Monday, December 31, 2012

All We Need is: LOVE



The Beatles had it right. 

For the past several months, I've been in my own struggle. Yes, this gratitude warrior struggled with discouragement and falling into the cynic mindset. Those closest to me could feel it and could see it. I knew it was there and was frustrated that I would allow it to stay for so long. I've engrained an attitude of gratitude into my life, my words, my thoughts, my being. Lately, though, I've struggled with that, also. 

Feelings of abandonment have never been far from my mind. I feel privileged to be loved enough to have been adopted and, yet, at the same time there are natural feelings of abandonment. The fear of it can easily take over my thoughts and in my younger days it did just that. It has affected almost every relationship I've been in, as well as friendships. 
I've enlarged my ability to feel the fear and press on. As I've matured, I've grown to a place where I can feel those feelings and yet remember they are not true.  However, it is still a constant struggle and during times when I don't feel loved, it's an even bigger challenge. 

So, during this two month struggle, I kept coming to the same conclusion. It wasn't new to the world or to me, but it was an aha! moment. It explained my struggle. It explained the struggles that caused my struggle.

Every issue, Every issue stems from someone not feeling loved, not feeling accepted, not feeling like enough. 

I'm not a counselor or an expert by any means, but I have lived enough life and made enough mistakes on my own to see the common thread. 

We can say we love someone everyday, but saying it is not enough. We must be intentional about it. We have to be intentional every day, with every word, with every action. 

I have people close to me that I've watched for many years struggle with loving themselves. I've listened to their words, carefully, and learned that they also have never been completely loved, unconditionally loved, or experienced love in it's truest form. 

I've watched people I know (including myself) go through one divorce or more. I've spent time with people who are struggling to create loving environments as a now blended family. I know how difficult it is to teach children the true meaning of love when you haven't experienced it or you doubt it's power. 

I've listened as people have confessed that their marriage/relationship is not what they want it to be and that the distance is too much for it to "work" anymore or that the stresses of daily life is just too much and they cannot find time to connect with their spouse or significant other. 

I say what the Beatles have been saying all along. I've been saying it to my husband for months as I've been trying to explain why my love was rejected by someone close to me. I just could not explain it and rather than find a gratitude or lesson within the situation, I just grew angry and frustrated. 

So, as 2012 was about to exit and I was still contemplating being a cynic or buying into the "love" thing, my friend Deb sent me a Facebook message. 

So I have this crazy idea. I'm sure it's been done before, but who cares? I'd like to create a private group for wives called 40 days of love. Starting on the first or maybe the second given the short notice, we aim to do something every day for a minimum of 40 days to show our hubbies we love them. What do you think?

You may not believe in God Winks (my friend SQuire Rushnell does), but I sure as heck do! I've experienced them pretty much all my life. So, Deb's crazy idea really was a divine validation of what I've been saying for 2 months (and had been ignoring). 

Now you and I both know that this idea isn't off the wall. It's been done many times. There are tons of articles out there and books like The Love Dare that challenge us to stretch beyond our comforts and love no matter what has happened.  

But what a better way to incorporate 40 Days of Thankfulness, my birthday Random Acts of Kindness and On the Wings of Gratitude into the threads of our own personal relationships that are right in front of us? 

You may be thinking: "Some days it's going to be hard to come up with loving things to say or do about/for my ___________ (insert your loved one here)." 

And you're right! But we are called to LOVE! 

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2

We are not instructed to love when it's convenient for us. We are not instructed to love when others love us first. We are not instructed to stop loving if we are wronged. We are not instructed to love only when others meet our unrealistic expectations.

We are called to LOVE. If we can give more of it, we will receive more of it. You can choose anger, cynicism, bitterness, and defeat, or you can choose to start your 2013 off right and join our 40 Days of Love Challenge. 

Beginning January 6, 2013, the 40 Days of Love event will launch. We are asking you to join us. We are asking you to love. Love those mothers and fathers in your life who've hurt you, love those husbands and wives who you once couldn't live without, love those children who are your life no matter what they do, love those friends who are in your life for a reason. 

Once a day we will challenge you to do something for that person. We will ask you to share your ideas with others on Facebook or twitter. We will ask you to post pictures on Instagram of your love challenge or your loved one. 

What do I need to do? Join the FB event, share/invite others, choose the person you are going to LOVE during this challenge and wait for the challenges to come in each day! We will remind you, don't worry! :) 
Does it have to be a husband or a wife? NO! It doesn't matter who you are LOVING in the 40 Days as long as you are doing something IN LOVE for them. 
Can you choose to keep it a secret? Sure, but you don't have to! Totally up to you! 
Can you choose to do your own 40 day challenges? Sure! We will just post as guidance for those that are less creative (like us) :) 
Is this just for women?  NO! We NEED the men of our lives to join in the most! You are husbands, sons, fathers.......you are SO important! 

By February 14th, we should all have more love in our lives and THAT will be cause to celebrate a day of love (and not that corporate holiday that just sucks money from our lives) .

#40DaysofLove (hashtag aka "keyword" to use on FB, Twitter, and Instagram) 

Wishing all of you a new year full of love, gratitude, blessings, and joy! 

Still your gratitude warrior,
Tisha