The Burden of Love

One reason we don’t choose to love more is that we’re afraid that love will be a burden. We’re afraid that love means we have to listen patiently to the most annoying people on earth and do whatever they ask for when they need a favor.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

To correct this myth, let’s examine one of the world’s most famous examples of love and its burden – Santa Claus himself!

As legend has it, Santa and his elves spend the year making gifts for all the good little boys and girls; and on Christmas Eve, his reindeer carry him ’round the world to deliver the gifts.

How does he do it? Well, there are many theories, but the more valuable question to ask is WHY does he do it? The answer, of course, is love, and here’s what that means:

He doesn’t do it because he has to, he does it because he WANTS to. He likes it. It brings him joy. He wants to make the world a better place. He would get bored hanging around with the elves all year if he didn’t have something meaningful to do.

And therein lies an important lesson: if you become more loving, you can still do whatever you want. If you want to serve someone, do it! You’re under no obligation. Love always only does what it wants. You can’t force it.

The best protection against letting yourself be abused by love’s “obligation” is to love yourself. Because you’re more responsible for yourself than anyone else (and they’re primarily responsible for themselves), you can prioritize your own needs first, and only put others first when you choose to. Mature love makes no excuses for this. It doesn’t respond to fear-based manipulation.

Whatever other reasons you may have to not choose to love more, they come down to either ignorance or fear.

As for ignorance: if you truly understood love, you would choose it. You would choose to have all the love you could possibly have. You would know better than to worry about love being a burden because you’d be too busy being lifted by it higher than you can now begin to comprehend.

As for fear: if you truly understood love, it would drive out all fear! Fear would utterly cease to be a factor. How does that appeal to you – to never feel afraid?!

The world’s other most-famous love-related figure is Jesus, who also addressed this fear of love’s burden when he advised us to, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Well, if Jesus’ burden is love – and it is! – then how can that be? Because frankly, sometimes love IS a heavy burden.

light of love, and if you take it upon you, you will certainly find rest and refreshment.

(Okay, Bible scholars, go ahead and reference the original translations and tell me I’m wrong. That’s okay. It’s still a valid point!)

SLIDER

Where do you fall on the “The Burden of Love” love slider?

1: Don’t bother me! I have my own needs to attend to! 3: Just the thought of loving other people makes me feel tired. 5: I’d love to be more loving…but I don’t have time, and I don’t really care. What I meant was, I’d love to be more loving as long as it doesn’t take much effort. 7: I’d love to be more loving and why do you think I’m reading this web site??!! I’m working on it and excited about my progress!! xoxo 10: I am bursting with love and there’s nothing that I like better than seeing the good in others and helping them progress!

11. Going to extremes: you don’t need to pretend that love isn’t taxing sometimes. It is. But that’s okay, because it makes us grow and increases our capacity and that’s what this life is all about!

FOR DISCUSSION

Have you ever avoided being more loving for fear of its burden and obligation?

HOMEWORK

Pick a loving act that you don’t feel like doing and do it anyway. Was it as hard as you imagined? Was it worth it? Why or why not?

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