Robert is a father, husband, chef, life coach recording artist, sculptor and would love to add "Author" to his list of dreams fulfilled.
Loving from the heart and not the head is an essential part of the transformational process that Jesus so graciously takes us through. If, we are first willing to accept the invitation, as well as the ticket price.
“Ticket price! What do you mean ticket price?, He already paid the price!
If you don’t believe there’s a hefty cost in store as we migrate on this journey being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, perhaps on more than one occasion you may have declined an invitation within the invitation?
I do not suffer from a martyrdom syndrome, and I certainly do not believe that It is a prerequisite for me to beat my chest as I march for two or three days to “suffer for Jesus.” Nor do I find it necessary to self-inflict wounds as a means of demonstrating my devotion, allegiance, love, worship or anything man made by any stretch, in order to gain His affirmation and approval.
Many of us have come to the awareness that we reside in an upside-down Kingdom, and there lies no exception when it comes to loving from the heart. Until we die to ourselves, we will unfortunately not be able to truly love the way Jesus loves.
The carnal heart has boundaries and choke points when it comes to unconditional love and only through the becoming like Jesus will we truly love the way that He loves.
This has undoubtedly been the most challenging part of my journey.
Being mentally, physically and spiritually abused as a young boy, my love was ripped away from me at a very critical time of my early development. I am convinced that is a part of the diabolical plan of satan to deposit and establish a paramount degree of fear in adolescents that will literally destroy the emerging adult.
I was no exception as a result of the shackles that were placed on me, I never had a clue of what unconditional love looked like? All I knew was fear and rejection. I was terrorized at the mere thought of someone liking me or wanting to be in relationship with me. I had convinced myself that if a friendship or relationship would ensue, that right away, the countdown had begun. It was on borrowed time. It was just a matter of time that the hourglass would completely transfer and I would no longer be wanted in the relationship. So, I made it my mission to sabotage every relationship shortly after its inception. It was the only way I knew to survive.
“I must destroy the relationship and be the first to reject because I know that I will be eventually rejected”. I lived in terror, just waiting for the hammer to drop.
Somehow, I was able to convince myself that this would ease the pain, and as long as I was the one in control, there would be less shrapnel to dig out, allowing me to entertain the illusion that I remained on top.
These consistent, perpetual patterns in my life laid the foundation for the borderline pathological narcissist that was developing in the petri-dish.
I learned and mastered the “art”, of manipulation, deflection, projection, rejection, gas lighting, which swung the pendulum from any form of unconditional love to a place on the other side, that I can only describe as a cesspool of brokenness, shame, self-pity, self-loathing, hate, pride, arrogance and a host of other really nasty human characteristics.
Oh , did I fail to mention that this was all happening while I was either on the mission field, Pastoring a church, leading groups, raising babies and "doing the stuff" as the late John Wimber defines it.
There are so many more brush strokes that I could add to this painting but instead I prefer to place the emphasis on loving from the heart and how that transition, transformation or metamorphosis, if you will began to take shape and develop my life.
I continued in this cycle of death for about 15 years into my marriage, and only by the grace of God did my wife not leave me or relegate me to the scrap heap. She instead laid down boundaries that General Patton, himself would be proud of!
Each time that I breached one of these boundaries, depending on what it was, would determine the action that she would take. On most occasions it was packing her bag and leaving until I changed my behavior to include without fail, a sincere genuine display of Godly sorrow, remorse, apology for my specific infraction, and recognition of how my abuse adversely affected her and the children. And there was no pulling the wool over her eyes.
She became an expert at dealing with the narcissist spirit, and it took me losing my shit to even examine the threshold that would turn the tables for me as I slowly realized I was losing control of her mind.
What she never did, was stop loving me, caring for me and fighting for my freedom.
As she reached new levels of freedom, she had more empathy for me. Those closest to her encouraged her to leave me and by all accounts she had every right to do so as a result of my constant abuse and empty promises to get help.
“how can I throw away this man, although through his abuse and mental instability helped shape and form the woman I am today?”
This was her response, and when these molecules reached my ears and marrow of my bone it was like a hydrogen bomb that shattered the strongest link in the chains that held me prisoner. It was the antidote that my heart needed.
In all honesty, her taking that stance brought me face to face with Jesus. I was completely undone as I saw him through her eyes.
No one could love like this aside from Jesus and that kindness immediately paved the road for a repentance that I only read about in books and perhaps witnessed maybe a handful of times on my journey.
She was blessed with the ability to capture that kind of love, because as a result she did not leave me nor forsake me, ever. I had been the “tool”, the catalyst to her learning and mastering the art of living with a narcissist but not allowing me to exert any of his tactics, get a foothold, abuse and control of the relationship.
She loved me to life through the power of perfect love.
She learned to work closely with Holy Spirit and was given access to the blueprint and strategies on "how to love me from a distance", when necessary, while still maintaining and promoting unconditional love.
The enemy of my soul would not rest until he completely and utterly destroyed my life, my marriage, my children and I was hanging on by a thread. But Thank God, it was a “thread of truth.” One that just needed someone that was willing to love me with a love “as unyielding as the grave.” This kind of love is what fashioned a three strand cord.
This love found me through the heart of one who had truly traded in her stony heart , for a heart of flesh, and resisted every attempt from the enemy to take back what was freely given to her. She in turn, followed the owner’s manual which resulted in me coming to my senses and learning to love from my heart and not my head.
In the words of John Mayer, and John Lennon, “I’m in repair, I’m not together but I’m getting there”,
I forge ahead, knowing that I love better today than I did yesterday.
And “it’s getting better all the time.”