Love Without Boundaries

I’m passionate about learning and, recently, I’ve become a student on love. I want to expand the love I have for myself and others. I want to be a better partner than I’ve been in the past. I want my heart to be filled with so much love that there will be no room for fear or judgement to enter. I’m certainly not an expert on religion or relationships, and I will forever be a work-in-progress. I’m just a 23 year-old girl who makes a lot of mistakes… But I’m trying to become the best version of myself. Writing is part of that process.

I’m realizing that I’ve used past relationships to gratify my ego. Instead of seeing myself as a whole person, I sought relationships with people who had what I thought I was missing (confidence, peace, etc). Or, perhaps worse, I idealized needing a partner who constantly reassured me and boosted my confidence. When someone fell short of the ideals that I created, I moved on and the cycle repeated. A truly healthy relationship is one where both people realize they’re complete on their own, but have a great potential to teach each other. Together, they can work for the greater glory of God.

I can’t change another person and I can’t ask God to change them. Believe me, I’ve tried. I can, however, ask God to let me see someone the way He does. When I’m frustrated, I can ask for understanding. When I’m upset, I can ask for peace. I can ask God to change my heart. Thinking about relationships this way changes how I see others and seek God. My prayer is no longer, “Dear God, send me a wonderful man.” It has become, “Dear God, help me to see beauty in all people, including myself. Help me to see that everything you make is wonderful.”

I’ve approached many relationships like an audition. I hide my weaknesses for as long as I can and, in doing this, put up walls that create barriers between myself and love. I wait until I’m in a “good place”  to enter a relationship so I can act like I have everything together. There’s nothing honest about pretending to have everything together. More importantly– when we stop struggling, we stop growing. What if I stopped looking at relationships as an audition and started seeing them for what they really are? An opportunitiy to expand my capacity for healing, compassion, forgiveness, and love.

I love someone best when I stop trying to control them and, instead, release them to be who they are.  I’ve played the role of a jealous girlfriend more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve disliked other girls simply because my boyfriend liked them or I felt insecure about myself in their presence. I used to justify this as “normal” behavior. Then I realized I was in trouble if I only required myself to live up to normal standards. Normal is divorce. Normal is dishonesty. Normal is fear. Normal is, often, dissatisfaction.  Projecting boundaries and insecurities on someone is not love. Removing expectations and encouraging another person to reach their highest potential– that’s love.

I’m not convinced that Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong exist. Maybe there are just people in front of us and lessons to be learned. Maybe we spend so much time waiting for the “perfect” person that we miss out on opportunities to evolve and expand our hearts. All relationships demand patience, forgiveness, and compassion. They expose the areas of our lives that need work. And maybe we don’t need to seek love. Love is everywhere. Maybe the trick is learning to recognize and remove barriers that keep love from entering our lives.

I feel my self-loathing habits disintegrate to nothing as I continue to pursue love. I’m not pursuing love by looking for a date or a new boyfriend– I’m pursuing love by showing kindness to myself, asking God to change me, not my circumstances, and keeping my eyes and mind open to the beauty that lies right in front of me.

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  1. #1 by SWK on February 19, 2011 - 2:17 pm

    “Maybe there are just people in front of us and lessons to be learned.” Excellent line.

  2. #3 by Annette on February 19, 2011 - 2:53 pm

    I think you’re very insightful for your age. I love reading your posts

    • #4 by Jaclyn Rae on February 19, 2011 - 3:27 pm

      Thank you so much, Annette! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend :)

  3. #5 by Heather on February 19, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    You grow more and more all the time. I swear, I can picture you growing in leaps and bounds in my mind. I see you leaping from street corner to street corner, sharing the love you are working so hard to learn. You are beautiful. God is using you as a tool in the lives of many.

    “I’m not pursuing love by looking for a date or a new boyfriend– I’m pursuing love by showing kindness to myself, asking God to change me, not my circumstances, and keeping my eyes and mind open to the beauty that lies right in front of me.”

    That was my favorite part. That was my favorite part because I am not looking for a date or a new boyfriend either, but everyday I ask God to help me LOVE!

    • #6 by Jaclyn Rae on February 20, 2011 - 11:41 am

      Heather– I can tell that God has given you a heart full of love and compassion for others. I feel it in your writing and in your comments to me. Thank you for being so strong in faith and bold in encouragement. You shine so bright :)

  4. #7 by maneesha77 on February 20, 2011 - 5:30 am

    Hey Jaclyn!! Thanks for the wonderful post! I can always ALWAYS relate so much to what you write, because I ve gone through the same and made a lot of wrong decisions. But our God is so so good right? anyways a good eye opener on changing the prayer! mine had been like an audition as well!! Thank you so much again for sharing!

    • #8 by Jaclyn Rae on February 20, 2011 - 11:42 am

      I am so glad you can relate– it always helps to not feel alone in our journeys :) You’re right, God is so good.

  5. #9 by Jeremy D. Crouch on February 21, 2011 - 8:44 am

    “I’m not convinced that Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong exist. Maybe there are just people in front of us and lessons to be learned. Maybe we spend so much time waiting for the “perfect” person that we miss out on opportunities to evolve and expand our hearts. All relationships demand patience, forgiveness, and compassion. They expose the areas of our lives that need work. And maybe we don’t need to seek love. Love is everywhere. Maybe the trick is learning to recognize and remove barriers that keep love from entering our lives.”

    For years, I thought that God had predestined one woman to be my wife for all of eternity. I daydreamed about it as a child. It was my romantic fairy tale just waiting to become reality. I would be the some-what handsome man who would sweep her off of her feet and dance together waltzing into our dreams — and shining the light of Christ to the world.

    Yet, I have loved and been loved…and been hurt…and yet this image of “the one” has never left, but rather has changed — transformed, As time progressed and I have learned about the differences in personalities and the hardships of failures, my image of the one has transformed because I have transforemd. Yet, I still believe that God knows what and who is best….

    You see, I dream. I dream of a wife who will love me even with my insecurities….and who I can love and help assist with her insecurities. We can find these things hindering love from entering our lives. For as you said, it is time we stop seeking love….because love is everywhere. And love doesn’t have to be bounded only to your local church or friend group, as some people would try to state. No, love can be found anywhere. God can do anything.
    :)

    • #10 by Jeremy D. Crouch on February 21, 2011 - 8:45 am

      PS…..I still believe that marriage should be forever…and with one woman. Divorce and adultery just does not sound pleasing to me.

      • #11 by Jaclyn Rae on February 21, 2011 - 9:52 am

        I agree with you that marriage that should last forever. I just want to be open to whatever God puts in front of me. What if it’s not in God’s plan for me to get married, and I spend my life waiting and hoping for something that doesn’t happen? All I have is right now, today. And today I choose to love :)

  6. #12 by shelbyisrad on February 21, 2011 - 10:49 am

    Man Jaclyn I admire you and your heart so much! You are an INCREDIBLE lady of God and I am blessed daily by your words and your heart. <3 <3

    • #13 by Jaclyn Rae on February 21, 2011 - 11:44 am

      Thank you so much, Shelby. You’re a huge blessing to me too! <3

  7. #14 by Jeremy D. Crouch on February 21, 2011 - 12:53 pm

    I believe that if God has given you a desire to get married, that He will (in His timing) bring it to past. I don’t believe that God hangs our dreams in front of us and then takes them away when they come close. But, he does know what is best!

    Yes, today choose to love….and also choose to believe that God has given you this dream for a reason. :)

    • #15 by Jaclyn Rae on February 21, 2011 - 2:03 pm

      I definitely agree with you, but I think sometimes God fulfills our dreams in unexpected ways. And He often has bigger dreams for us than we have for ourselves.

      Example? I’ve always had the desire to be a mom. I thought by the time I graduated college, I’d be getting married and ready to start a family with someone. But, here I am– done with school, supporting myself, and single.

      An hour ago, I completed an application to volunteer in an orphanage for a year. I have no idea whether or not this will work out but, if it did, I would get to be a “mom” to lots of kids who need love. And, because my free time is my own, I already get to spend lots of time with kids– volunteering at a children’s hospital and tutoring elementary students.

      There are many things I don’t know, including God’s plans for me… But I know that I can’t limit myself to my own dreams– I need to allow them to expand and go beyond what I have planned.

      I hope that makes sense :)

      • #16 by Jeremy D. Crouch on February 21, 2011 - 8:26 pm

        1) Yes, God does fulfill our dreams in unexpected ways — with bigger dreams. Think about it for a moment — Isn’t it exciting??? To know that we don’t know everything and that He has good surprises for us!

        2) I understand your desire. My dream isn’t just to be a boyfriend, but a husband and a father. I want to look into the eyes of my children and know that God did this. I thought that it was supposed to happen by now. I went through the Navy and now completing my Bachelors degree — still single. However, I know that He has great things in store —- SO keep your head up!

        3) THAT IS SO AMAZING!!!! Wow! I am literally excited for you! I will be praying for you as you reach out to those children. :) Wow….!!!!

        4) Yes, let your dreams expand. As I think we have realized, I too am in a similar place. For me, I can’t get caught up on the fact that it seems my dreams are broken and gone. No, God is doing AMAZING things in the here & now — far beyond what I have ever planned. Gosh, I NEVER thought that I would be doing what I am doing now, with school and dancing…..and of course blogging!

        It makes total sense! Thanks for sharing! :)

  8. #17 by chris on February 22, 2011 - 9:20 pm

    Jaclyn…..I absolutely love this post.

  9. #19 by Elizabeth on February 24, 2011 - 11:13 pm

    I’m so thankful for your transparency in this post. I take that back, in ALL of your posts. It is truly inspiring to read about what the Lord is teaching you.

    • #20 by Jaclyn Rae on February 25, 2011 - 9:17 am

      Thank you so much, Elizabeht! You are lovely :)

  10. #21 by Chiradeep on May 22, 2012 - 4:01 am

    This is absolutely an amazing post and on a great topic.

    In 1Corinthians 13, Paul urges believers to strive for the greatest of all characters: LOVE. I like this verse 11, where Paul says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” How true it is. When we love somebody in the truest sense then the whole world will see me as a matured, grown up man or woman. When I don’t have love for others or spouse then I still need to grow up. I am still a kid and needs to go to a school to learn the basics.

    And you’re so right when you said that, ‘we can not ask God to change others but bring a change in ourselves/me.’

    Lovely website…Keep glorifying HIM. God bless you…

    Regards

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