Can I just first admit that I’m not good at this? Loving your neighbor can be hard. It can push on selfish tendencies. Sometimes people you are trying to love will take advantage of you. Then the risk is to insulate yourself from people all together, so you aren’t ever wronged again. But Jesus didn’t say it would be easy. He didn’t even say that people will love you back. He just said to do it. And sometimes, loving hurts.

Like today when I felt completely vulnerable and taken advantage of by a stranger I was trying to love, trying to help, but felt like it completely backfired. It was a hard lesson – that in the process of loving, you can be left hurting. That’s why I feel like what Jesus teaches is SO upside down. He says to love those who might take advantage of you. Why? I’m reading through Luke right now and I just keep asking, why, why, WHY?

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? (from Matthew 5)

Coming off the high of Circles Conference, it was very difficult to get back into the rhythm of motherhood – especially because it’s been so dang hard lately. Both boys, at 2 and 3 are extremely high need, and high energy. I often wish I could just skip the hard part and go to the easy part (is there an easy part?), the more rewarding part.

My second born, at 2 years old.

Donald Miller tells the story of how he hiked to the city of Maccu Picchu. The hike was incredibly hard and painful. But the pain made the city more beautiful. The story made him a different character than had he had skipped the pain and showed up at the ending an easier way.

Our sweet neighbor and friend.

So sometimes the things most worth doing can be the most painful, but the most enriching, the most beautiful. Like marriage, kids, gosh-just relationships in general, faith, loving your neighbor – those are all really difficult – but it’s worth getting through the difficult parts because those are the things that make up a life well-lived. And I want to live life really well. I want to love my neighbor well. I want to serve my family with joy. It’s hard, and it hurts, but in the end, I just have to remind myself that it’s worth it. Because I honestly don’t really love this world as it is, but I love it enough to want to change it – and that starts with changing myself.