where a woman can build her strength and freedom

How we become capable of love

Photo shows a young woman, capable of love, standing by a lake at dusk, gazing up into the lovely pink and blue clouds lingering after the sun has set, raising her arm with palm up toward the sky.

In these past weeks,
we have been looking at the dimensions of a whole life:
mind, spirit, body, character, identity, capability, love, contribution.
For each dimension, I have been offering you first steps to build it.
We are now at the point of looking at love.

When we looked at capability last week,
we saw that to be capable we need power and knowledge.
But to become fully capable to give our gifts to the world,
we also need love.
In fact, we need love even more than we need power and knowledge.
Our capacity to love and be loved is actually our core capability.

The Bible puts it bluntly:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love,
I am nothing.

But which comes first: to give love or to receive it?
The Bible teaches that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
This is true.

before we are able of give love,
we must first become able to receive it!
That is actually the hard part:
becoming capable of receiving love.

Whoa! You may say.
What’s so hard about receiving love????
Aren’t we all perfectly capable of receiving it,
if only somebody would hurry up and GIVE some to us????
I wish it were so.

Unfortunately, the reality is different.
Good people have been attempting to give us love all our lives.
Our family, our teachers, our friends. Yes, and God too.
I am amazed, when I look back,
at how much love was available to me,
all my life,
and how little I allowed in.

When I was in 8th grade
my gym teacher, Mrs. Carol Dennison, called me into her office,
sat me down, looked me in the eyes, and gently said to me:
Debby, some day you are going to need friends.”

Did I hear her?
Did I let this loving woman in?
Did I let other kids in my school be my friends?
You know the answer, don’t you.

If you look deeply at your own life, today…
maybe you can be different than I was then.
Maybe you can take a different, less painful path.
Maybe you can actually recognize NOW
how much love you have not let in.

First steps

So, what can I recommend for your first steps toward love?

Step one: Give a listen to this song by Foreigner
I Want to Know What Love Is

This is a man who has not yet been able to receive love.
He does not yet have the certitude of being loved.
If he did, he would not say he does not know what love is.
But he wants to find out!
He wants to let love in!
Join him in his courage.

Step two: Now listen to the song of a man who has been able to let love in.

This is where you are heading…
Ed Sheerhan sings about receiving and giving love
in Thinking Out Loud

Step three: Choose a source of love where you can begin
to learn to receive it.

Every single one of us can receive love
from at least one—and likely many— of the following sources:
God (according to any loving religion)
our family (parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, pets)
our friends (allies/coworkers/neighbors)
our teachers (mentors/pastors/coaches/therapists/physicians/nurses)
our love partner
our family that we have built (husband, wife, children, grandchildren, pets)
other people we give our gifts to (customers, audience, readers, patients)

Go ahead—
reach out to one or more
of those who would be happy
to give to you from their heart!

Open up
and receive the love
that the world wants to give you.
By letting love in
you are freeing yourself
to be able
to give it back.

Dr. Hall