Loving Well by Ashley Chakeris
A bit beat up with half the Atlantic in my nasal cavity, I got out of the water, and questioned going out at all. Yet at the same time didn’t regret it. I’ve had sessions like this before, but this one in particular was a metaphor for how I’ve been feeling about some relationships in my life lately. Sometimes the ocean is cantankerous and irritable, stretching the boundaries of your patience, making it hard to surf yet still worth it. The people in our lives are the same. People are tough. The deeper our relationships are, the messier they can become.

All relationships will hit bumps. Families, roommates, co-workers, friendships; all of these are relational incubators that require patience and a love that can at times be so very difficult. In the Lord’s great grace He continues to refine me and expose my shortcomings in such a way that I get to learn, struggle, and wrestle with loving well. Not the cultural kind that is romanticized and characterized by feelings, but the the hard kind. The “I don’t feel like it” kind. In one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, Paul reminds us that “love is patient. love is kind.”

So simple, but so hard. This forbearing, persevering, patient love toward a person is a form of self-sacrificial love we extend to someone else and the kind of love we all desire. It’s the kind of love that Christ gives us. The fact remains however that some people are just easier to love than others. What do you do with that? I’m an ongoing work in progress here for sure, but one thing the Lord reminds me is that I don’t have to necessarily like a person to love them. Sometimes loving that hard person is remembering that every one of us is dealing with something, and some of us are more weary and in need of some extra grace. I’m not sure where you are, but I’d imagine you can empathize with both sides: a giver of grace and one in need of grace. The Lord is doing different things in all of our lives, but these intersections we have with one another are growing us in ways beyond our comprehension, so we surrender feelings and trust Him because loving well will always be worth the bruises.