Do you have a refuser in your life?

Someone who—no matter what you do for them—just refuses to return your love?

You could do their laundry, clean up their messes, cook for them, tell them you love them, pick up their favorite snacks from the grocery store without them asking. You could pour everything you have into making them feel seen, heard, and loved… and in the end, it doesn’t matter. Because they will never do the same for you.

Instead, they drag their feet or roll their eyes or flat-out refuse. They huff and complain, or go silent and deadly, choking the atmosphere with their bitter anger.

Is it your sister or brother? Mom or dad? (It could be your spouse, however, I am single as a nun during Sunday worship and therefore have absolutely no authority to speak into marriage, so for the sake of this blog post, I will be opting out of advice in that area. Please take what is helpful and dismiss what is not.)

Whatever it is and whoever you’re dealing with, there’s one common thing we can find… it’s hard. This is the kind of heartbreak that nobody can prepare you for. This situation is painful and deep.

The World’s advice…

If you look up the definition of a toxic person on google, it says this.

“A toxic person is anyone whose behavior adds negativity and upset to your life.”

Hi. I’m Alli. I guess I’m a toxic person because sometimes I add negativity and upset into your life.

The world screams “Narcissist! Toxic! Abuser! Run and leave and never look back!” We use conflict (which is a regular, normal thing, for people to handle with each other) as an excuse to leave.

My generation in particular throws these words around carelessly and callously. We run into a couple issues with a person and have no problem dusting off our hands and walking away. We gossip and ‘spill the tea’ with others, dragging people’s names through the mud as we label them and their behavior in extremes.

(Disclaimer: This blog is not if you are in a legitimately abusive situation. Please seek professional help.)

God’s Advice…

I’m going to be honest. God called me out hard-core with this in the past week. It hit me straight in the face and sent me flying back on my… well, anyways.

God’s been teaching my heart a very particular lesson in this area of my life. What do y’know, it seems to be completely different than what the world around me screams. So, here are the three things God’s taught me in the past couple months about loving a Refuser.

1. It’s not forever.

God doesn’t want you to pour out to never be filled up again. There are seasons and everything must change. I highly recommend reading Ecclesiastes if you’re in this season, but ultimately, I encourage you to remember that nothing lasts forever. While this includes some good things, it also includes the hard things.

2. It’s a balance.

God wants you to be loved on. He created you to give and receive. If you aren’t getting that love from someone in your life—stop expecting it from them!

Is it hard? Yes. Process that and feel whatever emotions come with it.

God has been teaching me that He is going to love me through many different people in my life. Some of those people will look like mothers and fathers. Some of them will look like sisters and brothers. Just because I’m receiving love from those people in such a way doesn’t mean my mother and father ‘don’t count’ anymore or that I’d be better off without them.

God wants to love on you, and he will through many different people in your life. They all look different. They all have a little different flavor of love based on how God designed them.

I will pour out my love and God will love on me.

3. You’re being obedient.

Now, call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure Jesus says something significant about only loving people who love you. (He does. It’s in Luke 6.) Hard as it is, when you love on someone that you know won’t return it, you’re choosing to be obedient to God. You’re choosing to listen to the spirit. God sees that.

I feel that there is so much more I could say on this subject. I could go deep into the little intricacies of loving on those people in your life—the differences between loving on them and tolerating them. But for now, this will do.

Who are you actively loving this week?

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