Dear friend, love is not your reward.

“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!” 
(Psalm 66:16–20)

Dear friend,

Just dropping in with a friendly (and somewhat firm) reminder that love is not your reward.

I pray this letter finds you well. I know life has been confusing for you lately. Well, a little further back than just lately, huh? It feels like the better part of life has been a series of confusing events, shortcomings, and unmet expectations. I’m sorry about that. I really and truly am. Please know that you’re not alone.

Though I don’t fully understand all of the details, you are not alone.

Sometimes it’s harder than others to grasp that there is a disconnect between what we expect and desire and what reality has to offer us. This disconnect is not an abnormal thing. We aren’t the only ones to dwell on this. People have written about this for nearly ever. I believe it’s because God created us with desires and expectations that, thanks to brokenness, just won’t be met on this side of heaven.

You are not alone in a life with unfulfilled desires or praying for the same thing or waiting.

You’re not alone in thinking that love is rarely (read never) the love we expect or like it is in the movies or in books. It’s never quite as easy or convenient or expectedly timed. Do you know what I mean?

You want to be loved in a way that you can’t even really put your finger on. You want to be loved in a way that takes you by surprise and proves an insight into your deepest self. I get it. You’re not alone.

I know that sometimes you feel like love is absent — maybe even most of the time. Like this something that you deeply desire — to love to be loved — is the farthest thing away. I know you’ve prayed for it for years, put yourself out there, shared your life, and somehow, it still hasn’t made its way into your life how you always thought it would. You see it appear to just land in other’s laps all the time — from their moms and dads and boyfriends and girlfriends and sisters and brothers and fiancées and husbands and wives and friends. But somehow, you just don’t feel it.

Then you spin into asking yourself what the heck you can be doing differently. Believe me, I get this, too. What could I do more of? What could I do less of? Where should I go? What job should I get? Who should I be? What could I wear? What should I give? What else could I possibly do?!

Dear friend, please remember that love isn’t something that you earn. It’s not a reward. When you’re feeling loved, know you did nothing to earn it. When you’re not feeling loved please know that, at your core and in who you are, you are no less lovable than those you see around you who seem to have what you want and are praying for. You are no less redeemed. You are no less heard. You are no less provided for. You are no less protected. You are no less favored. You are no less loved.

You see, regardless of what you do, you have been given the deepest and most insightful love. One that is patient, kind, humble, content, polite, considerate, perseverant, and hope-filled.

You have been given a love more steadfast than you can comprehend. It’s a gift he’s given and not a reward. Love was never-ever meant to be won or an earned prize.

Love is not your reward.

With love,