Reflections of Love

Love

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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

A few weeks ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read, “Life is a class, love is the lesson.” Hmm. That being the case, I’ve been held back in life – more than a few times – by my repeated failure to master love. It’s a good thing then that I am (re-)reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, aptly titled, The Mastery of Love.

“To master a relationship is all about you.” (p. 70)

So far, so good. My ego likes where this is going.

“The first step is to become aware, to know that everyone dreams his own dream. Once you know this, you can be responsible for your half of the relationship, which is you. If you know that you are only responsible for half of the relationship, you can easily control your half. It is not up to us to control the other half.” (p. 70)

On second thought, my ego does NOT like where this is going.

“If we respect, we know that our partner, or friend, or son, or mother, is completely responsible for his or her own half. If we respect the other half, there is always going to be peace in that relationship. There is no war.” (p. 70)

Well, maybe there’s no war in the context outlined above, but my ego feels sorely defeated. Of course, that’s to be expected when we try to claim responsibility for circumstances that exist outside of our control. Still, I – aside from my repeatedly battered ego – feel richly blessed in Spirit. Why? Because whatever lies beyond our control is well within reach of God. (Amen, somebody.)

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:29-30, NKJV

At the risk of adding more angst in the hearts and minds of hopeless romantics and 80’s music fans, love is – in truth – not a battlefield. (Sorry, Pat Benatar.) Love is simply love. Battles only ensue in love’s vicinity when we arm ourselves with fear about our worthiness to receive and reciprocate love, and when we fail to fully recognize the love that exists within us.

“If you open your heart, you already have all the love you need. There’s no need to go around the world begging for love…We have love right here inside us, but we don’t see this love.” (p. 95)

More specifically, we sometimes don’t see the love inside of us as enough, which can really be translated as: we don’t see ourselves as enough.

The truth is that other people’s love – or lack thereof – toward us does not determine our worth. Even our occasional lack of love toward ourselves doesn’t determine our true worth because no matter what we do, who we truly are remains in tact as a reflection of God – in whose love and likeness we were made – and His Holy Spirit, which lives within us. Nevertheless, what we do – and what we accept from others – can reveal what we perceive our worth to be.

“If you are starving for love, and you taste that love, you are going to do whatever you can for that love. You can even be so needy that you give your whole soul just for a little attention.” (p. 94)

The good news is that we don’t have to be Le Cordon Bleu-certified to whip up a tasty cuisine of love for ourselves because we are Divinely verified as offspring of love (i.e. God). Therefore, our ability to feed ourselves love is an innate part of who we are as actual beings of love.

So, the next time that we find ourselves on a war-torn rampage for love, may we quickly remember to look in the mirror to find that the love that we so desperately seek is not hiding from us but shining from within us right where we are, just as we are.

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Whole in One

Worthiness

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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

I don’t need to watch the hit HBO series Insecure to know what insecurity looks, sounds and feels like–I have front row seats for “The Stephanie Rochelle Redd Show” all day, every day. That’s not to say that I spend every second of the day dissecting and reflecting on my character defects and comparative ‘drawbacks’. Nonetheless, I do spend enough time to know better.

I know better than the tales of unworthiness that I tell myself. I know better than the judgments about my beauty and body that I feed myself. I know better than to terrorize myself with my terrific imagination and terrifying what-if scenarios. I know, I know, I know.

Though, in the immortal words of G.I. Joe, “Knowing is half the battle”. What, then, is the other half? Believing. *Journey voice* “Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world…” (She took the red-eye plane going to Maaaauuuuiiiiii.)

The journey from knowing to believing is not for the faint of heart, my friends. The twists. (Ooh!) The turns. (Aah!) The heartbreaking/ego-shattering/limited belief-collapsing travails – and triumphs – that shake us to our very core. (@#$%^&*!) Yet, it’s in these core-shaken places where we are forced, again and again, to confront our inner-knowing of who we truly are.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” ~Genesis 1:27-28, NKJV

Thus, when my humanity – toward myself – is severely tested and I feel twisted, turned and torn, it is then that my Divinity within arises and the God in me is reborn. (Hallelujah!) At the times when I see myself as least valuable and most unlovable, God, through the Holy Spirit, reminds me of my value in Him and of His love for me.

As I allow myself to feel the warmth of God’s love and receive His superior validation, I then steadily recall the truth that my true self is not lacking in any way, despite what my human self may do, think and say. What’s more, in the Spirit, flesh and in truth, I am one whole being.

So, this I know as true–again. But how do I believe it–for real? Well, as I’m learning, it’s really a matter of believing God.

“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” ~Genesis 1:31, NKJV

See, I’ve found that if I take people’s word for my worth, then my value in myself will drop just as soon as they drop me. Even if I try to invest my worth entirely in myself, my stock will still waver due to the volatile nature of my personal insecurities exchange. But(!) when I invest all of who I am in the One who made me, knows me and calls me His own, then – and only then – am I truly secure.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” ~Jeremiah 29:11-13, NKJV

Facebook-icon th If your estimation of your worth is off balance and you could use a new perspective to see just how valuable you truly are, then click the links to find and fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram. Treasure, that is what you are!