Originally published Wednesday, 05 February 2014.
The four-letter word that makes some of us roll our eyes and go to the next website (don’t do that) and for others, makes ‘em all giddy inside.
The word that is often over-used, under-appreciated and wrongly defined for a multitude of reasons.
The word used as a noun and a verb…do people love? Or are people love?
The word I think we all are trying to figure out, in different capacities, every single day of our lives.
I write about this word, this topic, this whole subject matter because as I get older, with each year that passes and each situation and person I come across, I learn just a little more about love.
A few things I have learned about love…
In its truest form, it is completely selfless because it doesn’t know how not to be.
Which means because we are naturally selfish people, we mess this up quite often.
It sees people for their potential and believes in who they hope to be, despite who they were or where they’ve been.
We have a tendency to use past mistakes as ammo, both in friendships and relationships, in hopes that it will help us prove a point or win the argument.
Love also sees people exactly where they are now, even in the thick of the valley, and says, “I love you RIGHT there. Right where you are, I love you.”
Because we are frail humans often tempted by fear, walking through the valley with someone is just too much to ask sometimes. While we say we love, our selfishness kicks in and we say, “call me when you’re out of this.”
Love seeks to serve, even in exhaustion.
On a high, serving is easier. But in our exhaustion? Our dreariness? When we are completely worn out, we often lose sight of the other’s needs and focus completely on our own.
Love, when deeply anchored and weathered and strong, is often rooted in twisted limbs of pain and forgiveness.
Because we associate pain with always something “bad”, we deem such times of struggle as a sign to the end, rather than realizing it is a deeper sign of growth if two people push through it.
Love is a safehaven where rest is found and a deep peace exists that can’t be robbed by the weather outside.
Plagued by romance novels and movies, we for some reason, partially desire that mantic, emotional rollercoaster relationship defined by Eminem and Rihanna. We love the way they lie and the drama we deem that we hate.
Love forgives because it must.
Perfect relationships will only exist when we enter into the gates of Heaven, yet so often we think we can find them here. The right person will still do wrong things because they are covered in flesh so we must learn to forgive deeply.
Love cares most about the heart of the other person rather than the reputation or relationship it has with the other person.
We associate love with simply “being together” or besties. How foolish we must be to think that wanting the best for another person will always mean an easy relationship between us and the other person.
Love is transparent and authentic, with no time to avoid or mask, because love is too busy loving to do so.
Why do we think that it would hurt another person less if we covered what was real and displayed what was fake? Part of the organic texture of love is composed of transparency; it seeks to expose because it knows in order to be fully loved, one must be fully known.
Love protects our hearts.
Love refuses jealousy.
Love is constant.
It holds no record of tally marks or debt one owes.
Love purely just loves because the heart is made to do so.
Why do I say all of this?
Because I think we get love wrong so, so, so many times.
I know I do.
But that’s okay, because the roots of pain and forgiveness I often cause are those that deepen and strengthen the very foundation of my tree.
Which as I learn, I can water with reassurance and feed with the constant nutrients of doing my very best to love as I have been loved.
By a Savior who is love Himself.
He is not the replication or personification of Love, as though it is being re-modeled.
We know love to exist because He made us, delighted in us and loved us enough to give us a shot at loving others.
The most painful, rewarding, honest and tragically beautiful adventure you will go on is when you seek to love another person like Jesus has always loved you.
It’s not all rainbows and jelly beans, or diaries and lockets and pinky promises— it’s the real deal.
The promise of forever despite the weather.
You are because He is.
There is a reason why love is the universal language; it transcends all.
Nothing is above it because everything was created by it- love.
Praying we all seek to love others around us with an unwavering love like we have always been given!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” -Ephesians 4:2
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” -1 John 4:18-19