Nearly a decade ago, I went to see Oprah and her “God Squad” live in Toronto (my hometown). One of the speakers was the formidable Bishop T. D. Jakes, whom I adore. He’s a gifted and inspiring speaker, and at this event he said many amazing things — but there was one key moment that brought me to my knees. It was a moment I’ll never forget.
He said something to the effect of this:
We expect to find the love we want in the packages we want it to be in. But instead God sends us the love we need, often in packages we might not expect — and, most importantly, God loves us through the people he sends into our lives.
At the time, I was single, having ended a relationship that I’d deeply wanted to work. When it didn’t work out, I felt so cheated by the Universe. I was desperately seeking to fill the void with new love, but it just wasn’t happening. I felt bad about myself — unworthy of love and sometimes downright unlovable. So when I heard Bishop Jakes’s words, I broke down. The essence of this lesson pushed me to see my situation and myself in a new light.
Firstly, his words forced me to take stock of the fact that I was “checklisting” in my romantic relationships. As so many of us do, I was focused on finding a mate that ticked all of the boxes on my checklist — not realizing that I was limiting myself, and that this checklist was actually quite disconnected from how love could look for me. (And, let’s be honest, my checklist wasn’t working out for me!)
Bishop Jakes’s words also forced me to acknowledge the love already present in my life that I was taking for granted. I may have been struggling in romance, but I was surrounded by amazing, incredible, loyal, loving friends and family who adored me. My friends and family had no obligation to me — they could choose to devote themselves to whomever they wanted — and yet they were choosing to love me.
In acknowledging this, I felt incredibly blessed. But most importantly, I realized that if I was attracting such amazing people into my life, it must be because I was worthy of love after all.
Essentially, Bishop Jakes’s words triggered a powerful reframe of how I saw my life and how I saw love. I was able to shift my focus from seeking love and mourning the love I’d lost to experiencing the love that was already in my life.
I already had the love that I needed, and I rediscovered it in a completely unexpected place.
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