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 In Blog, Monday Morning

unconditional love (John and Beth)What Loving Unconditionally Can Do For You

“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” – Mother Theresa

Years before Beth and I were married, heck years before we dated, I was in the dreaded “friend zone…”

Yes, you know that special place no one who dreams of dating the other person ever wants to be…

Yes, I was there. And Beth made it painfully clear by going as far as telling me repeatedly she loved hanging out with me…, before adding….  “like a brother.”

#Brutal

Well, eventually, I realized that my desire for her had in reality always been selfish.

I was transfixed on what that relationship might do for me. I was so focused on what I wanted: Beth to be my date, my girlfriend, maybe even someday, my wife. Deep down probably viewing that type of relationship as proof that I was normal. But in focusing only on me, my desires, what I might get out of it, I was unable to simply enjoy who Beth was and the wonderful relationship we already had. Yes, even as friends.

So I decided to stop trying to convince her that I was lovable. I stopped pursuing her for what I might get out of it and started opening my heart to simply love her. Even it wasn’t exactly the way I planned.

Dropping My Agenda

It was a mighty inflection point.

My focus shifted to authentically caring about her. Instead of me trying to get anything from the relationship, I began to just enjoy whatever time we had together.

No strings attached. No expectations. No hidden agenda.

And it was enough.

In fact, it proved to be more than enough. Because in that vulnerability of being exactly who I was and loving her for exactly who she was, Beth’s heart began to change. She started feeling differently about me. She began to see me as more. And a girl who once told me she viewed me “like a brother” eventually would be the one who asked me out!

(I was reminded of this inflection point recently when I spoke with Jake McEntire, whose desire to share his story was so intense, he spent more than a decade perfecting his screenplay. As inspiring as pursuing a single dream for 10+ years without giving up on it might be, it wasn’t until he realized that writing the story and sharing it with his loved ones was his calling, and was enough – that he got the special call from producers saying they were going to turn it into a major motion picture. If you’ve ever had a dream you hoped might one day come true, but hasn’t yet, then you need to check out my conversation with Jake on the Live Inspired Podcast, here.)

Broadening our Application of “Unconditional Love”

My friend, we’re frequently encouraged to rush right to the finish line. Get the girl. Get the promotion. Achieve the dream. Close the deal.

The idea of enduring the great unknown faithfully, patiently, even joyfully, is far less celebrated.

But today, let’s celebrate the pause and the wait. Let’s even celebrate keeping our hearts so open that we can let go of what we thought we so desperately needed. Because frequently you’ve got to let go of what you thought you wanted, to discover something even greater than you imagined. [Tweet this] | [Share on Facebook]

Today is your day. Live Inspired.

PS: I shared the entire story of my courtship with Beth, the rejections, the letting go, and the eventual transformation as a couple in my #1 national bestselling book ON FIRE. If you’ve never read it, check it out here.

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