Power, riches, knowledge– all things we may think of and desire if we were offered a world without limits. This is at least what we have come to believe is desirable, and what is portrayed in our world.
I recently watched a movie called Limitless. Eddie (Bradley Cooper) is given a drug that enhances his mind, which opens up his world to unlimited opportunities
What if there were available to us limitless love?
Love so powerful and perfect that it could do as this drug did, but in the way that is not about the empty pursuit of riches and fame and power, but in the soul of us where we have deep needs to be met, and wounds to be healed. What if this love could set us free from our insecurities, enabling us to reach the capacity of our own unique talents and giftedness? Those which are often incapacitated and limited by our fears and the voices we have heard from others that have placed mental boundaries around everything we attempt. What if it could heal the deep soul hurts we have of abandonment and not belonging, our shot to pieces self-esteem, our fear of losing control, our wounds of broken love, our worth which is
If what Saint Paul say is true, then these what ifs? are possible! He prays this prayer –
“I pray that out of his glorious riches…you…may have power…to know this love that surpasses knowledge…now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:16-21, NIV)
Power, glorious riches, surpassing knowledge are phrases used by Paul to describe the unlimited resources of God’s love available to us. Love that is powerful and perfect for us. Love that God desires we receive and know and experience and live in.
Ephesians 3 describes a resource or reservoir that is without end and without measure. A reservoir filled with the glorious riches, enabling power and surpassing knowledge of God’s love. It does not run out. There is enough for what is required for every part of our lives – and more if needed. It is without assigned boundaries. It is limitless!
I wish she – my precious girlfriend, labeled with mental illness – had known this. She had counseling, medication, stays in Mental Health units, treatment of all kinds, community support – but there was nothing more they could do than just manage her illness. Their resource and knowledge to draw on was limited. It was not enough. The medications didn’t always work. The counseling had failed. She would have bad patches that were like hell to her. I knew her history and her story and so I knew that her mind suffered from broken love: a whole lifetime of broken love – failed promises and fake versions of love. She had deep soul hurts. Things had happened that had ruined her so greatly. She had become deeply fearful, anxious and often depressed. What would’ve happened if she had been able to receive God’s love that could’ve enabled her to understand how greatly loved she was? She thought she was unworthy. Her life was filled with shame. She had sold herself to lovers – men, drugs, alcohol, gambling. She had locked up tight her heart. She needed God’s empowering to receive the perfect and limitless love He had for her. In this life, could it have been possible that with her diagnosis, she could still have known and experienced every day the unlimited resources to help her live moment to moment, loved, not beaten and overwhelmed by the label she bore? It wasn’t to be the case for her in this life, but she knows and lives in that love now. She is complete and healed and set free. And I am so happy for her.
I hate the word manage. My girlfriend knew that she was being managed by the health system because they didn’t have the answers or the cure. She knew she was being managed by us as her friends because it was difficult for us at times and she had many issues we couldn’t cope with on our own, so as girlfriends, we managed her together. It’s the word we use when things are too hard or are impossible to be fixed. We have to learn to manage the situation, or the people, or our illness as best as we are able with the limited resources available to us. Ugh!
She was terrified of the vulnerability it takes to let love in. People and establishments had given up on her, and she’d been so hurt, hurt even more by the knowledge that she was now just being managed.
She had heard too often,
That’s it! We can’t do this anymore!
Do that again and I’m out of here!
This is the last straw!
It’s just too hard.
She felt too broken to be fixed.
She felt she was beyond help.
Every single one of these phrases spoken was felt and heard as the final extent or amount of patience, love, help, and grace able to be given – and there was no more. It said to her as a person who heard these words that she was not worth it, she was too hard, there was a limit and the people in her world had reached their end of it.
No matter how hard she tried, she would always fall and fail, and people or institutions would eventually give up on her. She tried to keep her behaviour and thoughts confined within the boundaries acceptable to obtain the love of others, but she couldn’t seem to. She was stuck in the powerlessness that her brokenness held over her, making the same mistakes, being too needy, being too hard to put up with, addicted to the same old habits, and so the measure of love that others had towards her ran out. She believed the lies that she was too hard and that she would always be this way, that nothing would ever change, and that underlying curse of “I’m not worth it” was fed, causing her to live out those lies and became more and more entrenched in them.
I fail to remember often that this is why Ephesians 3:15 is so necessary for me to grasp. God gives the supernatural enabling within to understand and know His love. With God, my Perfect Lover living within me, all of who He is in terms of love is living inside of me longing to be expressed. His unrelenting, unlimited resource of love is within, yet held back only because He deals gently and patiently with my ruined self, and He submits to my will in working with only what I will give to Him. I am too afraid to give all.
It is an amazing thought that Unlimited Love lives within me. What would it look like if I let this love express itself in me? What would it be like for Limitless Love to flow through every part of my mind and my heart, to course through my veins – through the lifeblood of me – to heal me of the pain of broken love, and where people just manage me.
God, this is my prayer –
Please don’t stop loving me. I know that You say that You won’t ever stop, but I need to know deep in my heart and mind that You never ever will. Let the knowledge of Your relentless, unlimited love for me to break down my walls and remove my terror so that I can begin to trust You with myself. Let the little experiences of Your love that I have alongside the empowering You give me, give me the strength to give you permission to love me as You long to – and little by little strip away any weakness I have in my returning to my many broken lovers and ways of dealing with life that cannot satisfy. And if Love itself lives within me, let me allow You to consume every part of me and lead me into a whole new understanding and experience in this life, knowing that nothing can ever separate me from it and that there is always more than enough that will never leave me stuck in the ruined places I find myself in. Help me to become all I was designed to be in the environment of perfectly and powerfully loved.
And please love my girlfriends in the same way. Tear down all those things that have built the walls in their hearts which are graffitied with “Don’t you dare love me!” – the fear they, and I, have of love.
Continued in next week’s Blog…