Keep Bleeding Love


 “You cut me open and I keep, keep bleeding love.”

 Leona Lewis’s recording gave voice to strong sentiment for millions.

“Closed off from love, I didn’t need the pain.
Once or twice was enough, and it was all in vain.
Time starts to pass; before you know it you’re frozen.”

 Leona sings of how she’d cut her heart off from love after being hurt and disappointed in her relationships. As her story continues, she speaks of finding a new love and the risk of becoming vulnerable again.

“But nothing’s greater than the risk that comes with your embrace.
And in this world of loneliness, I see your face.”

Yet the lyrics hint of an unhealthiness in the new relationship. Friends warn her that she’s crazy. She tries to cut off the vein of her love, but yet she keeps bleeding love.

Something within us all longs for love.
We were made for love.
We were hard wired by God Himself to live life deeply engaging both God and humanity!

And yet the hurts and disappointments of life can lead us to close our hearts off as if to instinctively avoid potential pain, but the loneliness cries out from our hearts and draws us to ‘bleed love again’.

Can we love well after being hurt?
Is it worth the risk of being hurt again?
What is the difference between healthy love and unhealthy ‘love’?
Can we call it love if it is not true in the sense of God’s design?
How much of what we call love is self-serving or neediness?
Does God call us to risk again?
If we’ve closed our hearts to love, do we need to repent?

Dan Allender so beautifully speaks of repentance as it relates to our self-protective ways of relating. “It is recognizing that our self-protective means of avoiding hurt have not ushered us into real living (the reckless abandon to God that ultimately leads to a deep sense of wholeness and joy) or to purposeful, powerful relating. Repentance is the process of deeply acknowledging the supreme call to love…” (The Wounded Heart).

There could be so many ‘qualifiers’ here.

What about abusive relationships?
What about those who give their heart in unhealthy ways?

Ah, another blog for another day but for today I want to look at how we move toward God and toward others in healthy life-giving ways by allowing our hearts to risk love, to thaw in the warmth of loving relationships.

We can totally relate to how a child learns to avoid the stove after touching a hot stove eye. The brain stores the memory. Hot stove + touch = Pain. Do not touch again.

We parallel that lesson in relationships. Love + vulnerability = broken heart. Do not love again.

Yet the hunger for love within us draws us back to the fire; we just learn not to get too close. Close enough to get warm, but not close enough to experience the intensity of the flame. Our self-preservation yields a passionless version of love (by passion, I am not referring to sex alone but to all the ways that God calls us to live passionate lives, fully giving of our hearts to Him and to others).

We construct walls around our hearts to keep the pain out, but the problem is they also keep love out. The walls narrow our ability to enjoy the full range of emotions that are a
God-given part of our humanity.

Christians sometimes confuse godly self-control with ungodly emotional deadness. A theology that always views the expression of strong emotions as a lack of self-control and a sign of weakness is not a theology that looks honestly at the life that Jesus himself lived. One thing Jesus was not was emotionally dead.

Allender further states that “In essence, the choice to be dead (emotionally) is the choice to turn one’s back on the Author of life, to deny Him the opportunity to touch our lives deeply and to use us fully according to His good purposes.”

In order to be fully alive, we must turn away from mistrust when a relationship calls for trust.

Again, we are speaking of caring relationships. And as a matter of clarification, people who’ve been abused often need help identifying what a real caring relationship looks like.

Are there ways that you are living self-preservation modes?
Are there walls around your heart which are keeping out love and life and passionate living?
Is God calling you to risk again?

If He is, then it’s going to be worthwhile.

Will it be perfect? No.
Will it be painless? No.

No relationship is without some elements of pain and disappointment because we are human but the rewards of loving well invite us into the depths of God’s heart and that is a risk worth taking.

Do you have any icebergs in the ocean of your heart that need thawing? Will you allow the rays of God’s warm love to melt the frozen tundra of your heart?

Have the ways you’ve been relationally harmed led you to construct a fortress around your heart to keep pain out? Will you consider opening the gate and purposefully choose to let your heart live again?

Will you choose to keep bleeding love?

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