grew up as a homeschooler on a tree farm, plays the harp (ask her about harp camp), drives a Prius (don’t judge), and started a fashion blog while a student at Moody Bible Institute (yes, that’s possible). Hannah loves to tell people about Jesus—as a seven-year-old she witnessed to her ballet teacher, then she started a Young Life club while in high school. Now she mentors teens with her husband, John, who serves as a youth pastor.
That’s Real with Hannah Lynn gives a one-minute dose of encouragement and advice to young adults who want to love and live God’s Word. Her fast-paced mix of storytelling and Bible truth helps create understanding between young believers and anyone who wants to follow Jesus one day at a time.