Many years ago, with a broken heart, I said to the Lord: “Lord. Why is it that I always seem to love people more than they love me?”
Immediately the Lord replied: “I know just how you feel.”
I was taken aback. Of course, I thought to myself. Golly, how sad. If anyone knows what it feels like to love and not have your love returned, Jesus does. He “gets” it.
And He asked me:
“Cinnie. Do you think you can love without ANY hope of returned affection or devotion?”
“Gosh. Probably not, Lord…I don’t know. What do You think?”
“I think you are a tender person who loves to give, but I see that your giving is still attached to hope. False hope in many cases.”
“What does THAT mean, Lord? False hope?”
“You love with the hope that your love, your affection will be returned in kind. And that is truly a false hope, dear heart.”
“But Lord! You loved with hope, too. Your own Word says so, in John 3:16! You loved the world so much that You gave Your only begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him wouldn’t perish but have eternal life. Right, Lord? Right?”
“Yes, Cinnie. I always hope. Because love always hopes. But did you notice that all-important word in there? I gave…that “whosoever” believed in Me would have eternal life.
“…Meaning each man chooses.
“I loved. I gave. I hope, yes. But ultimately….each soul chooses.
“Hear Me in this, Cinnie: It is certainly no sin, hoping to have your same love returned. No sin at all. It is natural. And it is human.
“But it is not altogether wise. That is all I am saying. And I would have you become wise in your love. No longer like a child, lacking understanding. Be wise. Mature.
“For know this:
“When you love others with any expectation whatsoever, however small, that is when you entrust yourself to them. And remember My Word:
“‘But Jesus for His part entrusted Himself to no man.’ (John 2:24) And why? Because as the Word goes on to say, I knew very well what is in the heart of man, and had no need that any should tell Me.
“Cinnie. This is the wisdom I desire to impart to you now.
“Learn from Me. Change course. And from this day forward, determine to love only as I loved — without entrusting yourself to another, but only to Me, Your heavenly Father. For in loving this way – you will find freedom. Freedom and escape…from needless disasters of the heart.
Friend, that conversation with the Lord was pivotal in my life. It changed me. Forever.
You see, before He spoke this to me, I never even realized I was “entrusting” myself to others! I mean good grief, I certainly wasn’t looking for any friend or even my husband to be my “savior,” so to speak, either spiritually, emotionally, or any other way. I’d been in the Lord – and in the world – too long to make that mistake. So that wasn’t a problem.
But because the obvious red flags weren’t present, I therefore made the mistaken leap into thinking I didn’t have any issues of misplaced expectations on others.
And that’s where the self-deception came in.
Because I found, upon further reflection, that I did “entrust myself to others” because I did indeed have — as Jesus nailed it — a kind of false hope in their unfailing love.
The kind of love only God can give.
Jesus knew it. He saw it. And in His kindness He awakened me to my own issue…to preserve me and protect me from future heartache. And I praise Him for it.
What an awesome God I serve!
Now maybe all this sounds a little crazy to you. Maybe you’ve been in the Lord a long time. You love the Lord. You’re a mature Christian. So maybe you’re thinking to yourself now, “No chance this is my issue. I don’t look to other human beings to be what only God can be: unfailing in their love. I know better.”
Beloved, if this is what you’re thinking as you read my story, may I just ask you this:
Have you experienced disappointment — of any kind, at any level — in any of your personal relationships in the last few years, or perhaps even the recent past?
If your answer is yes, then I would just humbly submit to you, before you dismiss this out of hand, that perhaps you too could benefit from prayerful reflection upon what the Lord has shown me to be THE identifying mark of “entrusting yourself to others.”
For the truth is, we only get disappointed when our expectations aren’t met. Isn’t that so? In fact, I think it’s fair to say that disappointment — by very definition — is that which arises when one’s expectations are not met.
Therefore, it also follows, that where there ARE no “expectations” in the personal relationship realm, our hearts are no longer made unnecessarily vulnerable, prime targets for disappoint- ment. Or worse:
I can only speak for myself, beloved. But I can honestly tell you, ever since the Lord awakened me to this subtle, deadly trap of entrusting yourself to others by way of expectation, and ever since He showed me how to avoid this trap – simply by letting go of all expectation — my whole way of being in the world has changed.
I am truly a different person. Still reaching out, yes. Still loving others, oh definitely. But with one major difference:
No more expectations. No more false hope in another human being = entrusting myself to them.
And the result?
Today I can testify that the result has been exactly what the Lord promised me:
Absolute freedom from needless disasters of the heart.
Praise His Holy Name!
“But Jesus on His part did not did entrust Himself to them, because of His knowing all men, and because He had no need that anyone should testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.” ~ John 2:24-25 Berean Literal Bible
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23 New Living Translation
“For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever…” ~ Psalm 100:5
“…be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” ~ Hebrews 13:5b-c New King James Version